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Blogservations: Stepping up to the plate

Match report: Aston Villa U23s 0-3 Blackburn Rovers U23s Villa v Sunderland: Five reasons to be here for Black Cats' visit
Blogservations: Stepping up to the plate

When Steve Bruce delivered the post-international injury verdict at his pre-QPR press conference last Friday, we could all have been forgiven for momentarily fearing the worst.

With John Terry already out through a broken metatarsal, the news of Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan's predicted lengthy absence was far from ideal.

Saturday's test immediately grew in stature. A trip to a venue with a tight pitch, a raucous atmosphere and to play a side who'd beaten Wolves and Sheffield United at home this term meant we were somewhat up against it.

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And when the heavens opened and the torrential rain poured over the capital earlier in the afternoon, you wondered if luck was going to evade us on this occasion.

Those sentiments grew stronger after 20 minutes, with Villa having squandered a couple of good chances and gone behind to Jamie Mackie's goal after a scramble in the box.

But it's in these moments that the character of a side is truly tested, and come 5pm, Villa had passed with flying colours.

In truth, we were never really second best in the match, despite the hosts' opener. 

Keinan Davis held the ball up and brought others into play excellently, Josh Onomah and Conor Hourihane's energy made life difficult for Rangers and Albert Adomah and Robert Snodgrass caused no end of problems from out wide. 

It was only a matter of time before we inflicted the damage.

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And from the moment Adomah cooly slotted the equaliser home, there was only going to be one winner. The winger's second just before the hour mark sealed the result, and it could easily have been more.

Overcoming the conditions, injuries and unwanted stat that we'd not come from behind to win on the road for more than four years put into perspective the quality of Saturday's win.

This team is going places. It has the fight keep responding after set-backs, with characters who step up to the plate when key men are out and backs are against the wall.

Two crucial home games against Sunderland and Ipswich now follow this week – two great chances to build on our momentum.

Dan Connor
By @danconnor 20th November 2017