I’ve seen Villa mocked a bit for their celebrations following the dramatic shootout victory at The Hawthorns. But when you think of all that’s happened, all that the players and supporters have been through, you can’t begrudge them one bit. It was a feat worth celebrating. A moment worth cherishing. No, we didn’t win any silverware, didn’t claim promotion. But what we did celebrate on the night was long overdue.
It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but Aston Villa found a way through Albion’s bus-park to gain a critical 2-1 advantage in leg one of the playoff semifinal. Another fightback, and a return to winning ways in a game that counted. This team doesn’t have much quit in it. In days past, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see Villa walk away on the wrong end of an 0-1 scoreline.
Here we are again, three games between another season in the Championship or a return to the big stage. And if Villa want it enough and go play like it, I’d not bet against them.
And then there were five. With 41 played, sixth-placed Bristol City come to Villa Park in a big late-season clash for both clubs. Do Villa keep on winning? Is it time for the bubble to burst?
Six left, and the one up tonight is a real banana-skin. Rotherham, bang in the middle of the relegation fight, are not going to roll over meekly, and certainly not at home. And Villa, sitting sixth, have little room for error. Which is a bit harsh after six wins in a row. But that’s how it is when you go on a late run.