Match: Huddersfield Town v Aston Villa
Date: March 7, 2017
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Attendance: 20, 584
Weather: 8C, cloudy
Tommy Smith (69 mins)
Villa fell to a narrow defeat against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Tommy Smith’s effort from distance proved to be the decider in a typical Championship tussle in which the visitors impressed throughout.
Steve Bruce named youngsters Callum O’Hare and Corey Blackett-Taylor in the senior squad for the first time this season – they accompanied fellow U23 man Keinan Davis on the bench.
In an open first 10 minutes, Elias Kachunga was denied by a fine point-blank save from Sam Johnstone, only to be adjudged as offside.
For Villa, James Bree, back in the starting XI in place of the injured Alan Hutton, saw his first-time effort well palmed away.
The claret and blues settled quickly and, in truth, carved the much better openings.
A clever free-kick routine saw Jordan Amavi picked out and feed Nathan Baker, his strike well over the target.
Villa pressed - Jonathan Kodjia then played a delightful reverse ball to Conor Hourihane – he could not keep his shot down.
Fellow midfielder Henri Lansbury then came agonisingly close to opening his Villa account – his rasping drive crashing off the post.
Attacking towards the end where their 2,000-strong following were housed, the visitors were strong out of the traps, clearly sensing an opportunity to further unsettle David Wagner’s Town in the second 45 minutes.
Forward Kodjia showed great skill to cut inside on the left flank – his strike edging narrowly wide of the intended target.
Much like in Saturday’s win at Rotherham, Villa’s battling qualities came to the fore, their work without the ball just as important as when in possession.
They were undone with just over 20 minutes of the regulation 90 remaining – Smith drilling home from just inside the penalty area following a short corner move.
The response was positive.
Lansbury’s inswinging free-kick was headed over the crossbar by James Chester while the B6 men won a host of set pieces.
Young Lions Davis and Blackett-Taylor were introduced late on as Villa pushed forward but Town were able to see the game out.
HUDDERSFIELD: Coleman, Smith, Hogg (C), Kachunga, Mooy, Löwe, Van La Parra (Cranie 84), Quaner (Billing 88), Schindler, Brown (Wells 68), Hefele. Unused subs: Collington, Payne, Lolley, Stankovic.
VILLA: Johnstone, Bree, Chester (C), Baker, Taylor (Blackett-Taylor 87), Jedinak, Lansbury, Hourihane, Adomah, Amavi (Davis 81), Kodjia. Unused subs: Bunn, Richards, Elphick, Gardner, O’Hare.
Referee: Mr D. Bond
Assistant Referee 1: Mr M. McGrath
Assistant referee 2: Mr B. Smallwood
Fourth Official: Mr J. Simpson