Huws' late strike gives Town the points at Villa Park
Emyr Huws’ first goal for Town gave Blues a terrific win at Villa Park.
The Wales international, on loan from Cardiff until the end of the season, was in the right place to force home David McGoldrick’s cross eight minutes from time and end Blues’ four match run without a win.
The victory lifts Town three points clear of Villa in the table, though Blues’ injury woes continue with Steven Taylor and Christophe Berra both forced off before the break.
Town made one change to the side that drew with Reading last weekend, with Cole Skuse not risked after being forced off with an achilles injury in that game, Grant Ward coming in.
Luke Chambers cancelled out the threat from Jonathan Kodjia after Villa broke at pace following a Jonas Knudsen throw into the home box, Kodjia then winning a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul by Ward. Conor Hourihane’s free-kick was blocked, Bart Bialkowski then keeping out Henri Lansbury’s follow up.
Town’s ‘keeper did even better seconds later to get a hand to Hourihane’s strike that looked destined for the bottom corner, while at the other end Tom
Lawrence went down in the box with the Wales international claiming a penalty but referee Tim Robinson waved away appeals.
McGoldrick went close with a header from Ward’s cross in a bright opening to the game, Taylor then clearing up the danger as Scott Hogan looked to get on the end of a ball over the top.
Taylor conceded a free-kick deep in Town territory and from Henri Lansbury’s free-kick, Birkir Bjarnason hit the bar with a right foot effort.
Taylor was then forced off with injury, Myles Kenlock the replacement on 24 minutes.
Chambers was in the right place again to prevent Hogan getting in, the former Brentford striker sending a curler wide as Villa searched for that breakthrough.
Kodjia almost found it with an acrobatic effort from Alan Hutton’s cross, Town responding through a McGoldrick strike deflected wide.
Bialkowski saved low down from Kodjia, then Town suffered another injury blow when Berra headed for the dressing-room the worse for wear after taking a knock to his head as he challenged for a cross. Jordan Spence entered the fray on the stroke of half-time.
Ward showed a lovely turn to lose his marker and find space down the right as the second-half got underway but his cross was too close to Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal.
Bialkowski held firm as Kodjia whipped in a fierce cross, Johnstone punching clear from Lawrence’s corner then Huws saw his shot deflected wide. From the corner, Spence stabbed the ball wide from close range in Town’s best chance of the first hour.
McGoldrick headed over, Huws had a shot blocked on the edge of the box as Town edged the play before Villa made a first change midway through the half with Hutton making way for Albert Adomah.
Lansbury sent his free-kick straight at Bialkowski, Town’s ‘keeper staying firm again to gather Hourihane’s delivery as Hogan challenged. The Villa midfielder then sent another 50 yard free-kick that beat everyone including the far post.
Hogan’s header was cleared off the line by McGoldrick as the game entered the closing stages and it was Town who struck with eight minutes to go. McGoldrick did brilliantly down the left and from his cross, Huws found the net from close range to give Town the points and end Villa's unbeaten home record this season.
Villa: Johnstone, Hutton (Adomah 67), Elphick (Bacuna 88), Chester, Baker, Taylor (Green 76), Lansbury, Bjarnason, Hourihane, Kodjia, Hogan. Subs not used: Bunn, Gardner, Amavi, Davis.
Town: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Knudsen, Taylor (Kenlock 24), Berra (Spence 45), Chambers, Ward, Diagouraga, Huws (Bru 87), Lawrence, McGoldrick. Subs not used: Gerken, Sears, Moore, Pitman. Booked: Knudsen, Diagouraga.