Cool Kod­jia keeps Parky wait­ing

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Robert Do­man

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

STICK IT TO ’EM: As­ton Villa’s Jonathan wheels away after con­vert­ing from the penalty spot to leave Bolton win­less still

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