Heading into the second leg it was clear to see that Villa had the advantage, but as we all know, playing at home can do funny things to a team at this stage of the season. West Bromwich Albion ended up producing a valiant effort at The Hawthorns in an attempt to reach the play-off final, but in the end, it was Aston Villa that booked their place at Wembley with a ‘let’s not do it the easy way’ kind of win.
For the first half hour Villa were trying to settle their way into the game, but they just couldn’t really get a foothold in proceedings. The Baggies were progressively gaining more and more confidence, and then, Craig Dawson changed the face of the tie with a near-post header that brought them level on aggregate. From that point on they were hungry for a second, but they just couldn’t quite get it over the line for a second time.
Things started to become increasingly tense in the stadium as we approached the latter stages of the encounter, to the point where both teams were feeling a bit edgy. With ten minutes to go, though West Brom veteran Chris Brunt picked up a foolish red card to ensure that the home side went onto the backfoot once again. They still managed to take the game all the way through to penalties, but who knows what they could’ve achieved had he stayed on the pitch?
Keeping the composure
During the shootout West Brom were unable to keep their cool in front of their adoring fans, going 2-0 down after missing both of their earlier efforts. Adomah’s miss gave them cause for hope and celebration, but in the end, it was Tammy Abraham who managed to book Villa’s ticket to Wembley with a somewhat fortunate finish.
The attention will now turn towards tonight’s second semi final for Villa, as Leeds United and Derby County prepare to battle it out for the right to join them in the final. West Brom, on the other hand, will start preparations for life in the Championship for a second consecutive season.
West Brom: Johnstone (7), Gibbs (7.5), Hegazi (7.5), Bartley (7.5), Dawson (8.5), Holgate (8), Murphy (6.5), Leko (6), Harper (6.5), Rodriguez (6), Morrison (7), Brunt (5), Adarabioyo (7), Johansen (6.5), Phillips (6.5)
Aston Villa: Steer (6.5), Tuanzebe (6.5), Mings (7), Taylor (6), Adomah (6), McGinn (8), Grealish (7), Hourihane (7), Kodjia (6), Abraham (7), Davis (6), Jedinak (6.5), Ghazi (7.5), Green (6), Mohamady (7)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Yellow Cards: Johansen, Morrison, Brunt x2, Mings, Taylor
Red Cards: Brunt
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