Aston Villa beat Nottingham Forest at The City Ground to move to within two points of a play-off place.
When these two sides meet you are guaranteed goals, and this game didn’t disappoint. Forest took the lead with just three minutes on the clock when Joe Lolley made a scintillating run through Villa’s midfield, played it wide to Jack Colback, whose cross soared over Jed Steer and into the back of the net.
Villa, to their credit, didn’t let their heads drop and they were back on level terms just 4 minutes later when John McGinn beat Costel Pantilimon at his near post. The away side then took the lead 8 minutes later when McGinn beat Pantilimon again with a speculative shot from around 25 yards.
Strangely, there were no goals for the rest of the half and Villa went in at the break with a one goal lead.
Forest started the second-half brightly and looked the more likely to score, but, against the run of play, Villa double their lead in the 61st minute when Kourtney Hause tapped home a brilliant cross from Conor Hourihane.
The home side tried their best to get into the contest, but they were met by some resolute Villa defence.
Here are our Villa player ratings for tonight’s game against Nottingham Forest:
GK: Jed Steer - 5.5
Was caught off guard for Forest’s goals and didn’t have another save of note to make for the rest of the game. He made a couple of fine punched clearances to ease the pressure on his defenders.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady - 7
Defended extremely well throughout the match and provided the assist for John McGinn’s first goal.
CB: Tyrone Mings - 8.5
What a defender Tyrone Mings is. He has been an absolute beast for Villa in every game he has played and today was no different. He won everything in the air and made a number of vital blocks and interceptions.
CB: Kourtney Hause - 8
Hause was solid for most of the game, but a lapse in concentration led to him picking up a yellow card and conceding a free-kick in a dangerous position. Scored his first goal for the club to seal all three points.
LB: Neil Taylor - 6
He was tight and disciplined throughout the game and did the job that was asked of him.
RM: Andre Green - 5
Played the whole game, but he went missing for large portions of it if we are being honest. When he got involved, he did cause a few problems for Forest’s defence.
CM: Conor Hourihane - 7
Played a more defensive role today and did it well. His cross for the third goal was absolutely sublime.
CM: John McGinn - 9
Scored two great goals in the first 15 minutes and put himself all the field throughout the whole game. When Villa lost the ball, the first man there trying to win it back was often McGinn.
CM: Jack Grealish - 7
Picked out great passes, put some teasing balls into the box and looked to cause problems whenever he had the ball. He won the free-kick that led to Villa’s third goal.
LM: Anwar El Ghazi - 4
Struggled to get into the game and had to go off after the hour mark when he landed awkwardly on his arm.
ST: Tammy Abraham - 4.5
Missed a couple of chances that he will know he ought to have done better with and he didn’t hold the ball up particularly well either. With 21 goals this season, we will allow him an off day though.
SUB: Albert Adomah - 4.5
Came on for El Ghazi just after the hour mark, but he couldn’t make much of an impact on the game either.
SUB: Jonatha Kodjia - 4.5
Came on for the final 20 minutes or so and missed a glorious opportunity to score.
SUB: Glenn Whelan - N/A
Came on with just 3 minutes of normal time left to play.