Whether it was Robert Snodgrass’ half-volley crashing off the crossbar, Scott Hogan desperately trying to avoid Conor Hourihane’s goal-bound shot or Henri Lansbury’s unjust sending off – it’s fair to say lady luck didn’t exactly favour Villa against Middlesbrough last Tuesday night.
Add to that the frustrations from the goalless draw with Brentford three days earlier and it was easy to see why there was a lot riding on Saturday’s trip to Barnsley.
But when James Chester’s long ball up field eventually slipped through the feet of Tykes’ stopper Adam Davies for Albert Adomah to tap home the opener, the tide finally began turning for Villa.
A penalty on the stroke of half-time – the first of the season – also fell the way of the claret and blues, as Adomah doubled his tally for the evening.
The day of breakthroughs was completed when Keinan Davis, so impressive in the Villans’ previous Championship fixtures this term, netted his first senior goal for the club with a well-taken header to seal three points.
If a complete performance in front of more than 3,000 travelling supporters – a weekend high in the division – wasn’t enough, Jonathan Kodjia’s hour-long starting return certainly made for a near-perfect journey to Oakwell.
Steve Bruce was equally buoyant post-match, stating: “I am delighted with the win because we’ve been threatening it.
“We’ve threatened to do that to a few teams.
“We had a little bit of luck when we needed it – Albert Adomah’s first goal in particular.
“But we stuck at it and we’ve got a very, very good result from the forward players. Young Keinan Davis, I thought, was terrific again.”
Ideal, then, that back-to-back home fixtures at Villa Park should now follow.
Middlesbrough come to B6 for the second time in a week as Villa look to progress to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, while Nottingham Forest are Saturday’s visitors in the Sky Bet Championship.
The occasional bit of luck is required in any successful campaign. Villa’s first major slice came at Barnsley – a game that, come May, could be considered the one that got the season truly going.