MX23RW : Friday, July 3 16:51:47| >> :60:652:652:
Feb 16, 2019 at 3pm UK at Villa Park (Birmingham)
Attendance: 39,263
Aston Villa
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
FT(HT: 0-2)
Robson-Kanu (41'), Rodriguez (45')

Result: Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez help Baggies shoot down Villa

Result: Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez help Baggies shoot down Villa
© Reuters
The Villans struggled without missing midfielder Jack Grealish.

First-half goals from Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez earned West Brom an impressive 2-0 away win over Birmingham rivals Aston Villa.

Albion had every reason to be delighted with the outcome as they consolidated their promotion push despite being without their leading goalscorer Dwight Gayle, suspended retrospectively for diving in the recent draw with Nottingham Forest.

Villa have struggled to find a winning formation in the absence of the talented Jack Grealish, who has now been absent for 13 games, a period in which they have only won twice.

The result was that Villa allowed the opposition to build a commanding lead with two goals in four minutes just before half-time.

This was a familiar tale as it was the eighth time in 11 games that they have trailed at the break.

On this occasion they were unable to catch up on missed opportunities as Albion recorded their ninth away win of the season.

There were early signs of Albion's determination to get onto the front foot. Only a timely interception by Tommy Elphick averted a dangerous situation as Robson-Kanu was about to shoot at the near post.

Albion were themselves indebted to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone when he displayed quick awareness after his defenders had been caught wrong-footed by a slick pass from Andre Green to the unmarked Tammy Abraham.

With only Johnstone to beat, Villa's leading marksman shot straight at the goalkeeper.

The incident, however, alerted Albion's defence to the potential danger of entering an attacking mode.

Instead, they relied upon the counter-attack, with the distribution of former Villa favourite Gareth
Barry playing a key role as he gave cool authority to Albion's play.

Green was always a potential danger and twice was crudely checked by Mason Holgate, who earned the first yellow card for his second tackle and was quickly followed into the book by Villa's Tyrone Mings.

It was, nevertheless, a frantic local derby, with Conor Hourihane earning a third booking as both teams
contrived to make mistakes.

Four minutes before the break Albion finally broke the stalemate when Robson-Kanu was perfectly placed to open the scoring with a looping header from a right-wing cross by the advancing Holgate.

Before Villa had time to regroup they slumped deeper into trouble. Hourihane was caught in possession and Rodriguez took full advantage to notch the second goal with a superb shot from just outside the area in the 45th minute.

Adding to Villa's problems goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic, previously injured in a clash with Jake Livermore, had to be replaced by Jed Steer, while Robson-Kanu made way for Sam Field.

Villa maintained a relentless attacking formation and their former goalkeeper Johnstone foiled their best goal attempt with a great save from the tenacious John McGinn.

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Dean Smith in charge of Aston Villa on January 19, 2019
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