Smith – We found a way to win
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith saluted his side’s character after two stoppage-time goals earned a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Gary Hooper gave the Owls a seventh-minute lead which was cancelled out by a smart John McGinn finish in the 22nd minute.
Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher then saw a penalty saved by Jed Steer in the 57th minute before Villa made him pay by scoring late on through Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham to secure the points.
Smith said: “I thought it was a game of two halves, I thought we were the better team in the first half, they scored on the counter-attack, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the equaliser.
“I wanted more of the same in the second half but credit to Sheffield Wednesday, they put us on the back foot. They got balls in the box, they got balls up to Fletcher and they won plenty of second balls.
“Jed [Steer] had to make a really good save from the penalty which gave us a boost. If that had gone in, it would have been difficult to come back with Wednesday having their tails up.
“The players had to defend manfully. There were a lot of balls into the box, but these lads have found a way to win at the moment.
“It was always going to be a tough game – they’re playing with their tails up – but we are as well and we showed there are a lot of personalities and characters in our dressing room by getting that win when we probably shouldn’t have in the second half.”
Despite a bright start by Villa, Wednesday took the lead through Hooper’s tap-in from close range.
But the away side equalised through McGinn, who side-footed past Keiren Westwood from Andre Green’s cross which followed a brilliant Tyrone Mings cross-field ball.
The direction of the game changed quickly in the second half, mostly down to Barry Bannan, who was excellent for Wednesday.
His clipped through ball to Fletcher forced Tyrone Mings to bring him down for a penalty but the striker stepped up and saw his low, left-footed effort saved by Steer.
Villa left it late and two substitutes combined to make it 2-1. Jonathan Kodjia saw his shot saved by Westwood, who pushed the ball straight to Adomah and he turned it in from a tight angle.
Abraham then piled more misery on the home side, shrugging off defenders and firing his effort under Westwood to secure all three points.
Owls boss Steve Bruce, who was facing his former club, said: “It is cruel at times, certainly it was one of those days.
“Certainly, in the second half it was a bit of an onslaught and we just needed that break which never came, unfortunately.
“In terms of the way we played I couldn’t have asked for anything more and on another day you win the game which was what we were looking for.
“The way we went about our work was admirable – they needed and deserved a break. It would have been great to get the result because it would have put us right in amongst it.
“The big turning point was the penalty. Big moments in big games, you need to take them chances and unfortunately we haven’t been able to take it.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve and it was one of them games. With the spice of it being against Aston Villa, it’s always more disappointment.”