Al­most a Terry-ble evening for Bruce

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By JOHN RICHARD­SON

IT may be time for Steve Bruce to send an­other SOS to John Terry as the As­ton Villa boss once again found him­self in the fir­ing line.

Bruce was al­ready un­der the cosh as far as some fans were con­cerned fol­low­ing a 4-1 ham­mer­ing at Sh­effield United a fort­night ago.

And he was forced to suf­fer chants of, “We Want Bruce Out” by some of the 4,000 trav­el­ling Villa fans.

But a bril­liant free-kick from sub­sti­tute Conor Houri­hane in added time at least gave Bruce some breath­ing space.

With Villa in dire straits they were awarded a free-kick just out­side the box which Houri­hane curled around the wall and past keeper David Raya.

But noth­ing less than a pro­mo­tion charge will be ac­cepted this sea­son with the club un­der new own­er­ship – which means ex­pec­ta­tions are sky high.

Af­ter the Bra­mall Lane bat­ter­ing and with Terry’s move to Moscow falling through, Bruce ad­mit­ted he would have the de­fender who spent last sea­son at Villa Park “back in a heart­beat”.

Wages of £60,000 a week have been the stum­bling block but the mes­sage came over loud and clear at Ewood Park fol­low­ing this lat­est de­feat – pay up for the for­mer Chelsea man.

Villa’s re­shaped de­fence had lived dan­ger­ously and they were fi­nally pun­ished 14 min­utes from time when in a hec­tic goal­mouth scram­ble Bradley Dack cel­e­brated his re­turn to the side af­ter in­jury with a clever back-heel from Danny Graham’s shot.

Villa were also left rue­ing missed chances from on-loan striker Tammy Abra­ham.

Af­ter dom­i­nat­ing from the kick off they sud­denly found them­selves on the back foot as Char­lie Mul­grew pumped in a cross and Corry Evans headed down­wards only for keeper Or­jan Ny­land to scram­ble the ball off the line.

Bruce then ex­pe­ri­enced emo­tions of ela­tion and frus­tra­tion in quick suc­ces­sion. A Dack header from a Mul­grew cross was dis­al­lowed for off­side but when John McGinn went tum­bling, Villa’s strong penalty ap­peals were in vain.

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