Report: Aston Villa 0 Ipswich Town 1 – Huws scores late to secure gutsy victory
Emyr Huws scored a late winner as Ipswich Town secured a gutsy 1-0 victory at Aston Villa this afternoon.
The on-loan Cardiff City midfielder arrived late to stab home David McGoldrick’s sweeping low cross inside the six-yard box in the 83rd minute.
This was Villa’s first home defeat since relegation from the Premier League and Town’s first win against the Midlands club since 1994.
Steve Bruce’s men are now winless in eight, while Town are up to 13th in the Championship table.
The Blues, who saw defensive duo Steven Taylor and Christophe Berra both go off injured in the first half, showed great character to change the momentum of the match in their favour after the break.
A makeshift back three – which ended up being Jordan Spence, Luke Chambers and Jonas Knudsen – kept Town’s first clean sheet in 15 matches.
The new-look midfield three of Huws, Toumani Diagouraga and Grant Ward provided a greater offensive balance, while homegrown youngsters Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock did well as the wing-backs.
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Villa’s new-look team looked like they were on the same wavelength in a first half that saw Henri Lansbury pulling the strings from a deep-lying midfield role.
The former Norwich City man’s inventive shot was pushed around the post by Bartosz Bialkowski in the eighth minute. The resultant corner was unconvincingly scrambled to the edge of the box and Bialkowski made a superb save to keep out Tommy Elphick’s well-struck low shot through the crowd.
Town’s first attack saw penalty appeals waved away after Tom Lawrence went down under the challenge of James Chester in the box. The Leicester City loanee was convinced the defender did not get the ball.
A breathless end-to-end spell continued as Nathan Baker powered a header wide from a Conor Hourihane corner and David McGoldrick saw a far post header blocked following Grant Ward’s deep cross.
There was a major let-off for Town in the 21st minute after the impressive Lansbury won a free-kick on the by-line and then cleverly passed backwards to the edge of the area when everyone was preparing for an aerial duel. Icelandic midfielder Birkir Bjarnason had acres of time and space, but thumped a rising shot against the right post.
Town’s first defensive injury blow occurred in the 25th minute when Steven Taylor – who had been organising the back line – headed straight down the tunnel with a hamstring injury.
He was replaced by Myles Kenlock and Jonas Knudsen moved inside to play in the back three.
Scott Hogan curved a shot wide and the tricky Jonathan Kodjia diverted a deep cross over the bar as Villa continued to probe. McGoldrick had an on-target effort defected wide at the other end.
The half then ended controversially as Elphick flattened Berra with a flailing arm inside the Villa box. The Scottish centre-back required lengthy treatment and eventually walked from the field clearly dazed. It looked like he wanted to carry on, but the decision was taken out of his hands and Jordan Spence was introduced. The referee took no action against the challenge.
Town started the second half positively and Huws saw a shot deflected over the bar. There was a scramble at the resultant corner and somehow Spence stabbed wide from a golden position.
Moments later, McGoldrick glanced a header over from Lawrence’s lofted pass.
Town skipper Luke Chambers was defending well at the other end. First he cut out a dangerous Bjarnson cross, then outmuscled striker Scott Hogan.
Hourihane put in a couple of dangerous free-kick deliveries from the home side, then McGoldrick had to clear off the line after Hogan met a fine corner delivery with his head.
Two minutes later, the Blues forced a breakthrough after Elphick’s slip was seized upon by McGoldrick. The forward swept a low cross in from the left and Huws timed his run to perfection to convert from close-range.
When Hourihane curled a late free-kick well off target the home fans headed to the exits in their droves. Town’s travelling fans stayed to enjoy the long-awaited return of the Chambers fist-pump celebration.
ASTON VILLA (3-5-2): Johnstone; Chester (cpt), Baker, Elphick (Bacuna 89); Hutton (Adomah 67), Lansbury, Bjarnason, Hourihane, Taylor (Green 77); Kodjia, Hogan.
Unused subs: Bunn, Gardner, Davis, Amavi.
IPSWICH TOWN (3-5-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Taylor (Kenlock 25), Berra (Spence 45+); Emmanuel, Ward, Huws (Bru 87), Diagouraga, Knudsen; McGoldrick, Lawrence.
Unused subs: Gerken, Pitman, Sears, Moore.
Booked: Knudsen (76), Diagouraga (79)
Referee: Tim Robinson