Aston Villa 0-1 Ipswich: Narrow win for Tractor Boys
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/02/17 7:17pm
A fine opportunist goal from on-loan Emyr Huws condemned Aston Villa to their first home defeat of the season as Ipswich posted a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win at Villa Park.
Huws, on loan from Cardiff, notched the game's only goal in the 83rd minute to earn Mick McCarthy's Tractor Boys only their second win of the year.
Villa boss Steve Bruce was left wringing his hands in dismay as he watched his expensively assembled side slide to their fifth defeat in six matches. Bruce fielded four players - Neil Taylor, Scott Hogan, Conor Hourihane and Birkir Bjarnason - for their home debuts, and the new boys were quickly to the fore in a bid to impress.
Hourihane, who was once given a free transfer by Ipswich, demonstrated his shooting ability with a raking drive which forced a smart save from Bartosz Bialkowski, diving low to his right.
Despite the inclusion of so many newcomers, there was a familiar style of play from Villa with strikers Hogan and Kodjia often left isolated.
Play was disjointed in the early stages, which enabled struggling Town to weather the initial storm. But Ipswich had a let-off in the 20th minute. Henri Lansbury rolled a free-kick back into the path of Bjarnason and the Iceland international lashed his shot against the angle of the bar and post.
This effort signalled a more direct approach to the Villa attack, but they still struggled to break through a solid Ipswich rearguard inspired by Luke Chambers.
The persistent Kodjia did manage to get one effort on target but Bialkowski again had little real trouble making a comfortable low save.
Following the goalless first half, the Tractor Boys found another gear going into the second period. They gained in confidence to move forward in numbers as Villa became increasingly frustrated.
Substitute Jordan Spence was particularly unlucky following a corner when he narrowly hooked his shot just wide of the post with Villa's defence at panic stations.
Villa's inability to break through increased the pressure as Ipswich began to sense there could be something in the game for them, and began to take the game to the hosts. Huws twice fired in speculative powerful drives to give a warning of what was to come.
In an attempt to give themselves more attacking options, Villa replaced their full-backs - Alan Hutton and Neil Taylor - and introduced Albert Adomah and Andre Green.
But it was to no avail as Ipswich doggedly survived and went on to snatch a morale-boosting win, carved out by Huws in the 83rd minute.
David McGoldrick made the running as he cut in from the left to slide a low ball into the middle where Huws, who had an excellent second half, rammed home the winning goal.
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce:
"It's tough at the minute. We certainly didn't deserve to lose. We had some really good opportunities and didn't take them. Once again we made one mistake and we were punished.
"The new lads came in and it was probably the wrong time in terms of results but we have got to stay with it. It's tough at the minute and hopefully we have fallen as far as we can because the next few games are going to be important.
"It is time to batten down the hatches and face the flak. But we need to take some of the chances we are creating."
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy:
"It was a great win. I have never doubted the character of the team. We have always been good at disrupting teams and regaining the ball, as we proved against Villa.
"Huws has made a real difference to the team since he joined us from Cardiff. He is one of several players who have been around some time without making an impact.
"He wants to play and he took a cut in wages to play football. That tells you a lot about him as there are not too many players who would do that."