Aston Villa scored three goals in nine second-half minutes to pick up a 3-0 win over Everton, with Leon Bailey emerging as our star man.
It was a hard-fought encounter between the two sides for the opening hour, as both created chances but lacked that clinical edge and quality in the final third to find a breakthrough.
Villa eventually found a way as Matty Cash fired home the opener, while Bailey’s corner was flicked in off Lucas Digne’s head to double our lead before the Jamaican international drilled home his first goal for the club soon after to make it 3-0.
It was an electric nine minutes that decided the game, and Villa will be delighted with the result and three points as we move up the table and hope to now put a good run of form together.
Dean Smith changes game with key substitution
While it was one of the changes that most, if not all, Villa fans were hoping to see, Smith got it spot on in terms of the timing of introducing Bailey to the game.
Everton were enjoying a good spell just before our first goal, but immediately after coming on, the Jamaican winger showed his threat with a mazy run down the left flank to give the visitors something new to think about.
Within minutes he had killed the game off, and Smith continued to manage the encounter well after that to see us through. Credit to the Villa boss.
Tyrone Mings responds like a leader
After his mistake at Chelsea, the Villa captain received his fair share of criticism, and so he may well have been feeling a bit of pressure going into this game.
However, he responded like a top player and a captain with a commanding performance defensively and also offered a real threat in the opposition box too.
It’s hoped that he can cut out the mistakes, but as Smith said in midweek, Mings saves us a lot more that he does in terms of costing us and this was a high-class performance.
Delight for Matty Cash
What a way to score his first goal for Villa. In front of the Holte End, a stunning finish with his left foot to spark us towards a win.
It couldn’t have gone any better for Cash and his post-match interview was a delight to watch as he couldn’t stop smiling and clearly loved every minute.
It’s hoped that he can add that to his game more regularly now, especially if we play with a 3-5-2 more often, as his importance in the attacking phase will grow.
Leon Bailey sparks Villa into life
A brilliant way to properly introduce himself to the Villa faithful. We’ve seen glimpses of Bailey’s class in cameo appearances so far this season due to injury, and this didn’t last much longer as he picked up a knock.
Nevertheless, from his immediate intent and positive running to the delivery for our second goal and thumping finish for his first for the club, it was a sensational impact off the bench from the Jamaican international.
It gave us a look at what he’s capable of delivering in this side, and it’s hoped that he can now stay healthy and get regular minutes under his belt to become a leading figure in the team.
Catalyst to kick-start our season?
From our disrupted pre-season schedule to injuries, fitness and Covid-related issues denying Smith the chance to have a fully-fit squad at his disposal thus far, it has been a difficult start to the Premier League campaign.
Finally though, the Villa boss had an almost complete group to select from, and the ability to change system and bring players off the bench to turn the game in our favour is something he has spoken about in recent weeks.
That nine-minute spell can hopefully now act as a spark for our season to see us really kick on and find our best form. With the players we have and the depth in the squad, we can cause any side problems.