Match: Villa v Middlesbrough
Date: December 30, 2017
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Venue: Riverside Stadium
Attendance: 29,422 (2,648 Villa supporters)
Weather: 5c, dry and partly cloudy
Robert Snodgrass scored the only goal of the game as Villa earned a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.
It was Snodgrass who had the game’s first real chance after a period of sparring but his free-kick was well pouched by Darren Randolph in the Boro goal.
Later in the half, Albert Adomah fired at the stopper after snaffling up a loose pass 25 yards out.
Britt Assombalonga headed wide for the hosts while former Villan, Rudy Gestede teed up Jonny Howson to force a routine save from Sam Johnstone before lashing off target himself as the half ended goalless.
After the break, the visitors started the brighter.
After James Chester had headed over, Jack Grealish forced a smart stop from Randolph with a dipping half-volley then Robert Snodgrass did likewise moments later from a cleverly-worked short corner.
It was then the home side’s turn to put the pressure on: Britt Assombalonga drilled wide and Howson volleyed over from the edge of the box.
Substitute Patrick Bamford also saw his drive blocked by the Villa defence.
Then, with 15 minutes to go, Villa made the crucial breakthrough.
Boro old boy Albert Adomah collected a ball on the left and floated a delicious cross to the far post where Robert Snodrass was perfectly poised to head in and clinch the points.
Friend 67, Downing 90
Hourihane 24, Onomah 30, Elphick 45, Chester 62
ASTON VILLA: Johnstone; Elmohamady, Elphick, Chester, Hutton; Snodgrass, Jedinak, Hourihane, Adomah (Bjarnason 90); Onomah (Grealish 37); Hogan (Hepburn-Murphy 75). Unused subs: Steer, Bree, Doyle-Hayes, O’Hare.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Randolph; Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Downing, Howson, Leadbitter, Braithwaite (Traore 57); Gestede (Bamford 68), Assombalonga (Fletcher 79). Unused subs: Konstantopoulos, Guedioura, Christie, Baker.
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referee 1: James Wilson
Assistant referee 2: Jonathan Hunt
Fourth Official: Anthony Backhouse