Jonathan Kodjia rescued a point for Aston Villa as Dean Smith’s Brentford left Villa Park disappointed as they couldn’t hold onto their one-goal lead. Netting three goals in his last two appearances, Villa’s in-form frontman struck either side of half-time to cancel out Neil Maupay’s equally impressive double.
However, Brentford’s striker was lucky to stay on the pitch after stamping on Villa’s John McGinn on the cusp of half-time, even if the aforementioned Kodjia could have also received his marching orders for a poor challenge on Ezrin Konsa. It is a good job there were good odds on a score draw when you used the Bedsid promo code.
Good start from the hosts
The hosts started the better of the two sides and carved out an early goalscoring opportunity with new recruit John McGinn firing over Daniel Bentley’s goal. After combining with Albert Adomah on the left side, Chris Mepham covered the Scots run as he entered the box. Whilst we retained most of the ball, on an expansive Villa Park, Brentford could play their best football.
Highly rated youngster Ollie Watkins won his first duel with Axel Tuanzebe on the left flank as he used his pace to beat the United loanee before Mile Jedinak blocked the cross at Villa’s near post.
Maupay strikes first
Since threatening the Villa goal with their youthful exuberance, Dean Smith’s Brentford side continued to play their way through the lines, as the ball made it’s way to Maupay who used his trickery to weave beyond James Chester. With the Frenchman bearing down on goal, Tuanzebe recovered well to prevent the first goal of the evening.
However, Tuanzebe couldn’t intervene with Maupay’s opening goal as he was attracted to Watkins at the back-post who nodded down from Sergi Canos’ delivery. The forward stood still to create space before firing beyond Orjan Nyland in the Villa sticks.
A swift reply
A swift reply followed the Brentford goal as Adomah again got the better of Brentford right-back Henrik Dalsgaard. Ahmed Elmohammady found himself free at the back post, Albert stood up a quality cross to the Egyptian but his header lacked conviction, unlike Kodjia’s first effort on goal.
As McGinn fed the ball to the Ivorian’s feet, he spun Brentford’s Mepham and struck fiercely at Daniel Bentley who palmed over his crossbar to preserve a slender advantage.
Only minutes later, however, Kodjia would get the better of Bentley as he showed glimpses of the striker we loved. Using his body well, he superbly wriggled away from Konsa before lashing into the Brentford net – levelling the scores before half-time.
Second half changes
The only alteration at the break came from the away side, as Kamohelo Mokotjo replaced Lewis Macleod in the middle of the park.
You couldn’t help but wonder, as every minute passed by, what Steve Bruce didn’t make changes and stuck with Mile Jedinak at the back. The Socceroos captain again looked out of place. On the fiftieth minute, he misjudged the flight of a goal kick to head over James Chester, allowing Maupay to run clear on goal. Mile’s partner recovered as well as he’s ever done to give enough time for Nyland to foil the Frenchman’s effort at his feet.
Home side in control
With limited attacking threat coming from the away side, Villa continued to control proceedings as Tuanzebe and star man Jack Grealish linked up on the right wing. With the ball, Jack raced into the Brentford box before firing across goal, all before Bentley denied his attempt at picking out Kodjia at the back post.
With constant pressure pilling on the Brentford goal, Kodjia could have grabbed a second as Adomah found him twelve yards out from gaol. He improvised and struck with his weaker left side but only down the barrel of the Brentford stopper – either side of him and Villa would be ahead.
As the hour mark passed, Villa fatigued allowing a youthful Brentford side to capitalise.
Brentford regain the lead
Threatening on the wings, Watkins played the ball back for Nico Yennaris who drove powerfully towards Nylands’ right-hand post, where the Norwegian keeper got down impressively to beat away from goal.
The visitors would profit for the extended period of pressure on Villa’s goal as Maupay struck once more. Left-back Barbet combined with Watkins who drove inside Tuanzebe to fire at Nyland who did well to beat the powerful strike away, but Hutton lost a key 50/50 duel, allowing Brentford to lead with ten minutes left.
From here, Villa looked more likely to concede another rather than hitting back again.
Watkins again tearing it up on the left flank easily beat Andre Green before crossing to Said Benrahama who was denied by Nyland with an outstretched hand on the goal line. A similar move was replicated moments later as Watkins had the chance to seal the points when he rolled to Maupay who looked certain to claim the match ball but was again denied by another top save from Nyland.
On the balance of play, Villa deserved a point, and that’s what they got. McGinn took a quick free-kick which led to Elmohamady swinging in a delivery from the right flank. With a deflection of the top of a Brentford defender, Kodjia reacted quickly to divert the ball beyond Bentley to rescue a point for the hosts.