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Match Reports

Slender defeat for Millwall at Villa Park

Our report from Aston Villa...

22 April 2019

Millwall slipped to a narrow defeat on Easter Monday in the Sky Bet Championship as Aston Villa were 1-0 winners at Villa Park.

Jonathan Kodjia's goal on the half-hour mark was enough to settle matters.

Neil Harris made one change from Good Friday's 1-1 draw with Brentford, as Ben Marshall replaced the injured Ben Thompson. Jiri Skalak stepped up to the bench in his place.

The home side had the better of the opening exchanges but were unable to find a clear way to goal; Mile Jedinak's free-kick, which went over the crossbar, their best effort with five minutes gone.

A more clear-cut chance presented itself on 10 minutes, however, as Anwar El Ghazi headed towards goal at the back post, but the ball fortunately crept wide.

The Lions' first spell of possession and foray into the penalty area came shortly after, but was to end with Tyrone Mings thumping Jed Wallace's cross into touch. The ball was regained, though, and a corner was fashioned, but that was headed behind by Jake Cooper.

Millwall were getting themselves into the game, and as the quarter-hour mark approached, Marshall's through-ball found Jed Wallace. The winger's left-footed effort was struck with power, but a fellow Jed, Aston Villa's goalkeeper Steer, saved well.

With 29 minutes on the clock and The Lions looking to build an attack, Ryan Leonard's backpass was criminally underhit and set Kodjia in on goal. Fortunately for the midfielder, David Martin was quick off his line and smothered the striker, sending the ball out for a goal-kick.

A minute later, however, Villa were in front as El Ghazi had time and space to cross for Kodjia to slide in and open the scoring.

El Ghazi then tested Martin from a free-kick as the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the wind whipped up inside Villa Park, with a Millwall chance coming just two mintues before the break as the ball broke to Marshall, but his attempt was blocked by Tyrone Mings.

Jed Wallace battled his way through the Villa defence on 51 minutes but shot over, whilst Mahlon Romeo did the same three minutes later but scuffed his shot wide. Goalscorer Kodjia then danced his way through Millwall's backline at the other end, but poked wide himself.

Substitute Andre Green then smashed the ball against the side-netting as the last 20 minutes approached, with Martin standing strong to an effort from Jack Grealish shortly after. An Alex Pearce free-kick then saw Cooper beat the stranded Steer to the ball, but a combination of the pace of the ball and the lack of Millwall man able to tap into an empty net stopped the equaliser from being scored.

Martin's instinctive save kept Green from doubling Villa's lead with six minutes remaining, with the stopper again reaching out to palm Keinan Davis' header behind.

At the other end, a deep corner-kick from Shane Ferguson was nodded across the box by Pearce, but Gregory's hook towards the net was in vain, sailing over the crossbar. Martin heroically kept the home side out once more on 88 minutes as he tipped El Ghazi's effort wide, but Villa comfortably negotiated four minutes of stoppage-time to claim a 10th straight victory.

Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Whelan (Hourihane 60'), McGinn, Grealish, Jedinak, El Ghazi, Kodjia (Davis 76'), Elmohamady, Adomah (Green 60'), Mings. Subs not used: Sarkic, Lansbury, Bjarnason, Elphick.

Scorer: Kodjia 30'

Booking: Taylor, Davis

Millwall: Martin, Meredith (O'Brien 64'), Cooper, J. Wallace, Gregory, Ferguson, Romeo (Elliott 89'), Pearce, Tunnicliffe (Morison 79'), Leonard, Marshall. Subs not used: Amos, McLaughlin, Williams, Skalak.

Booking: Cooper

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 39,893

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