Aston Villa 1-0 Swansea: Dean Smith wins first game in charge
A minute's applause was held for former Villa chairman Doug Ellis
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/10/18 9:33pm
Dean Smith's first game as Aston Villa's head coach saw his side pick up three points with a 1-0 home win over Swansea for only their second victory in 11 games.
Making a perfect start to his new job Smith bucked the trend as he became the first of the last seven Villa managers to win his first match in charge. It was also Villa's first win in their last six league games against the Welsh club to inspire hopes of a much-needed revival and climb up the Sky Bet Championship table.
Villa's belated home success was created by an early strike from their on-loan striker Tammy Abraham with a quality eighth-minute finish.
It was, however, a typical Villa performance. Urged on by a near-capacity crowd of 41,336 they dominated the early exchanges only to lose the initiative in the second period when they sadly lacked the killer instinct to finish off the opposition.
Following a minute's applause for the club's former chairman Sir Doug Ellis, Villa typically made all the early running with Swansea pushed back.
The home side made a dream start when Abraham put them ahead after only eight minutes. A high cross into the heart of a packed Swansea defence saw Abraham, who scored five goals for the visitors last season, rise above everyone else to score with a close-range header.
Despite this early goal and their dominance Villa produced very few real goal opportunities. Albert Adomah twice tested Kristoffer Nordfeldt but on each occasion the Swans keeper was alive to the danger.
Swansea, who have not scored a first-half away goal since December 2017, gave little indication of changing this trend as they struggled to produce any serious attacks with the exception of a 44th-minute effort from Connor Roberts which was well saved by Orjan Nyland.
Twice in quick succession Jack Grealish attempted to get on the scoresheet for Villa only to be thwarted on each occasion by the well-positioned Nordfeldt.
The Swans keeper was again in the right spot at the right time to save a shot on the turn from Abraham in the 62nd minute. Villa's defence then held firm as Bersant Celina went close to grabbing an equaliser.
Dean Smith:"Tammy is a handful and he knows better than me that he should have been walking away with the match ball. Tammy put in a hell of shift up front on his own and proved that he is a fine player. In the second half I thought our energy levels dropped and allowed Swansea to get onto the ball in little pockets.
"It's a tough league but a tight league. The win gives us an opportunity to move forward. We now have two away games but the players know what I expect. It is always a good start when you get three points. I thought we were very good in the first half, certainly the first 30 minutes we stuck to the game plan.
Graham Potter: "We are disappointed with the result but it was a challenging atmosphere. We had a lot to deal with in the first half. The players responded well and created several good opportunities but Villa had chances to put the game to bed.
"It wasn't until the second half that we attempted to get back into the game. It was a good experience for my young side. Based on our overall performance I feel we can do better. But it is a case of work in progress."