Aston Villa 2-2 Preston North End: Match Report

21 January 2017 08:34

Jordan Hugill at the double to earn Preston a point at Villa

Aston Villa had mixed fortunes maintaining their unbeaten at home record with a frustrating 2-2 Championship home draw with Preston North End.

Two first-half goals, including a penalty, from Albert Adomah seemingly put Villa on the winning track but they went off the boil in the second half.

The in-form Preston struggled to get into their stride in the first half but two goals from Jordan Hugill changed the whole complexion of the match as Villa lost their earlier rhythm.

As a result Preston were able to maintain their impressive away record of only one defeat in their last nine matches on the road.

Before the game there was a moving tribute in memory of Graham Taylor who was twice manager of Aston Villa between 1987 and 1900 and 2002 and 2003. Watched by Taylor's wife, Rita, and family, Steve Staunton, the former Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland manager, laid a floral wreath on the centre spot.

With Villa manager, Steve Bruce, demanding a major improvement on recent performances Andre Green should have made a dream start.

Applying a lot of early pressure Villa were the more dominant side and in the 12th minute Gabby Agbonlahor managed to lob a high ball across the face of the Preston goal only for Green to painstakingly head wide.

Agbonlahor was equally guilty by his failure to even getting close to making contact to a low cross from Jack Grealish.

With only one defeat in their previous eight away games and with an impressive 2-0 home win over promotion pace-setters Brighton last week, the Preston side were not overwhelmed by Villa's pressure and their second-half comeback had to be applauded.

The speed of former Villa striker, Callum Robinson, was a potential threat as he demonstrated with one searching run which had the home side on the back foot.

But in the 22nd minute Villa steamed ahead. Following a throw-in Grealish cleverly produced a short lob into the path of Agbonlahor. The striker appeared to lose control but became entangled with Preston's goalkeeper, Chris Maxwell.

As a result the ball ran loose towards an open goal with the alert Adomah providing the finishing touch and in the process ease some tension.

Only a timely intervention by Paul Huntington prevented Agbonlahor increasing Villa's lead but it was only a temporary reprieve as in the 35th minute Adomah recorded his second goal.

Adomah worked his way into a shooting position only to be brought down in the area by Aiden McCeady. Despite strong protests referee Andrew Madley awarded a penalty which was converted by Adomah.

Preston and their fans became agitated by events as the North West club struggled to get into the first half completely dominated by Villa

Surprisingly Villa took their foot off the accelerator and allowed Preston back into the game, reducing the arrears in the 64th minute.

Hugill collected a loose ball and showing great determination moved forward. Jordan Amavi timidly backed off from making a tackle allowing Hugill to prime his 20-yard shot past a helpless Johnston.

The goal was a shot in the arm for Preston. Suddenly they found their attacking flair and in the 77th minute McGeady cut in from the left and arrowed in as perfect cross which Hugill headed home to the delight of the travelling fans who could hardly believe the second-half transformation.


Source: PA


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