Aston Villa’s first game of the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship season was a win – and was the first opening day win since relegation.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Hull started the brighter side at the KCOM stadium, with a corner and two shots within the first two minutes.
Hull took the lead just five minutes later as Jed Steer rushed for an incoming ball – punching it away decently but tangling himself with a number of players in the process, leaving Hull’s Evandro with the opportunity to side foot it over the box and into the back of the net, past a rushing Tommy Elphick who could have blocked the ball had it not been for his fear of colliding with the goalpost. Relatively uninspiring from Aston Villa.
Tommy Elphick made up for his earlier error by levelling the score in the 13th minute, attacking an in-swinging ball in by Jack Grealish and heading past David Marshall in the Hull City goal.
Jed Steer made an outstanding save two minutes later after Jarrod Bowen found himself with just the Villa ‘keeper between him and a goal. Jed rushed out and managed to block the shot confidently.
Jonathan Kodjia had a chance to play in Ahmed Elmohamady in after the latter won the ball and started a counter-attack, but Kodjia was too eager to impress – sprinting forward before having an incredibly feeble shot.
Just before the half hour mark, Grealish found himself with space in the box – but his touch wasn’t good enough – and the ball bounced off his mid drift and out for a goal kick.
Evandro could have made it two for Hull in the 38th minute, as the defence slept on a Todd Kane pass into the box – luckily for Aston Villa Jed Steer was awake and rushed out to the meet the ball.
Jack Grealish continued from last season, drawing a number of fouls – in fact, he was fouled six times in the first 50 minutes.
Jed Steer made an incredible save just before the 60 minute mark as the ball fell to Hull’s Todd Kane, who volleyed it towards goal. Jed got down low at his near post and managed a quality save before Todd was rightly called offside.
The 62nd minute saw Alan Hutton concede a free kick after a lapse of judgement left him chasing back against Hull’s Henriksen, which came to nothing for the home side.
Albert Adomah had a shout for a penalty just a minute later after Henriksen made a defensive error, but the referee seemingly made the right decision.
Just afterwards, Aston Villa had a free-kick after Jonathan Kodjia was fouled outside the box – which Conor Hourihane fired just over the bar.
In the 66th minute, Todd Kane was replaced by David Milinkovic and Nouha Dicko came on for Frazier Campbell for Hull. Andre Green also got his first minutes of the season, replacing Albert Adomah at left-wing.
Ahmed Elmohamady damaged his already tattered reputation in Hull in the 70th minute, as Marshall’s goal kick found the Egyptian, who played it into Hourihane, who completed the one-two and let the running Elmohamady fire into the bottom left corner. Playing in a more advanced area this season, Ahmed scored his first Aston Villa goal against his former club, who had been booing him all game.
Alan Hutton made it three just four minutes later, with a winding, mazing run, similar to the one he made against Dresden, before shooting into a similar area that Elmohamady did. You could see how much the goal meant to him, as the Scot ran straight into the arms of the Villa faithful, tears in his eyes. His second goal in seven and a half years.
In the 76th minute, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy replaced Jonathan Kodjia.
With just nine minutes to go, Jack Grealish left the pitch and was replaced by Birkir Bjarnason. Four minutes later, Will Keane replaced Evandro for Hull.
Bjarnason received a yellow card for a rash challenge on Jarrod Bowen just before the 90 minute mark, which was given to him after the referee played advantage.
All in all, not a polished performance from Aston Villa, but a great result to start the season.