2017/18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Albert Adomah (60')
  • Conor Hourihane (81')
  • Cheikh N'Doye (90'+4')

Aston Villa beat rivals Birmingham to go second

Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Aston Villa moved into second place in the Championship with a 2-0 win over local rivals Birmingham City at Villa Park.

Albert Adomah scored his 13th goal of the season on the hour mark and Conor Hourihane netted a second after 81 minutes to enable Villa to chalk up their seventh successive league win, while Birmingham were reduced to 10 men at the death following Cheikh Ndoye's second yellow card.

Villa are now unbeaten in their last 12 encounters with the Blues, while manager Steve Bruce has not been defeated in eight home games against Birmingham since leaving St Andrew's.

Adomah may have turned the game in Villa's favour but the talented Jack Grealish took the individual honours, with his threat reflected by some desperate tackles by Birmingham in an attempt to keep him in check.

A much-improved Birmingham gave a good account of themselves but have still not scored in their last five visits to Villa Park.

In an emotionally charged atmosphere, in front of a 41,233 crowd, Villa were the dominant side in the early exchanges with Grealish emerging as their key player with some delightful skill.

He repeatedly set up promising moves which kept the visitors at full stretch, with one enabling Alan Hutton to advance before producing a low cross with which Robert Snodgrass failed to make contact.

In a helter-skelter type of encounter it was very much a case of Birmingham defending grimly in the face of increasing odds.

Only the woodwork kept Birmingham in the game when Scott Hogan worked his way along the edge of the penalty area before firing in a shot which hit the top of the crossbar.

Grealish had to receive treatment following a heavy tackle by Ndoye -- an incident which generated an improvement in Birmingham's attacking play.

Often the away side had a back line of six keeping Villa at bay but it was goalkeeper David Stockdale who came to the fore when Villa's leading marksman Adomah made space for himself to fire in a close-range shot which was saved.

Some grafting work by Maikel Kieftenbeld and David Davis kept Birmingham in contention, and just before the break they should have taken the lead with their first strike on goal.

John Terry made a mess of attempting to cut out a Jacques Maghoma pass and Sam Gallagher was given a free run to fire in a cross-shot which cannoned back off the far post in a let-off for Villa.

The Blues were boosted but their adventurous play backfired in the 60th minute when the home side took the lead.

Not surprisingly it was Grealish who cleverly set up Adomah following a pass from Hutton to score with a low, raking shot as he cut in from the left.

Nine minutes from time, Hourihane collected a short ball to score with a shot over the head of goalkeeper Stockdale to seal a comfortable win.

In the last minute, Ndoye was sent off for a second booking.

English League Championship Standings

1 Leeds United 27 +18 54
2 Sheffield United 27 +18 50
3 Norwich City 27 +14 50
4 West Bromwich Albion 27 +20 47
5 Middlesbrough 27 +11 46
6 Derby County 27 +4 43
7 Bristol City 27 +5 41
8 Birmingham City 27 +9 39
9 Nottingham Forest 27 +8 39
10 Hull City 27 +6 39
11 Queens Park Rangers 27 -2 39
12 Aston Villa 27 +6 38
13 Swansea City 27 +4 37
14 Blackburn Rovers 27 -6 37
15 Stoke City 27 -3 35
16 Sheffield Wednesday 27 -13 32
17 Brentford 27 +2 31
18 Preston North End 27 -5 30
19 Wigan Athletic 27 -12 29
20 Millwall 27 -10 28
21 Rotherham United 27 -17 25
22 Reading 27 -11 23
23 Bolton Wanderers 27 -22 22
24 Ipswich Town 27 -24 18