Saturday 19 October 2019

Conor Hourihane scores one and sets up another as Aston Villa hammer Norwich

Norwich 1 Aston Villa 5

Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates
Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates

Sonia Twigg

Aston Villa's record signing Wesley struck with two early goals as his side stormed to a 5-1 Premier League win over Norwich at Carrow Road.

The visitors recorded their first away win of the season in emphatic fashion, and were ahead after just 15 minutes through Wesley.

The £22million striker has come in for criticism this season, and had just two goals from seven matches before the trip to East Anglia, but the Brazilian struck again on the half-hour mark to vitalise Villa.

He should have had a hat-trick just before half-time but his penalty - and rebound - were brilliantly saved by third-choice goalkeeper Michael McGovern on his first Premier League start.

Villa only had to wait until three minutes after the restart for their third, with captain Jack Grealish scoring his first league goal of the season, before Ireland's Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz added the gloss.

Norwich managed to break through the Villa defence in the 87th minute, with substitute Josip Drmic grabbing the consolation goal.

McGovern was called into action in the second minute of his first start in the English top-flight to deny Villa, who further threatened moments later when John McGinn curled wide of the post from outside the box.

The match started openly with opportunities for both sides. Norwich's Ben Godfrey blocked an Anwar El Ghazi shot before Marco Stiepermann had a chance at the opposite end but the German's effort sailed over the bar.

The deadlock was broken after just 15 minutes when Wesley found himself in space in the centre of the box after a ball from El Ghazi, and he expertly controlled the ball on his chest before slotting home.

Another error from Norwich in midfield gifted Villa another chance, but McGinn's effort went wide. The Canaries had their own opportunity soon after, with Tyrone Mings going to ground to deny Teemu Pukki.

In an open first half, Villa doubled their lead inside the first half an hour, with Wesley tapping home a Hourihane cross from between Norwich's centre-backs for his second of the match.

Northern Irish goalkeeper McGovern made a brilliant double save in the 39th minute to deny Wesley the chance to complete a first-half hat-trick from the penalty spot.

The 35-year-old dived low to his right to deny the spot-kick and then stood up to prevent the rebound crossing the line.

Three minutes after the restart Villa hit their third. Grealish played a clever one-two with El Ghazi before hitting the ball into the bottom corner.

Norwich's task was made all-but impossible in the 61st minute when Matt Targett won the ball back just outside the box before letting Hourihane take the shot, which he expertly struck into the goal for Villa's fourth.

The visitors did not let up as the second half progressed, with substitute Luiz scoring arguably his side's best goal of the game in the 83rd minute, a curled effort from outside the box and past the outstretched McGovern.

Norwich managed to pull one back in the closing stages when substitute Drmic pounced on a defensive error from Mings, challenged goalkeeper Tom Heaton for the ball and rolled it into the empty net.

PA Media

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