Aston Villa’s never say die attitude under boss Unai Emery earned them a point against Brentford yesterday in the Premier League.
Brentford have been a bit of a bogey side for Villa, especially away from home in recent years and pre-Unai Emery probably would have returned to Birmingham empty-handed.
Instead, in a snatch and grab, they returned home with a point to keep themselves in the hunt for a European spot next season.
The gap also remains at seven points between them and 10th-placed Brentford.
Match Report: Brentford 1-1 Aston Villa
Emery stuck with the same side that beat Newcastle 3-0 last week at Villa Park. In truth, injuries to the squad prevented any changes had the Spaniard hoped to switch things up.
The visitors could have made a dream start when Emi Buendia picked up the ball and rat at the Brentford back line before unleashing an effort with the outside of his foot by David Raya in the Bee’s goal was able to tip it around the post.
Villa wasn’t at the races though and it was but Raya’s goalkeeping rival for the day, Emi Martinez who was going to be the busier of the two in the opening half.
Our World Cup Winner had to save low through Bryan Mbuemo after the forward beat Alex Moreno with ease.
Martinez was soon thanking his full-back though who cleared off the line to deny Mbuemo a tap-in at the far post from a Mathias Jenson cross.
Villa had efforts through Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn but both failed to trouble Raya.
Despite the hosts looking more threatening Villa could have taken the lead just before the break. McGinn found some spaced on the left before curling a left-footed effort just wide of the post with the keeper worried.
Both sides made changes at the break. Robin Olsen replaced an ill Martinez in goal while Frank Onyeka replaced Christian Norgaard who picked up a yellow for a challenge on Douglas Luiz.
The home side should have been in the lead 10 minutes after the restart when Kevin Schade ran onto a long pass from Ethan Pinnock. The forward tried to beat the advancing Olsen with a first-time header but when the Swede failed to hold on, he somehow sliced the ball into the side netting.
The Bees soon found themselves in a deserved lead. Mbuemo was the creator, once against tormenting Moreno before whipping over a cross to the far post where Ivan Toney beat Ashley Young to the ball to score.
Villa found themselves behind for the first time in more than two months but could have drawn level almost straight away when Buendia picked out the run of Ramsey but the youngster could only lift his effort over the bar.
Onyeka then had the chance to seal all three points for Brentford but failed to make a clean connection on Mbuemo’s cross.
The home side were soon licking their wounds when the visitors drew level. Buendia picked out Luiz from six yards out who slotted home to make it 1-1.
Brentford did have the ball in the net again moments later but Yoane Wissa’s goal was ruled out for offside.
Villa wasn’t at their best on the day and was extremely lucky to get away with a point. Emery and the players will know this while Tomas Frank will be wondering how he allowed two points to slip away.
I think most would have taken a point before the game but even more so following the performance.
Up next for Villa is Fulham at home where hopefully they can return to winning ways.