Match: Aston Villa v Preston North End
Date: Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Venue: Villa Park
Kodjia (25), Abraham (37), Bolasie (90)
Johnson (pen, 55), Gallagher (79), Moult (86)
Bunn; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Chester, Hutton; Hourihane (Whelan 83), Bjarnason McGinn, Grealish; Kodjia (Bree 56), Abraham (Bolasie 74). UNUSED SUBS: Nyland, Hogan, El Ghazi, Adomah.
Story in brief
Aston Villa had to settle for a point in one of the most incredible matches seen at Villa Park for many a year.
The home side looked home and dry when Jonathan Kodjia and Tammy Abraham established a two-goal interval advantage, only for Preston to storm into the lead after home skipper James Chester was sent off.
And in a dramatic five minutes of stoppage time, Yannick Bolasie salvaged an unlikely point before Glenn Whelan squandered the chance to make it three when his penalty was saved by Chris Maxwell.
Kodjia opened the scoring when he guided a perfectly-angled header after a fine build-up had culminated with Ahmed Elmohamady’s well-measured cross from the right.
Abraham doubled the lead, darting into the penalty area and squeezing home a low shot after John McGinn had won possession with a strong challenge on Preston skipper Paul Huntington.
But the visitors forced their way back into contention after the break, Mark Bunn saving well from Callum Robinson before he was beaten by Daniel Johnson’s penalty.
With Villa down to 10 men, the visitors drew level through Paul Gallagher’s free-kick and went ahead with a Louis Moult header before sub Bolasie drove home from close range as the game went into added time.
Holte Enders were set to celebrate a sensational victory when Birkir Bjarnason was brought down in the goalmouth, but Whelan’s spot kick was comfortably saved by Maxwell.
For the second time this season, James Chester was unfortunate to concede a penalty.
It happened against Reading in August, and while that decision was debatable, the skipper can consider himself extremely hard done by after his challenge on Lukas Nmecha was adjudged to be a foul.
To make matters worse, Chester was shown a red card which will mean a three-match ban unless the club decide to appeal the decision.
Down, but never out
For the sixth time in a league game this season, Villa came from a losing position to take something from the match.
That follows results against Hull City, Wigan Athletic, Brentford, Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City – all of which were achieved from behind.
And the claret and blues' latest heroics were arguably the most hard-fought. With 10 men and every facet of the game seemingly working against them, they dug deep to take something from the game.
Our stop-start season so far would look far worse were it not for the resilience of this current crop.
After missing out on the play-offs last season, Millwall haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the new Championship campaign.
But a trip to London’s dockland is one no team relish, and Villa know they will face a testing afternoon at The Den on Saturday.