Aston Villa 2 v Rotherham United 0
Abraham (27) Bolasie (82)
A goal in each half was enough to see Rotherham United leave Villa Park still pointless from away games in the Championship this season last night.
The Millers started on the back foot with Marek Rodak in the visitors goal having to palm away a shot from Jonathan Kodjia before the first minute had come around on the clock. Minutes later a poor goal kick from Rodak saw the ball fall to John McGinn who finds Kodjia but the Millers’ ‘keeper makes up for the kick by getting down to make the save from the Ivory Coast international. A first chance for the Millers saw Ryan Williams try his luck from just outside the box but he saw his shot go over the crossbar. At the other end the Millers had a let off when a Conor Hourihane free kick went across the goal line with nobody there to put it in the net. Rotherham came close on to opening the scoring on ten minutes when some good work between Richie Towell and Kyle Vassell saw a shot from Towell go just past the upright before a flick-on from Michael Smith found Vassell whose shot from distance went into the crowd behind the goal. Jack Grealish was causing the Millers midfield all sorts of problems and on twenty minutes he put in a superb low cross for Tammy Abraham but the Chelsea loanee couldn’t quite reach it. Some lovely work from Williams saw him fly down the wing and get the ball into the area for Smith but his shot was blocked and put to safety by James Chester. Williams was in the thick of it again when he sent a cross in that Villa ‘keeper Orjan Nyland did well to clear before he did well to save from Towell. The deadlock was broken on the twenty-seventh minute when a cross from McGinn was flicked on by Kodjia to Abraham who just had to slot the ball into the net to claim a goal on his debut. Kodjia saw an attempt ten minutes later blocked by Rotherham skipper Richard Wood before a Millers free kick saw Nyland, under pressure from Vassell, chest the ball away for a throw which came to nothing. In the final minute of the half Anwar El Ghazi won a free kick on the edge of the area which Hourihane put wide. In time added on the Millers had a chance to equalise when a lovely cross in from Vassell found Smith but his header was weak and easily saved.
The Millers came out better for the start of the second half and a Will Vaulks long throw saw Mile Jedinak have to take evasive action and head behind with the resulting corner being easily dealt with by Aston Villa before Orjan Nyland caught a long shot from Kyle Vassell. Just before the hour mark the visitors made the first substitution of the night fetching Jon Taylor on for Vassell. Jack Grealish got the better of Zak Vyner but the Millers number two redeemed himself by blocking the wingers shot with the resulting corner being headed wide by James Chester. The first yellow of the night when to Semi Ajayi who brought down Grealish with the free-kick being cleared by the visitors. Tammy Abrahams was the next to be booked when he brought down Michael Smith with Ryan Manning being subbed before he could take the free kick and Jamie Proctor coming on. Vaulks took the set piece which Richard Wood headed over. With twenty minutes to go Rotherham had a great chance to equalise when a lovely cross into the box from Vaulks found Taylor who headed the ball into the side netting. After referee Davies let play go on and a Abrahams shot was blocked he went back and booked Joe Mattock for a foul. Villa brought on Yannick Bolasie for Anwar El Ghazi and the final change for the Millers saw Anthony Forde come on for Ryan Williams. Another good ball in from Vaulks found the head of Wood who could only put the ball wide. At the other end a Bolasie cross found Mile Jedinak who headed wide from close range before a shot at the other end from Richie Towell went high and wide. Villa bring on Albert Adomah for Jonathan Kodjia and a minute later the hosts doubled their lead. Bolaise, who was left unmarked, stooped down to get to a cross from Ahmed Elmohamady to be the second player to score on his debut in the game. With five minutes to go Villa’s last substitution saw James Bree is the final change replacing Tammy Abraham. Marek Rodak had to be aware to get down to a shot from John McGinn who evaded his marker to get into the box. In time added on a superb pass from Vaulks found Forde who saw his shot put behind for a corner which was cleared as far as Proctor but he couldn’t get a shot away and the hosts cleared.
Once again the Millers had chances but, on the night, I do think the better team won.
Referee – Andy Davies
Crowd – 27,991