Jonathan Kodjia hurts former side Bristol City as Aston Villa collect vital win
Jonathan Kodjia enjoyed an eventful evening against his former club as Aston Villa significantly eased their Sky Bet Championship relegation concerns with a 2-0 win over Bristol City at Villa Park.
The 27-year-old joined Villa from City in an B#11million deal last summer and was jeered by the away fans after crashing a first-half penalty against the crossbar.
However, the Ivorian scored Villa’s opener and then set up Conor Hourihane’s first goal for the club following his January switch from Barnsley as the hosts put nine points between themselves and a struggling City side now without a win in their last five.
The match started slowly, with Albert Adomah producing the first moment of note 14 minutes in when he beat Joe Bryan to the ball and raced clear down the right before picking out Andre Green at the back post, only for his opposing winger to lash the ball into the side-netting.
At the other end Bailey Wright headed David Cotterill’s free-kick against the bar before Kodjia created a yard of space in the City box only to hit a tame effort at goalkeeper Fabian Giefer.
Giefer was lucky to stay on the pitch when he brought Gary Gardner down in the penalty area after 19 minutes – referee Simon Hooper showing only a yellow card despite the keeper being the last man – and his fortune continued as Kodjia rattled the frame of the goal with the resulting spot-kick to the delight of the away fans.
Gardner, who replaced the suspended Leandro Bacuna in Villa’s only change from the side that beat Derby at the weekend, was forced off after 37 minutes and replaced by Hourihane.
Korey Smith dragged a 20-yard effort wide three minutes after the interval as the second half began with a similar lack of quality to that seen throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Neil Taylor’s dangerous low cross after 50 minutes had to be hacked clear by Bryan, with Kodjia heading over moments later.
Villa were in the ascendancy and Kodjia finally opened the scoring after 54 minutes. Alan Hutton and Adomah combined well down the right, and the Ivorian converted a glancing header from the latter’s cross.
City could have equalised immediately but Sam Johnstone brilliantly turned Callum O’Dowda’s header from a Cotterill corner onto the crossbar.
Green went down the other end and cut in from the left before curling a 25-yard effort against the woodwork.
Kodjia was again involved in Villa’s second, dispossessing Bryan by the corner flag before cutting the ball back for Adomah, who scuffed his shot to Hourihane to tap home from six yards.
City had appeals for a penalty turned down when O’Dowda’s 73rd-minute header appeared to hit Taylor’s arm but City were helpless to prevent a defeat which leaves them outside the bottom three only on goal difference as Hourihane missed a good chance to add a third in stoppage time following excellent work by Taylor.