Aston Villa 3-3 Preston: Glenn Whelan misses last-gasp penalty in Villa Park epic
Glenn Whelan sees last-ditch penalty saved as 10-man Aston Villa draw with Preston.
Last Updated: 03/10/18 9:50am
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce's future remained in doubt after Glenn Whelan missed an injury-time penalty in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Preston.
The manager endured chants of "We want Brucie out" from supporters in the Holte End after the visitors roared back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2. A cabbage was also thrown at Bruce from the stands.
Daniel Johnson's penalty - after James Chester was sent off - plus Paul Gallagher's free-kick and Louis Moult's header put Preston ahead.
Yannick Bolasie bundled in a 90th-minute leveller before Chris Maxwell saved Whelan's spot-kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Jonathan Kodjia and birthday boy Tammy Abraham, who turned 21 on Tuesday, had fired Villa into a 2-0 first-half lead.
Bruce has won just one of the last 10 matches and had reportedly just two games to save his job. Preston, meanwhile, missed out on their first win at Villa Park in 50 years and remain bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.
There was little hint of the danger to come for Villa during a comfortable first half, and Jack Grealish curled over after 15 minutes before the visitors escaped a major scare.
Maxwell's blushes were spared when Abraham burst into the box and his shot slipped through the goalkeeper's fingers to roll wide.
But a flat Villa Park was finally roused after 26 minutes when Kodjia nodded the hosts ahead. Ahmed Elmohamady was given too much time and his deep cross found Kodjia to head in across Maxwell from eight yards.
It eased the hosts' tensions and 11 minutes later Abraham doubled their lead when he ran from the touchline to slide past Maxwell.
Villa went into the break 2-0 up having broken little sweat but they were put under pressure when Johnson scored from the spot after Chester was dismissed in the 54th minute.
Wales defender Chester was sent off after he clumsily hauled down Lukas Nmecha in the box and Johnson sent Mark Bunn the wrong way.
Home nerves were growing and Paul Huntington twice headed over with the hosts pinned back. Alan Browne drilled wide with 17 minutes left and Nmecha struck the post two minutes later.
Bunn saved from Johnson but he was caught out 11 minutes from time when Gallagher - who had just come on - bent in a low free-kick.
Worse was to come when Moult headed in a corner with four minutes left, but Bolasie levelled from close range in injury-time.
And the late drama continued when Johnson fouled Birkir Bjarnason in the box but Maxwell saved Whelan's penalty.
Steve Bruce: "To say it's disappointing is an understatement for a club like this, (the cabbage was thrown) before we had even started. The guy who is being questioned…unfortunately, it sums up the society we are in at the moment. There's no respect for anyone. Certainly for someone like him, I'm surprised he knew what a cabbage was. I find the whole thing hugely disrespectful."
"You need results. The one thing I've always had is the determination to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I'll always have a go. If I think it affects the team and the morale of the team, then of course…That's what I'm up against at the moment. I will battle on. That's always been my philosophy until told otherwise."
Alex Neil: "I've been involved in football all my life but I've never been involved in a game like that. For spectators it must be great, but as a manager it's going to put me in an early grave.
"Fans have got really short memories. Before Steve took over I came here with Norwich and it was poisonous. He took all that poison and changed it and got them to the play-offs."