Match: Villa v Middlesbrough
Date: 12th May 2018
Competition: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off semi-final first leg
Venue: Riverside Stadium
Attendance: 29,233 (1,998 Villa supporters)
Weather: 13c, cloudy
Mile Jedinak’s first-half header means that Villa will take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough on Tuesday at Villa Park.
An open and entertaining first half was punctuated by Jedinak’s header with fifteen minutes on the clock.
Jack Grealish swirled a ball in towards the near post where the Australian had drifted away from his marker before glancing the cross across goal and into the back of the net via the foot of the upright.
This came after the hosts had begun brightly but it was Villa who carried on their charge. Grealish, Adomah and Jedinak again all saw half-chances come and go.
At the other end, Boro began to grow into the game with Britt Assombalonga twice going close before seeing a header gathered by Sam Johnstone at the second attempt.
Adam Clayton and Adama Traore both skewed off target while Robert Snodgrass, having earlier headed over the bar, was denied a certain second by the fingertips of a flying Darren Randolph.
Encouraged to come out and find an equaliser by an expectant home crowd, Boro were on the front foot from the off at the start of the second forty-five.
Assombalonga dragged an effort wide while substitute, Fabio scampered in behind the Villa defence but his cut-back missed everyone inside the box.
Ben Gibson also directed a free-kick goal-wards but forced a routine save from Sam Johnstone.
Ready to strike on the counter-attack, the visitors carved out an opportunity for Lewis Grabban but he could only pick out the gloves of Randolph rather than the back of the net.
Sam Johnstone twice produced smart saves to keep out Boro while Muhamed Besic, George Friend and Fabio all failed to hit the target late on.
Friend 45, Gibson 49
Hourihane 13, Snodgrass 75
MIDDLESBROUGH: Randolph; Shotton, Ayala (Fabio 64), Gibson, Friend; Howson, Clayton, Besic; Traore, Assombalonga (Bamford 76), Downing. Unused subs: Konstantinopoulos, Leadbitter, Cranie, Fry, Harrison.
ASTON VILLA: Johnstone; Elmohamady (Whelan 88), Terry, Chester, Hutton; Snodgrass, Jedinak, Hourihane, Adomah (Kodjia 70); Grealish, Grabban (Bjarnason 80). Unused subs: Bunn, Samba, Onomah, Hogan.
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Kirkup
Assistant Referee 2: Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson