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Match Reports

Report: Aston Villa 2 Rovers 1

Tyrone Mings' powerful header proves to be the difference at Villa Park, despite Amari'i Bell's third of the season

30 March 2019

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Goals from Tammy Abraham and Tyrone Mings ensured Rovers suffered a defeat on the road to play-off-chasing Aston Villa.

Abraham's early tap in was deserved for the hosts' domiance in the first half, before Mings' towering header doubled the tally on the hour mark at Villa Park.

Although former Birmingham City man Amari'i Bell pulled a goal back with time running out, it wasn't enough despite Rovers' fine display in the second half.

Perhaps Rovers will look back on an Adam Armstrong miss before Bell's ultimate consolation, but it wasn't to be, despite a much improved performance on the road.

In terms of the team, Tony Mowbray made five changes to his starting lineup, with Darragh Lenihan, Charlie Mulgrew and Bell all returning to the side following injury, whilst the other alterations saw starting berths for Craig Conway and Armstrong further forward.

Tyler Magloire, Derrick Williams, Corry Evans, Harrison Reed and Joe Rothwell all dropped out, with the latter two available from the bench if needed.

It proved to be a tough start for Rovers, with Villa dominating the ball in the early stages and taking the lead after only eight minutes of play.

John McGinn was the orchestrator, with his chipped ball finding Anwar El Ghazi, whose pass across the six-yard box found Abraham, who tapped home for his 22nd goal of the season in all competitions.

Abraham almost made it 2-0 shortly after, but after latching onto McGinn's pull back saw David Raya in his way, before Raya beat away McGinn's drive just 30 seconds later.

Rovers did muster a response, with the returning Lenihan seeing his header flicked off the line before Conway's curling strike smashed against the bar before Mulgrew lashed the follow up effort high and wide.

On the 20 minute mark Raya produced an outstanding stop to flick McGinn's low, fizzed effort onto the post before the danger was cleared.

Rovers came again, and neat play down the left saw Armstrong and Bradley Dack link up well before the former's effort was tipped around the post by Jed Steer.

Raya was kept busy by Andre Green and Jack Grealish in quick succession as Villa continued to look for a second goal.

Villa did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half time, but after El Ghazi tapped into the net after connecting with Neil Taylor's shot, the Dutchman was adjudged to be offside.

Despite the home side's dominance, Rovers got into the break just a goal down, but had to be better in the second half.

Rovers improved after the break and reduced Villa to little attacking threat until the hour mark when the hosts made it 2-0.

The impressive McGinn was the architect again, as his high, curling ball was powerfully headed down and into the net by giant defender Mings who gave Raya no chance.

But five minutes later and Rovers worked a glorious chance to get back into the game, but after a superb threaded pass from Danny Graham found Armstrong, the diminutive frontman could only curl wide of the target.

However, Mowbray's men did find the net with 16 minutes remaining as Bell bagged his third goal in his last four away outings.

The left back followed up to smash into the back of the net after Steer spilled Mulgrew's swirling free kick to secure a grandstand finish in the Midlands.

The visitors were pushing Dean Smith's side back and Rothwell showed fantastic footwork to evade a couple of challenges before curling wide of the target with six minutes left.

Only two minutes were remaining when Abraham blasted into the Holte End after a cute ball from substitute Conor Hourihane, to keep Rovers in with a chance of taking something from the encounter. 

But despite having a lot of the ball, Rovers couldn't work a final chance and returned to East Lancashire with nothing to show for their efforts, which was probably harsh on the second half display.

Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Whelan, McGinn, Grealish (c) (Hourihane, 87), Abraham, Green (Adomah, 65), El Ghazi, Elmohamady, Hause, Mings.

Unused substitutes: Sarkic, Tuanzebe, Jedinak, Davis, Kodjia.

Goals: Abraham, 8, Mings, 61

Booked: McGinn, 77

Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew (c), Bell, Travis, Bennett (Reed, 60), Conway, Dack (Rothwell, 66), Armstrong, Graham (Brereton, 66).

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Williams, Rodwell, Smallwood.

Goal: Bell, 74

Booked: Bennett, 25


Referee: Robert Jones.

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