Managerless Aston Villa were beaten 2-1 by Millwall at The Den. Extending a winless streak to ten games before the International break. Tammy Abraham broke the deadlock on the seventh minute before Millwall struck back either side of half-time. The goals come from Shane Furguson and Tom Elliott.
Kevin MacDonald was back on caretaker duty and chose to make three changes from the side Steve Bruce picked on Tuesday night. Orjan Nyland replaced Mark Bunn in the sticks. James Bree replaced the suspended James Chester and Neil Taylor providing more balance in the back four. Jonathan Kodjia was dropped to the bench. Alan Hutton wore the captains armband with Axel Tuanzebe completing a weak defence. With that in mind, Birkir Bjarnason and John McGinn started in midfield, with Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish and Ahmed Elmohamady all supporting Abraham at the top of the pitch.
Villa start well
The visitors could not have started better in the capital as Conor Hourihane stood over a free kick from the right flank. The Irishman whipped a delivery onto the penalty spot where was Tammy Abraham was waiting to acrobatically convert beyond Ben Amos. On loan from Chelsea, Abraham netted his third in six appearances for Villa. It was his first on the road for the 21-year-old.
MacDonald was forced to play an unfamiliar backline as Chester was dubiously sent off in a draw to Preston. But none the less individual errors looked likely to cost Villa early on.
The hard-working Lee Gregory hunted the ball form Axel Tuanzebe on the 20th minute, as the Manchester United loanee was under pressure on the flank. The Millwall forward capitalised on his loose touch, as he picked out Shane Ferguson on the opposite wing. Taylor quickly engaged with the Northern Irishman, blocking his strike at goal, in turn making it harder for Nyland to turn around his goal.
Millwall back in the game
To Villa’s disappointment, they let the hosts back in the contest through a set piece in a similar position to where they opened the scoring. Shaun Williams floated a ball to the back post where Abraham was easily beaten by Millwall centre-half Jake Cooper. He nodded towards the Villa goal before Ferguson lashed beyond Nyland in a poor goal for the visitors to concede.
After the interval, both sides looked equally dangerous in attack but fragile at the back. The hosts profited from it without reply from Villa. Once more, the travellers were bullied in the air from another wide delivery. It was Ferguson who swung in from the right flank under little pressure, but as Villa dealt with the cross initially. Grealish was overpowered on the edge of the box by Gregory whose header was eventually converted by Tom Elliott in a similar fashion to the hosts first.
With the abundance of quality Villa hold in their attacking ranks, it was no surprise that they had a golden chance to equalise moments after falling behind. With Grealish trying to put his stamp on proceedings, he chose to use the run of Elmohammady on the right side. The Egyptian crossed with quality to pick out Bree inside the box. But the former Barnsley man couldn’t score his first for the club, heading wide of the mark.
The home side looked to end the contest before the 70th minute as set plays again troubled Villa. Murray Wallace’s effort crashed off the underside of the bar.
Villa momentarily sit within three points of the top six before entertaining Swansea on the 20th October. A new man at the helm will be appointed before the end of the international break to hopefully kick-start our season.