The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

AS­TON VILLA man­ager Steve Bruce be­lieves he has si­lenced some of his crit­ics as his side pro­duced a dom­i­nant away per­for­mance to see off Barnsley.

Three suc­ces­sive draws meant the knives were out for the Villa boss, but they never looked in any dan­ger against a tooth­less Barnsley side.

Bruce said: “We’ve been threat­en­ing it and haven’t been able to get the re­sults, but you hope that it’s the lift-off.

“I’ve been say­ing all along that we’ve got a de­cent side and just pa­tience is needed some­times, but ob­vi­ously a re­sult like that helps the cause.

“I think that’s us un­beaten in six and three clean sheets on the spin, and there’s a cri­sis!

“Let’s hope that shuts peo­ple up for a lit­tle while, any­way. We’ll go into the next game and let’s hope the mass hys­te­ria calms it­self down.”

Villa were on the front foot from the mo­ment they were gifted the open­ing goal, with Adam Davies bodg­ing the rou­tine take of a ball over the top and al­low­ing Al­bert Adomah to tap into an empty net.

Barnsley’s two best chances came and went, both in the 32nd minute, and a lack of de­ci­sive­ness proved costly on both oc­ca­sions: Matty Pear­son and Liam Lind­say both went for the same header from a cor­ner.

Tom Brad­shaw then al­lowed a cross to run for Har­vey Barnes when he may have been bet­ter off tak­ing it on him­self.

Adomah bagged his se­cond goal on 44 min­utes, con­vert­ing from the spot af­ter Adam Jack­son’s foul. The de­fender did get some con­tact on the ball in his chal­lenge on Keinan Davis, but it was so slight that ref­eree Si­mon Hooper’s de­ci­sion to point to the spot was un­der­stand­able.

Jonathan Kodjia man­aged to get the ball in the net on his re­turn from five months out with a bro­ken an­kle, but his 48thminute run was flagged for off­side well be­fore he got his shot away.

His strike part­ner Davis went one bet­ter seven min­utes later.

The 19-year-old rose to meet Ahmed El­mo­hamady’s per­fect cross with a header pow­er­ful enough to beat Davies de­spite the Barnsley keeper get­ting a de­cent-look­ing hand to it – his first se­nior goal.

It was no less than he de­served, with Bruce say­ing: “He can only get bet­ter. He’s only been at the club a year, and fair play to him, he’s forced his way through and I thought he was ex­cel­lent. He led the line fan­tas­ti­cally well.”

Sub­sti­tute Ike Ugbo did make a man­ful ef­fort to claw back a con­so­la­tion for Barnsley, who looked like they knew they were beaten from the mo­ment the first goal went in, but his best ef­fort three min­utes from time drifted well wide of the goal. Barnsley boss Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom said: “Some games get you an­gry, some games puz­zle you, some games make you happy, you feel sat­is­fied, re­warded.

“That one’s just easy to sum up: we did lots of things good, con­ceded poor goals, and didn’t re­ally look a goal threat.

“We had good play right up un­til the fi­nal bit but Villa de­fended well and took their goals well.

“We don’t take any points out of this game but there’s lots of lessons and lots of things we al­ways speak about.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

TEEN TER­ROR: As­ton Villa’s Keinan Davis wheels away af­ter scor­ing their third and, inset, Al­bert Adomah gets the first

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