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Middlesbrough 0 – 1 Aston Villa: Villan’s Book Home Advantage

Mile Jedinaks first-half header gave the Pride a 1-0 lead going into the play-off second leg at Villa Park.

Boro dominated the last 45 minutes, but a lack of cutting edge meant they couldn’t salvage anything from the game.

It was an energetic start from both sides. Muhamed Besic had an early sight on goal with a half-volley over the bar.

Villa were 1 up after quarter of an hour, Jedinak glancing in Jack Grealish’s corner.

In the first half we were caught out a couple of times, Britt Assombalonga got a clear sight of goal twice but James Chester was on hand get across and make the forward miss the target in both instances.

It was a fairly even first half. Snodgrass couldn’t keep his header down, and on the opposite side Albert Adomah hit the side netting from the former’s ball in.

But no player had a better opportunity in red to score than that man Assombalonga, who’s close-range header was straight at Sam Johnstone.

They say the play-offs are where heroes are made, and Jack Grealish could have easily been one had he not been foiled by Ben Gibson having slalomed past six or seven red shirts.

How good it would’ve been if we went into half time two up. However, Snodgrass’ curling shot was denied by Darren Randolph who tipped it onto the post.

In the second half the dynamic of the game completely changed. In the first ten minutes I can’t remember us getting out of our own half.

And the introduction of Fabio was problematic, thankfully dangerous square ball across box had no recipient.

A man who many thought would be problematic was Adama Traore, but he was marshalled well by Alan Hutton who probably followed him home.

Villa’s one second half chance came through Lewis Grabban, who found space of the left-side of the Boro penalty area but could only roll his shot into the arms of Randolph.

Johnstone was definitely the busier of the two keepers, the United loanee having to deal with a lot of corners and crosses.

Luckily most of Middlesbrough’s efforts were off target. Chester’s half headed away a cross and George Friends half-volleyed follow up span over.

Then substitute Bikir Bjarnason launched himself at Fabio forcing his shot wide.

It seemed like an eternity before Robert Madley blew his whistle, but that’s one out of three play-off missions complete. On to¬†Tuesday!

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