Matthew Dennis scored for the fourth consecutive match but couldn’t prevent our unbeaten run coming to end as we narrowly lost to Aston Villa on Saturday.
Our first opportunity came when Dennis won back possession and played the ball to Alfie Matthews, who opened up his body but curled a shot into the hands of Viljami Sinisalo.
Hubert Graczyk produced a stunning double save to keep it goalless when he dived low to his left to prevent Aaron Ramsey’s powerful effort before reacting well to save with his feet immediately after.
Villa’s pressure paid off when a routine corner was headed home at the near post by Carney Chukwemeka, who had wriggled free of his marker.
On the stroke of half-time we drew level after Catalin Cirjan and Ryan Alebiosu combined neatly to create space and feed the ball into Dennis, who took a touch and fired low into the bottom corner.
Shortly after the break, Graczyk was again at his best to deny Jaden Philogene-Bidace with a fingertip save to lift the ball on to the bar.
Moments later, Cirjan collected the ball on the edge of the box and cut inside before his curling effort was kept out by an acrobatic save by Sinisalo.
Villa retook the lead when DJ Campton-Sturridge regained possession and teed up Philogene-Bidace inside the box, and the forward skipped past a challenge and powered an effort into the roof of the net.
WHAT IT MEANS
Ken Gillard's side next face West Ham United at home on Saturday, February 1 at 11am (UK time).
By Sam Cox
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