Cool Kodjia keeps Parky waiting
JONATHAN KODJIA’S first goal of the season cemented a fourth straight league win for Aston Villa as Steve Bruce’s side piled more misery on winless Bolton.
Kodjia struck the game’s only goal from the penalty spot having been sent sprawling just moments after spurning a glorious chance to give Villa the lead.
But redemption was sweet for the striker as the Villans held on for the points, despite a straight red card for Neil Taylor which sparked a late Wanderers rally.
“It was a difficult afternoon and Bolton are fighting for their lives,” Bruce said. “The game was ugly but thankfully we had enough quality to win, although without Christopher Samba’s heroics at the end it could have been different.
“Jonathan Kodjia did well to put away the penalty after his miss but I don’t think Neil Taylor deserved to be sent off. The game was littered with fouls like that. We will appeal his red card.
“After an awful start to the season we’ve given ourselves a good platform to be where we want to be, but we still have a lot to do.”
Sammy Ameobi had the game’s opening effort on nine minutes, a low stinging 25-yard drive gathered by Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone at the second attempt.
And Bolton’s Mark Little struck a rising effort over the bar before Conor Hourihane volleyed wide at the other end.
Jem Karacan undid his own good work when he selfishly shot wide of the Vila upright as his Bolton team-mates flooded forward in attack.
And a tremendous Mark Howard save thwarted Kodjia who wasted a clear opportunity in the 37th minute with just the keeper to beat.
He made amends just two minutes later however, slotting home from the penalty spot after being felled by Mark Beevers as the Trotters failed to clear the resulting corner.
Adam Armstrong’s weak effort was easily saved by Johnstone as Bolton tried to peg back their hosts just before the break, with Darren Pratley fairing likewise eight minutes into the second half.
Kodjia went close to adding his second for Villa when he guided the ball just wide of the Wanderers goal from James Chester’s neat 70th-minute free-kick.
Robert Snodgrass was then denied by a smart Howard save as the Bolton stopper palmed the ball away from his near post.
Hourihane also failed to add to Villa’s solitary goal when he stroked an injury-time set-piece over the Bolton crossbar before Taylor’s mistimed challenge saw him receive a straight red card.
And Samba added to the late drama when he cleared Gary Madine’s shot off the Villa line in the dying seconds to leave Bolton boss Phil Parkinson hurting. “We definitely deserved something from the game because we put in a really good performance and we were unlucky to come away with nothing,” Parkinson said. “We had some good chances right up until the last minute.
“But the linesman has cost us because there was an offside in the build-up to the penalty. Everyone in the ground saw it.
“We’re doing everything we can to get our first win and you can see that on the pitch.
“There is great honesty in the players and at the moment they are hurting like me, but we have to turn our good performances into results.”
STICK IT TO ’EM: Aston Villa’s Jonathan wheels away after converting from the penalty spot to leave Bolton winless still