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Aston Villa 4-0 Derby County: Jack Grealish hits stunner on injury return

Conor Hourihane (right) scored the first goal and made the second as Villa dominated the first half
A first-half double by Conor Hourihane (right) took his Championship tally to six goals this season

Conor Hourihane grabbed a double and Jack Grealish scored a breathtaking volley on his return from injury as Aston Villa thumped a dire Derby County side to get their Championship play-off challenge back on track in style.

Hourihane started the first-half onslaught when he slotted home after Tammy Abraham's shot had been saved and Abraham slid in the second soon after.

Derby's third consecutive defeat in a four-game winless league run was as good as confirmed when Hourihane scored his second from close range.

But the away side's desperate first half got even worse when Grealish's thunderous volley found the net from 25 yards to make it 4-0.

Villa, who had gone five games without a win and managed just two league victories in 14, continued to dominate as they coasted to an 11th win in 12 against Derby, with keeper Scott Carson making several fine saves.

The Rams, who have now not scored in each of their past three matches, offered almost nothing in attack but remain in seventh place, just three points off Bristol City who drew with Preston.

Villa are six points outside the play-offs and suddenly, with the influential Grealish back, their promotion prospects look promising with 11 matches remaining.

In contrast Derby seem devoid of confidence. Having conceded after just 74 seconds in their 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest on Monday, they were again slow to start with Ashley Cole forced to clear a Hourihane volley off the line.

The respite was brief as playmaker Grealish, back in the side after three months out with a shin injury, found Abraham with a cute pass and Hourihane netted on the follow-up after Abraham's strike was saved by Carson.

Tammy Abraham celebrates his first-half goal for Aston Villa against Derby
On-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has scored 21 goals in 29 Championship appearances for Villa this season

Carson, one of six changes to Frank Lampard's side, continued to be busy behind a sloppy defence that never coped with the movement and pace of Abraham, Hourihane and the captain Grealish.

Abraham's 21st goal of the season made it 2-0 after a fine cross by Ahmed Elmohamady.

And Abraham was also involved in the third when he outmuscled Richard Keogh, ran on and slipped the ball to Hourihane, who found the net with a composed finish.

Grealish, who left the field to a standing ovation after 70 minutes, then grabbed a sensational fourth when he volleyed in a Glenn Whelan corner for the goal of the day and one of the best seen at Villa Park all season.

Abraham, Grealish and Anwar El Ghazi could all have added to the margin of victory after the break, while Derby's fans resorted to cheering when they won a second-half corner and saw their side end the match without mustering a shot on target.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith told BBC WM 95.6: "It was a really good performance. We started very well and had a big chance cleared off the line.

"We've had a few of those over recent weeks when it hasn't quite gone for us, but we scored shortly afterwards which has given everyone a lift.

"We scored some great goals and saw the game out very well. I told them I wanted a clean sheet and I thought if anyone was going to score in the second half, it would have been us.

"Jack's got great leadership qualities and he's a Villa boy so I had no qualms about making him captain today. The armband isn't a burden to him and I thought it's a good statement for the future and for him. In training he couldn't hit the target but it was a great goal he scored."

Derby boss Frank Lampard told BBC Radio Derby: "The players are a good bunch. They want to do well for this club and it was a very tough match for them as well [as the supporters]. There will be a strong words now but we have to turn it around and make it positive.

"Harry Wilson has been ill during the week. Some of the changes were forced because we are playing so many game and we are in a little patch of form where we are trying to inject something into the team. We are trying to find solutions and we didn't find them.

"In the first half we were so far below par. They were good, we made them look good and we gifted another early goal. It was a reality check of the issues we have had in recent weeks.

"We didn't perform. We were slow off the ball. We didn't have quality or personality on the ball and that happens when you are in a tough time."

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 12Steer
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 24ElphickSubstituted forTaylorat 67'minutes
  • 40Mings
  • 30HauseBooked at 60mins
  • 14HourihaneBooked at 24mins
  • 6Whelan
  • 10GrealishSubstituted forCarrollat 71'minutes
  • 37Adomah
  • 18Abraham
  • 22El GhaziSubstituted forGreenat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 11Carroll
  • 15Jedinak
  • 19Green
  • 20Bjarnason
  • 26Kodjia
  • 28L Kalinic

Derby

  • 1Carson
  • 2Wisdom
  • 6Keogh
  • 5Tomori
  • 26ColeSubstituted forMaloneat 45'minutes
  • 41Bird
  • 17EvansBooked at 23minsSubstituted forWilsonat 45'minutes
  • 11Jozefzoon
  • 23HolmesBooked at 72mins
  • 20BennettSubstituted forBogleat 55'minutes
  • 14Marriott

Substitutes

  • 7Wilson
  • 9Waghorn
  • 15Johnson
  • 21Roos
  • 37Bogle
  • 43Mitchell-Lawson
  • 46Malone
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
37,273

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamDerby
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home13
Away3
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home5
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 4, Derby County 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 4, Derby County 0.

Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andre Wisdom (Derby County).

Andre Green (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fikayo Tomori (Derby County).

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Scott Malone.

Foul by Kortney Hause (Aston Villa).

Harry Wilson (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ahmed El Mohamady (Aston Villa).

Harry Wilson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jayden Bogle (Derby County).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Andre Wisdom (Derby County) because of an injury.

Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Malone (Derby County).

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Andre Green replaces Anwar El Ghazi.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Fikayo Tomori.

Attempt blocked. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Conor Hourihane.

Attempt saved. Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Carroll.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Scott Malone.

Booking

Duane Holmes (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Duane Holmes (Derby County).

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Tom Carroll replaces Jack Grealish.

Attempt missed. Duane Holmes (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Jack Grealish.

Attempt blocked. Harry Wilson (Derby County) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jayden Bogle.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Neil Taylor replaces Tommy Elphick because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Tommy Elphick (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Harry Wilson (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Kortney Hause (Aston Villa).

Harry Wilson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Aston Villa. Tyrone Mings tries a through ball, but Tammy Abraham is caught offside.

Offside, Aston Villa. Glenn Whelan tries a through ball, but Anwar El Ghazi is caught offside.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Richard Keogh.

Attempt blocked. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Conor Hourihane.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich35209671452669
2Leeds35207859382167
3Sheff Utd34197859342564
4West Brom35179967472060
5Middlesbrough341513638241458
6Bristol City34159104436854
7Derby34149114342151
8Birmingham35121495345850
9Nottm Forest35121494740750
10Hull35148135048250
11Aston Villa35111596153848
12Preston351212115449548
13Swansea34138134542347
14Sheff Wed341211114148-747
15Brentford3412101258461246
16Stoke351014113742-544
17Blackburn351111134755-844
18QPR35126174255-1342
19Wigan3499163347-1436
20Millwall35810173853-1534
21Reading35712163751-1433
22Rotherham35615143756-1933
23Bolton3568212255-3326
24Ipswich35312202759-3221
View full Championship table

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