The second leg of this playoff tie was a very interesting game. Middlesbrough had to push for the win but Aston Villa’s stalwart defence proved too much for the North-East side and they just could not find a way through on the night.
Villa held strong and now find themselves with a game at Wembley against Fulham to look forward to. They will fancy themselves against the London team in a one-off game and it will be a fascinating battle to make it to the Premier League.
Aston Villa Player Ratings
Sam Johnstone – 6.5/10
Johnstone did not have much to do but was very lucky to stay on the pitch after handling the ball outside his area to prevent Traore from knocking the ball into the net. It was a bad decision to come for it and thankfully, he was saved by some dreadful refereeing.
James Bree – 7/10
The right-back came into the squad to replace an injured Elmohamady and did well in his role. He was solid in the air and had a couple of shots on goal when he got forward as well.
James Chester – 7/10
Chester looked solid at the back all night and was very comfortable in dealing with the threat of Assombalonga and then Bamford later on. Didn’t seem fazed by the physical presence of the strikers.
John Terry – 7.5/10
John Terry was a real leader on the pitch tonight for Villa, barking at the rest of his defence when they were out of position and forming a wall in the centre with Chester. He will be fully dedicated to getting his team through the playoff final.
Alan Hutton – 6.5/10
Not the best of games from the left-back but he used his experience well whenever Middlesbrough had set-pieces.
Mile Jedinak – 8.5/10
The defensive midfielder has been absolutely fantastic for Villa this season and him sitting in front of the back four gave them the extra stability they needed tonight to deal with any Middlesbrough threat. Was everywhere defensively.
Albert Adomah – 7/10
The left-midfielder had a couple of good shots and Bruce will be encouraged by his resurgence in the last couple of games. Will need him to be in good form for the final.
Jack Grealish – 7.5/10
Grealish always looks composed and calm on the ball, even when under pressure from the opposition. He has a calm head and the ball seems to stick to his feet. He was excellent tonight and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
Conor Hourihane – 7/10
Hourihane sat in the middle and helped the rest of his midfielders by breaking up the play. He also got forward well and had a few shots but nothing quite came off for him in the attack.
Robert Snodgrass – 7/10
Snodgrass used all of his experience in the game today. He didn’t have the best of times but won some vital free-kicks in some advanced positions to take the pressure off his team.
Lewis Grabban – 6.5/10
It wasn’t really a day for the strikers and Grabban wasn’t at his best. Had one good shot from distance but wasn’t going to beat Darren Randolph.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6/10
Kodjia came on to replace Grabban in the 79th minute to give Aston Villa some new legs up top. He chased everything but was, unfortunately, ineffective.
Glenn Whelan – 6/10
Replaced Hourihane in the 85th minute and put in some good tackles. There aren’t many better defensive midfielders in the Championship who would come on and protect a 1-0 lead.
Birkir Bjarnason – N/A
Replaced Adomah in the 91st minute.