Rotherham 1-2 Aston Villa: Sublime Jack Grealish strike completes second half turnaround to keep ten-man Villa’s promotion surge on track
- Aston Villa came from behind to beat Rotherham despite having ten men
- Villa were left in the lurch when Tyrone Mings was sent off for second yellow
- His handball gave The Millers a penalty which Will Vaulks calmly slotted home
- The visitors came out firing after half time and levelled through Jonathan Kodjia
- Captain Jack Grealish then put Villa ahead just six minutes after the interval
Jack Grealish inspired a stirring fightback for 10-man Aston Villa that enhanced their late-season burst for the Championship play-offs.
Villa captain Grealish swept in a sublime second to cap a stunning six-minute spell at the start of the second period in which the visitors made light of their numerical disadvantage to overhaul their half-time deficit.
Trailing to Will Vaulks’ penalty, and with Tyrone Mings dismissed upon its award, Dean Smith’s team came roaring out of the dressing room to turn the game on its head. return them to fifth place and develop a five-point buffer on those chasing a top-six finish.
Captain Jack Grealish scored Aston Villa’s second goal by firing through a crowd of bodies
Aston Villa fans scream with delight as their side turnaround a 1-0 deficit to lead at Rotherham
He caressed the ball into the corner to give his side a vital lead in their hunt for promotion
Grealish’s goal would prove to be the difference as Villa held out to take a crucial three points
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Rotherham: Rodak; Vyner, Ihiekwe (Vassell 77), Robertson, Mattock; Ajayi, Taylor (Williams 84), Vaulks, Towell (Wiles 68), Newell; Smith
Subs not used: Price, Wood, Crooks, Forde
Goals: Vaulks (pen)
Booked: Mattock, Ajayi, Vaulks
Aston Villa: Steer; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor; Hourihane, McGinn, Grealish (Whelan 90); El Ghazi (Kodjia 46), Adomah (Jedinak 37), Abraham.
Subs not used: Sarkic, Lansbury, Green, Davis
Goals: Kodjia (pen), Grealish
Booked: Mings, Abraham
Sent off: Mings
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Having missed their first penalty of the evening through Tammy Abraham, the responsibility for taking their second passed to substitute Jonathan Kodjia, who laced into the top corner within seconds of entering the action, following Semi Ajayi’s handball.
Grealish then sent the 2,500 travelling supporters into delirium with a goal of top-flight quality: carrying the ball at pace towards the Rotherham backline, he fed the overlapping Ahmed Elmohamady and ghosted into space to apply a decisive conclusion to the one-two from a dozen yards.
From that point, Villa’s seventh straight league win looked an inevitability. In complete contrast to events of the first half when Mings walked for his second bookable offence, after referee Andrew Madley adjudged he had moved his arm towards the ball to block Joe Newell’s 34th-minute cross.
Tyrone Mings was sent off for a second yellow card as a result of the handball in the Villa box
Will Vaulks slotted the penalty past Aston Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer to give the Millers the lead
Vaulks vaulted into the sky in celebration after scoring a first half penalty for Rotherham
Villa were handicapped by the red card and Jack Grealish’s went in at half-time trailing 1-0
The on-loan Bournemouth defender had been cautioned for kicking out at Vaulks a quarter of an hour earlier and was on his way down the tunnel as his adversary opened the scoring with a dead-ball approach that contained little subtlety from the touchline.
At that juncture it appeared relegation-threatened Rotherham were on course for a victory that would have hauled them out of the bottom three, only for Villa’s talisman Grealish to have his say.
At other end of the contest, Rotherham had gone close to opening the scoring on three occasions when Grealish’s 11th-minute surge through the penalty area was crudely interrupted by Clark Robertson.
Abraham stepped forward for the chance to convert his 24th league goal of the season but while his effort was well placed it lacked venom and Marek Rodak’s palm diverted it for a corner.
The reaction of the other Rotherham players to their giant goalkeeper’s intervention spoke volumes for the team spirit at a club refusing to give up their second-tier status without an almighty fight.
Dean Smith’s side recovered to make sure their promotion challenge remains on the right track
Rotherham manager Paul Warne looks on despairingly as his side throw away a first-half lead
Substitute Jonathan Kodjia levelled proceedings with a penalty just seconds after coming on
He fired the ball high above Rotherham goalkeeper Marek Rodak who couldn’t get a hand to it
Within the first 70 seconds, Jon Taylor set the tone, flashing the ball across the Aston Villa goal after picking the pocket of namesake Neil Taylor on the right touchline.
Jed Steer was not required to make a save on that occasion but had to get down swiftly to deal with Semi Ajayi’s low drive from the edge of the area when a third-minute corner was not cleared.
Ajayi, the holding midfielder who doubles as Rotherham’s top scorer, displayed remarkably adept footwork for a big man to create the shooting opportunity and some equally impressive poise on the ball from Taylor resulted in Steer repelling another well-directed shot seconds before Villa went down the other end to win their first spot-kick.
Kodjia runs away to celebrate in front of the travelling Aston Villa fans at the New York Stadium
The Villa players mob Kodjia for drawing them level despite their man disadvantage
During an enthralling opening, Villa were twice denied in one frantic attack in which Rodak parried Albert Adomah’s deflected attempt and Michael Ihiekwe blocked the follow-up from Conor Hourihane.
The chances kept coming – particularly from Vaulks’ long throws – but Villa were only breached once before Smith, who was booked himself for offering one too many opinion, got them back in the dressing room for a tactical rethink that saw them re-emerge with a 3-4-2 formation to dramatic effect.