Aston Villa was made to pay for another poor performance at the hands of Ipswich Town. An Orjan Nyland mistake cancelled out Jonathan Kodjia’s first competitive goal since last September. Shortly after Chelsea loanee, Trevoh Chalobah capitalised on the goalkeeper’s mishap, the hosts played almost an hour with ten men as Tayo Edun was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
After a less than conniving opening ten or so minutes, we were lucky to not be punished for a lack of fluid, progressive football. Welsh winger Gwion Edwards cleverly escaped from both Alan Hutton and Birkir Bjarnason on the right flank to produce a dangerous counter-attack, where Ipswich where denied by only the woodwork. After Edwards switched the ball towards the opposite wing, Tayo Edun returned the favour, but Edwards couldn’t react quick enough at the back post. An early let-off for the visitors who struggled to create anything near what Ipswich managed, even if we held all the ball in the opening stages.
However, on the twentieth minute, Villa took the lead with their talented front combining on the right flank. Making his second appearance, John McGinn wriggled out of a challenge with Edun before moving the ball back onto his favoured left side and delivering a superb cross, met with a glancing header by Kodjia.
The Ivorian could have doubled his tally moments later as he rose highest once more at the near post, only to be denied by the crossbar. Unlucky at the one end, it was our own undoing at the other that allowed Ipswich to get back on level terms.
A classic Championship long throw-in caused unnecessary problems for Villa when Nyland tried to relieve the pressure off Villa’s lead, but the Norwegian dropped the ball at Chalobah’s feet. With work to do, the impressive young midfielder struck with his back to goal, fining the bottom corner in the process.
A shock to the system for a Villa side who seemed to have turned up, expecting to turn over an out of form Ipswich side. Although their job was seemingly made easier when Edun showed his inexperience when he collected a second yellow card in the space of ten minutes for a rash challenge on Axel Tuanzebe.
With Ipswich losing their cool on half-time, their frustration was taken out on Jack Grealish, and with little protection for Villa’s star man, it was again a weekly reminder of the shocking officiating at this level.
Bruce chose not to make any changes at half-time before Villa had forty-five minutes to make the numerical advantage count. Yet it was the hosts who came closest in the early exchanges. A deep corner by new Ipswich recruit Jon Nolan met Ellis Harrison at the back post, but the former Bristol Rovers hitman could only find the wrong side of the net.
LACK OF CREATIVITY
Struggling to fashion any openings in the second period, Bruce turned to Russian Hepburn-Murphy who made his first start at Huish Park on Tuesday night. After an elusive first half, Albert Adomah looked more lively in stages especially as he breezed past former Villa youngster Janoi Donacien before swinging in a dangerous cross towards Rushian, but Arisote Nsiala foiled the move – almost turning the ball into his own net.
Incredibly, the only other sighter Villa managed in the second half was on the third minute of added time. Conor Hourihane, scoring late to send Villa into the third round of the Carabao Cup earlier in the week could have become the hero once more. His curling effort lacked any conviction to trouble Polish goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.
Steve Bruce’s men are back in action on Wednesday night as they entertain an in-form Brentford side at Villa Park.