Aston Villa finally picked up their first league victory of the 2017-18 Championship season in a six-goal thriller at Villa Park against Norwich.
Due to poor form and injury issues, manager Steve Bruce promised that changes would be made with some youngsters potentially getting a look in and he didn’t go back on his word.
Alan Hutton, Ahmed Elmohamady and 19-year-old Keinan Davis all come into the starting line up following the mid-week defeat to Reading.
It didn’t take long for Davis to impress a poor crowd of just 29,157 inside Villa Park. The striker broke free for a one on one inside 2 minutes but was denied by Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn.
That didn’t unsettle the young striker who was making his first start for the first team as he played Conor Hourihane down the left on 20 minutes. The Irish midfield played a low cross across the Norwich goal but it just evaded Elmohamady at the far post.
One thing that has bothered both Bruce and the supporters are how Villa have failed to take advantage when they were on top in games but this game was different.
On 22 minutes, on-loan Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah played Davis clear down the right and his low cross found the unmarked Hourihane who slotted home to give the home side the lead.
Norwich didn’t really create too much in the first half although former Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome raced clear, he was denied by Sam Johnstone racing outside his area to tackle the striker.
A few minutes before halftime Villa doubled their lead, this time through another 19 years old, Andre Green. Davis played the ball to Henri Lansbury who fed the ball to Green who then turned inside onto his right and his spectacular long-range shot slotted into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Norwich kept Aston Villa waiting at least five minutes before emerging for the second half and the away side come out fighting.
Norwich pulled a goal back on the hour mark through the pacy, tricky Jacob Murphy who broke free from Alan Hutton to make it 2-1.
Great to get our first win today. Special feeling to get my first hat-trick, extra special that it was at Villa Park!! ⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/7bQ1zsaczk
— Conor Hourihane (@ConorHourihane) August 19, 2017
There were a few nervous minutes for the natives but Aston Villa restored their two goal lead just eight minutes later. Hourihane hit the ball from 25-yards out and the shot took a deflection before nestling in the net.
Unlike the first half, Norwich wasn’t going to go away and pulled another one back a few minutes later through Nelson Oliveira just five minutes after coming off the bench.
It was former Barnsley midfielder, Hourihane who was going to have the final word though. He completed his hat-trick with another long strike, this time from 20 yards out to give Aston Villa their first three points of the season.
Villa came close to making it 5 but Green somehow missed a header from a few years out
Defensively Villa still has a few issues but going forward we were much more impressive in particular Davis.
3 points, exciting football played, 4 great goals & a superb performance from young Keinan on full debut. More still to come too 👏 #happy
— Stephen Clemence (@SteClem25) August 19, 2017
Steve Bruce: “My hand was forced because Scott Hogan was not 100 per cent fit so I decided to play the two young boys, Keinan Davis and Andre Green. There were certainly glimpses against Norwich which shows they are good enough to play in the first team. Davis was playing against two big Germans and it was a fantastic debut from a young player who was playing non-league football a year ago.”
Daniel Farke: “It was a disappointing result. We knew it would be a hard match as Villa would be motivated as it would be a do-or-die game for them. It was our third game in six days and it was a hard struggle. We had a bad first half and Villa deserved to lead 2-0 at the interval. There were a couple of unlucky situations including a doubtful free-kick which resulted in them scoring with a deflection.”