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Report: Blues 0 Aston Villa 1

The 138th meeting between Blues and Aston Villa ended in a narrow win for the visitors.

BCFC

Blues suffered another narrow defeat to their Aston neighbours after losing by a single goal at the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The damage was done by Villa captain Jack Grealish who was given far too much time and space to fire home the winner after 67 minutes.

It was the visitors who generally had the better chances until substitute Craig Gardner had two really good attempts late on.

Garry Monk made four changes to the side that lost at Hull City, with Jota, Jacques Maghoma, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Wes Harding coming in for Connor Mahoney, Kerim Mrabti, Gary Gardner and Maxime Colin.

In front of a packed and noisy St. Andrew’s, Blues made the better start and pinned Villa back in the opening stages.

Less than five minutes in Kieftenbeld was cautioned for a sliding tackle on Grealish, which the Villa man inevitably made the most off.

Blues fashioned their first opening after just seven minutes when Jota laid the ball off to Maghoma on the left, but the winger shot straight at Jed Steer in the Villa goal.

Blues were continuing to press without getting that clear-cut opening, with Villa content to try and hit them on the break.

But it was Villa that came close to taking the lead on 23, when Grealish’s ball found Anwar El Ghazi in space in the middle.

Fortunately the Villa man’s effort was superbly saved by Blues stopper Lee Camp using his feet.

Villa then had another golden opportunity to open their account just after the half-hour mark, but from close range Tammy Abraham scooped the ball over the bar when he really should have scored.

Jutkiewicz then his tried his luck from a yard outside the area when he swivelled and shot, but his attempt lacked any real power and was comfortably collected by Steer

With 43 on the clock, Blues had their best chance of the half when Che Adams collected the ball on the edge of the Villa box before letting fly with a rasping low shot which flew just the wrong side of the post.

Half-time: Blues 0 Aston Villa 0

Both sides were unchanged for the resumption of the game.

With 48 gone, Grealish tried his luck from 20 yards, but he ballooned his shot well over the bar.

With just under an hour played, Swedish international Kerim Mrabti was introduced in place of Jota, who had been largely ineffectual.

Kortney Hause was fortunate to escape with only a caution after he bundled Adams over with the Blues striker poised to run on towards goal.

Villa made a double substitution of their own on 63 and it almost paid immediate dividends as Andre Green would have scored with a header had it not been for Wes Harding clearing the ball from in front of own goal line with Camp stranded.

But Villa did take the lead minutes later through Grealish who was given far too much space on the left of the box as he lashed the ball home into the far corner.

Blues looked to have been denied a clear-cut penalty denied after 71 minutes when Adams was bundled over in the Villa box by Hause, but for reasons best known to himself referee Tim Robinson decided against awarding a spot kick.

Villa were inches away from doubling their advantage when Grealish laid the ball off to Connor Hourihane, but luckily for Blues his powerful strike skimmed Camp’s crossbar.

With the clock rapidly ticking down towards full-time, Blues had a great opportunity to claim a point when the ball dropped to substitute Craig Gardner after a goalmouth scramble.

But under pressure, the former Villa midfielder was unable to keep his attempt down and it flew over the bar.

Then deep into stoppage time Blues won a corner which was curled in by Mahoney.

It was met with powerful header by Gardner, but it was just off target to the relief of the visiting defence.

Blues: Camp, Pedersen, Kieftenbeld, Adams, Jutkiewicz, Dean, Maghoma (Mahoney, 71), Jota (Mrabti, 58), Davis (C Gardner, 79), Morrison, Harding.

Subs (not used): Trueman, Roberts, C Gardner, Vassell, Dacres-Cogley.

Bookings: Kieftenbeld (4), Jutkiewicz (45 +1), Davis (52).

Goals: None.

Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Whelan (McGinn, 63), Grealish (Bjarnason, 84), Hourihane, Abraham, El Ghazi, Elmohamady, Hause, Adomah (Green, 63), Mings.

Subs (not used): Kalinic, Jedinak, Davis, Kodjia.

Bookings: Hause (61), McGinn (90+2).

Goals: Grealish (67).

Referee: Tim Robinson.

Attendance: 26,631 (2,074 Villa fans).

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