Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Aston Villa heading to Wembley after draw with Middlesbrough in Championship play-offs

Five things we learned as Villa get past Boro to reach C'ship play-off final Aston Villa heading to Wembley after draw with Middlesbrough in Championship play-offs
Cary Erickson | 16 May, 2018, 09:42

In a tie that lacked chances, Aston Villa first went closest to winning the match through Jack Grealish's curling effort.

The ramifications for Villa if they fail to achieve promotion do not bear thinking about but, for now, they are focusing on the chance to end their two-year exile from the top tier.

After a solitary Mile Jedinak goal had put Villa in the ascendancy following victory at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, Bruce's men put in a professional performance to secure a goalless draw home last night.

Fulham advanced after beating Derby 2-0 in their second leg on Monday, sealing a 2-1 win on aggregate.

He said: "Eighteen or 19 months ago this club was in a mess but the experienced players have done the job for us and we're delighted about that".

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"It irks me a little bit but the teams who finished third and fourth are going to Wembley and that's justification of what they've done over the season".

The game itself was gripped with tension from the outset and there were periods in the first half when Villa seemed to be in danger of getting too caught up in the occasion.

"I think they have had one shot on target in the two games".

The 0-0 draw on Tuesday night extended the run without a home win to 13 games now and it could be a couple more years before another game to get a victor with Villa now one win away from the Premier League. But the longer it goes, when he (Stewart Downing) hits the crossbar you think "dear oh, dear" you can't put me through that anymore.

But there was a huge scare when Adama Traore attempted to lift the ball over Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal, only for him to save with his hand - outside the box.