Match: Aston Villa v Brentford
Date: Wednesday 22nd August 2018
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Venue: Villa Park
Kodjia 39, 90
Maupay 23, 82
Nyland; Tuanzebe (Hourihane 82), Chester, Jedinak, Hutton; Elmohamady, McGinn, Whelan (Hepburn-Murphy 85), Adomah (Green 69); Grealish; Kodjia. UNUSED SUBS: Moreira, Taylor, Bjarnason, Elphick.
Story in brief
Jonathan Kodjia’s last-gasp goal – his third in two games – earned us a point in another dramatic Villa Park finale.
The striker’s angled header from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross in the fifth minute of stoppage time was a deserved reward for Steve Bruce’s men, who had twice trailed to Neal Maupay goals.
Despite dominating the opening 20 minutes and creating a succession of chances, Villa fell behind when Maupay drilled home an unstoppable shot.
They were deservedly level when Kodjia turned between two defenders to fire powerfully past keeper Daniel Bentley, only for Maupay to restore the Bees’ advantage.
It might have been a really tough end but for some excellent saves from Ørjan Nyland, but Villa kept plugging away and were well worth the draw.
It’s still early in the season, but Kodjia has the look of a man determined to repeat his prolific goalscoring exploits of two seasons ago.
Having opened his 2018/19 account at Ipswich, he followed up with a real blockbuster for Villa’s equaliser.
But it wasn’t just Kodjia’s goal which made him the stand-out performer on a night when there were a few contenders.
He also created space for his team-mates by holding the ball up well and laying it off intelligently – not to mention the occasional deft touch.
Villa were twice the victims of rough justice against Brentford.
They deserved to be ahead, rather than level, after a first half in which some of their flowing football was a sheer delight to watch.
And how ironic that Neal Maupay should escape a red card for his stamp on John McGinn and then restore the visitors’ lead with his second goal.
Stay to the (not so) bitter end!
The lesson from the first two home games is simple – don’t leave Villa Park early.
For the second consecutive game, those supporters who slipped away to beat the traffic missed a dramatic finish at the Holte End.
Birkir Bjarnason scored the winner against Wigan in the third minute of stoppage time, and Kodjia’s equaliser against Brentford was even later.
There’s more home action in store this weekend, with Reading visiting Villa Park on Saturday for another Sky Bet Championship fixture.
The Royals haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the 2018/19 campaign, so Bruce’s men will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s corresponding game, which Villa won 3-0.
"Anything less would have been unjust – the first half was as good as we've played in my time here.
"The way we set out our stall, chased the ball, moved the ball – I was delighted with us.
"We had a great energy about us and Brentford were close to being blown away.
"It wasn't to be, and in the end we could have got punished, but I'm delighted with the effort from the team to get us back into it.
"All credit to them."