Report: Albion suffer cruel late blow at Aston Villa

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Albion were denied a deserved point by a goal in the last minute of stoppage time from Aston Villa’s Matt Targett.

By Bruce Talbot • 19 October 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Webster waits for a cross into the box
  • Albion lose out to Aston Villa 2-1 in the Premier League.
  • Adam Webster gave the Seagulls the lead with a header.
  • Jack Grealish equalised before half time and Matt Targett won it in the final seconds for the hosts.
  • Graham Potter's side are next in action to Everton at the Amex next Saturday.

Adam Webster’s superb header midway through the first half – his first goal for the club – had rewarded an excellent opening by the Seagulls but they were reduced to ten men when Aaron Mooy picked up two bookings in the space of five minutes around the half-hour mark.

Jack Grealish equalised in first-half stoppage time but the ten men had repelled Villa with a fair degree of comfort after the break and might have scored again from some dangerous counter-attacks.

But deep into stoppage time Grealish picked out Targett on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box and his powerful finish inside the near post gave Maty Ryan no chance. It was harsh on the Seagulls, who did more than enough to leave Villa Park with some reward.

By Paul Hazlewood
Lewis Dunk in action against Aston Villa

Graham Potter made one change to the side that beat Spurs 3-0 last time out with Davy Propper, who had recovered from a hamstring injury, coming in for Steven Alzate. He dropped to the bench with Shane Duffy and Leandro Trossard also named among the substitutes after recovering from injury. Not surprisingly, Villa were unchanged from the side which beat Norwich 5-1 in their last game.

The confidence Potter’s men had gained from their superb win over Tottenham was evident as they took the game to Villa early on.

They nearly broke the deadlock in the 12th minute when Dan Burn’s ball from the left was only cleared as far as Aaron Connolly by Tyrone Mings, but the Irishman couldn’t get his effort from 12 yards on target.

But it was evidence of Albion’s early superiority and they took a deserved lead in the 21st minute. Conor Hourihane was booked for a foul wide on the right and Pascal Gross’s delivery to the far post found Webster, who guided a free header back across Tom Heaton and inside the far post. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Mooy is shown a red card after picking up two bookings

Ryan made his first save a minute later when he pushed Hourihane’s free kick to safety but Albion continued to dominate and had two more good opportunities. Neal Maupay’s right-footed effort was pushed away by Heaton then the Villa keeper reacted smartly to block Connolly’s shot after Maupay’s pass found him onside.

The game changed when Mooy, booked five minutes earlier for kicking the ball away at a free kick, was shown a second yellow card in the 35th minute for a foul on Grealish.

Villa cranked up the pressure. John McGinn’s goal-bound shot was blocked by team-mate Wesley and Hourihane thought he had scored in the 43rd minute but his goal was disallowed by VAR for a foul on Ryan by Wesley as he claimed a cross.

But two minutes into stoppage time it was 1-1. Frederic Guilbert’s right-wing cross evaded Ryan and two Albion defenders and Grealish slid in to equalise from close range.

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion defenders prepare to face a Jack Grealish free kick

Albion made a change at the break with Connolly replaced by Solly March and the substitute nearly made an immediate impact, fizzing a drive from outside the box which went just wide.

Back came Villa and Ryan showed superb reflexes to block an effort from Hourihane, although the visitors were relieved to see Anwar El Ghazi balloon the follow-up effort over the bar.

With the man advantage, Villa were enjoying plenty of possession but Albion still looked menacing on the break. Twice in the space of seven minutes Maupay had a sight of goal but his first effort, after good work by Martin Montoya, flashed wide before the Frenchman was picked out with a great ball from Lewis Dunk, but this time he fired high into the Holte End.

John McGinn blasted a good opportunity over the top for Villa before Albion went close again in the 66th minute. March, Gross and Maupay were all involved to set up Montoya ten yards out but he shot into the ground and Heaton made a comfortable save.

By Paul Hazlewood
Dale Stephens receiving the ball in midfield

Montoya was replaced by Shane Duffy with 20 minutes to go and Villa appeals for a penalty when McGinn’s shot struck the defender were turned down after a VAR check. With ten minutes remaining Alzate came on for Maupay and by now Villa were playing with three up front. Grealish lifted a free kick from the edge of the box over the target and two minutes from time Douglas Luiz blasted wide from 25 yards.

Albion seemed to have done enough but deep into stoppage time Grealish’s pass picked out Targett and he clipped his shot past Ryan. A cruel blow and certainly not the outcome Albion deserved for a spirited performance.

ALBION: Ryan, Montoya (Duffy 70), Dunk, Webster, Burn, Mooy, Stephens, Gross, Propper, Maupay (Alzate 81), Connolly (March 45).

SUBS NOT USED: Button, Bissouma, Trossard, Murray.