It’s the kind of result to keep in perspective, but also to reflect upon as resembling most of our season as a whole.
Whilst few would deny we’ve struggled this season, we have consistently come un-stuck against teams who have ambitions of promotion.
Indeed, we have failed to beat any side who are either in the automatic promotion or playoff spots. That’s telling.
We can also be left to rue what could have been on the night.
Hourihane failed to bury a glorious chance in the first half.
Lansbury also crashed the bar with an instinctive strike.
The failure to capitalise upon pressure and control within a game, often results in the inevitable occurring.
And so it was that Tommy Smith capitalised upon some very slack defending to fire across Sam Johnstone to score the only goal of the game; ultimately the winner.
Whilst it’s disappointing to lose yet another [away] game, this was inflicted by a side in rich form, on the ascendancy and against a Villa squad with not-insignificant injury problems. The starting XI masked the fact that the bench was padded out with kids.
When the goal went in for the hosts, we had no response. This isn’t a feature consigned to just this game necessarily, but it clearly limited Bruce’s options to either impact the game prior to or after the event. Certainly it can be marked down as an excuse, but its equally a factor.
On the other side of the coin, we did have both the opportunities and the personnel on the pitch to do the job on the night. However, the facts are the facts; we’ve only come from behind once this season [Blackburn]. That’s the next bad habit we need to break.
The test at this stage of the campaign is ultimately how the new group learns from results like this.
We gave Huddersfield a test, put in a shift, but came off second best.
The Bruce regime will no doubt be conscious that the ‘Huddersfields’ of this league will need to be competed with and defeated if we are to realise ambitions for promotion next season.
VILLA FANS REACTION
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Via the official site:
That’s arguably the best we have played away from home, certainly in my time with the club.
We came here and did everything but score a goal.
We showed a great resilience. We worked really, really hard and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.
VILLA KEY STATS
- 9 Shots; 1 on target
- 44% Possession
- MOTM: Jedinak
- Formation 4-1-4-1
- Kodjia passing accuracy 53%
- Baker passing accuracy 38%
- Most clearances – Baker – 8.
- Most interceptions – Amavi – 4.