Sheffield United 0-1 Aston Villa: Robert Snodgrass nets stunning late winner
Last Updated: 30/01/18 10:50pm
Robert Snodgrass struck a last-minute winner for Aston Villa as they won 1-0 at promotion rivals Sheffield United to make it five Championship victories in a row.
The hosts dominated in the first half, putting the Villa goal under pressure on several occasions. Jack O'Connell went close to scoring in the sixth minute when his header from a Lee Evans corner crashed against the bar.
United's top scorer Leon Clarke then threatened on a couple of occasions, first heading over and then seeing his deflected effort from the edge of the area saved by Sam Johnstone.
The Villa keeper was also called into action to keep out a George Baldock long-range effort, diving to his right to make the save. Villa's only chance of note during the first 45 minutes came from James Chester, who headed wide from a Snodgrass corner.
United continued to press before the break with Evans having a long-range strike blocked and Johnstone keeping out Baldock's firm shot following a good build-up involving Ryan Leonard and John Fleck. James Wilson also went close with an overhead kick inside the area.
It was Villa who made the more positive start to the second half, attacking with purpose in the opening stages. Alan Hutton fired in a low shot which was comfortably saved by Simon Moore and Jack Grealish curled a 20-yard effort which went just wide of the keeper's left-hand post.
Johnstone came to his side's rescue again when he turned Baldock's well-struck shot over the bar. Evans had a shot blocked before Blades boss Chris Wilder made a double substitution, sending on Clayton Donaldson and John Lundstram in place of Wilson and Leonard.
Evans himself then made way with Ricky Holmes, signed recently from Charlton, coming on to make his debut for the Blades.
Villa manager Steve Bruce also made a couple of changes in the space of six minutes with Conor Hourihane replaced by Josh Onomah and Keinan Davis sent on in place of Scott Hogan, who had scored four goals in his previous three games. Johnstone was tested again, keeping out Fleck's low shot.
Like his opposite number, Bruce used his allotted three substitutions with Albert Adomah replaced by Mile Jedinak late on.
Snodgrass snatched victory for Villa inside the last minute of the game, cutting inside and curling a fine effort beyond Moore in front of the jubilant visiting fans.
Towards the end of four minutes of time added on, O'Connell went close to equalising with a header from a Holmes cross which was tipped over by Johnstone.
Chris Wilder: "They've got quality and it was always going to be decided by a bit of quality. They've got top-end players who perhaps shouldn't be playing in the Championship. We are a decent side but we want to be a decent side and win.
"We're a team that goes for it and I'm not going to change my approach. I wanted to win the game. Their goalkeeper made more saves than ours and kept them in the game. I thought we dominated the first half. We started the second half on the back foot and that gave them a bit more belief."
Villa assistant Colin Calderwood: "It wasn't as we'd have wanted, especially in the first half and when it's not perfect, you've got to get through it. We found ourselves on the back foot but we dug in and got through that period and it was an excellent result. We've dug in and got three points away from home out of nothing spectacular.
"We had to be better with the ball and as the game opened up in the second half, I thought we were slightly better. You've got to get yourself in a position to contend, which we did. Our goalkeeper played really well, made some good saves and with Snods it wasn't a chance - it was the quality that wins the game."