Championship
Aston VillaAston Villa1BirminghamBirmingham City0

Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham City

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at Villa Park
Gabby Agbonlahor
Gabby Agbonlahor turned in Villa's winner following a goalmouth scramble at a corner

Gabby Agbonlahor scored his first goal in 14 months as Aston Villa ruined Harry Redknapp's first game in charge of Birmingham City by winning the Second City derby at Villa Park.

Agbonlahor turned sharply in the six-yard box to score a 68th-minute winner after Blues failed to clear a corner.

The visitors wasted their best chance when Che Adams volleyed over from the same spot in the first half.

Blues are only two points above the Championship relegation zone.

Their survival hopes now depend on getting results from their final two matches, at home to Huddersfield on Saturday and then at Bristol City on 7 May.

But if Blackburn, the team below them in 22nd, fail to get more than one point from their final two games and Wigan do not win both of their remaining two games, Blues would be safe anyway.

Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp succeeded Gianfranco Zola as Birmingham manager on Tuesday

Villa's sixth win in their last seven home league games lifted them to 12th, still within reach of their only realistic target left this season - a top-10 finish.

But, on a day which started with Villa fans remembering one old favourite, Ugo Ehiogu, it was Agbonlahor who ended it with the accolades.

After a well-observed minute's applause in honour of former Villa and England centre-back Ehiogu, who died on Friday aged 44, the first half was almost totally devoid of incident.

The only real chance was Adams' close-range left-footed volley, hooked over the bar from Lukas Jutkiewicz's left-wing cross.

The second half was not a great deal better, but that all changed when Agbonlahor entered the fray on 59 minutes.

Agbonlahor settles the derby

Within three minutes of his arrival, Agbonlahor had lifted the crowd, getting booked after clashing with Ryan Shotton, who was also shown a yellow card, and six minutes later he had scored.

The 30-year-old striker looked to have kicked his last ball for Villa before Bruce's appointment as manager in October.

Before scoring in one of Villa's rare Premier League wins last season, against Norwich in February 2016, he had not netted in 11 months.

But he does know how to score in derby games, having now found the net against Blues five times, the first of them in Bruce's final game in charge of Blues in November 2007.

Bruce brought him back from the cold in the autumn to come off the bench when the two sides drew 1-1 at St Andrew's.

He was then kept out for three months with a hamstring injury. But, in his first game back, Agbonlahor kept his cool to clinch a local derby success for Villa.

Reaction

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce told BBC Sport:

"It was the worst game of the season. The ball must have been screaming at one point, saying 'please don't bash me again'.

"We're still not remotely near the finished article. I've got a busy summer ahead, with a huge clear-out job to continue.

"But at least the fans have not only won a derby, they've seen the effort their team has put in. We've taken away the stigma that they don't care.

"If anyone can keep Blues up, Harry will. He had them playing like their lives depended on it and they've got to take that into their last two games."

On tributes to Ehiogu:

"We talk about the importance of winning football matches but it pales into insignificance and is put into perspective when you remember someone like Ugo.

"Our thoughts remain with his family, his wife and especially his kids, who have lost their dad at the age of just 44.

"Both sets of fans gave him a great tribute, but that was just what I expected."

Birmingham City manager Harry Redknapp told BBC Sport:

"They've not had a shot in the second half - apart from the goal. It's the only one they've had. Our keeper didn't even get his gloves dirty.

"You can't say Villa were good. If that's the best they can do, Steve's clearly got a lot of work to do.

"They (Birmingham under Gianfranco Zola) had won two out of 24. When you look at that record, it scares you to death. Confidence has been low but the lads showed good attitude and responded well.

"We could not have worked any harder. We just didn't get the break. It won't be easy against Huddersfield, but we've got every chance if we keep playing like that."

Tributes to Ehiogu

Ugo Ehiogu tributes
Both clubs honoured Ehiogu, who played more than 300 games in nine years with Aston Villa, with a minute's applause before kick-off
Ugo Ehiogu tributes
Supporters left floral tributes outside Villa Park before the local derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham
Ugo Ehiogu tributes
Ehiogu played in Aston Villa's 1996 League Cup final victory over Leeds at Wembley

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 34Johnstone
  • 21Hutton
  • 12Chester
  • 2Baker
  • 3Taylor
  • 5Lansbury
  • 25Jedinak
  • 7Bacuna
  • 37AdomahSubstituted forGardnerat 76'minutes
  • 9HoganSubstituted forHourihaneat 83'minutes
  • 40GrealishSubstituted forAgbonlahorat 59'minutesBooked at 62mins

Substitutes

  • 6Elphick
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 14Hourihane
  • 16Bree
  • 22Gardner
  • 23Amavi
  • 31Bunn

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 2Nsue
  • 5ShottonBooked at 62mins
  • 4RobinsonBooked at 90mins
  • 3Grounds
  • 6KieftenbeldSubstituted forKeitaat 89'minutes
  • 12Gardner
  • 14Adams
  • 26Davis
  • 19MaghomaSubstituted forStewartat 85'minutes
  • 15Jutkiewicz

Substitutes

  • 1Legzdins
  • 7Tesche
  • 8Gleeson
  • 20Stewart
  • 25Cogley
  • 31Bielik
  • 33Keita
Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
40,884

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home4
Away6
Shots on Target
Home1
Away1
Corners
Home1
Away3
Fouls
Home15
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Birmingham City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Birmingham City 0.

  3. Booking

    Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

  5. Post update

    Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. David Davis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Greg Stewart (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Birmingham City. Cheick Keita replaces Maikel Kieftenbeld.

  9. Post update

    Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa).

  11. Post update

    Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

  12. Post update

    Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Birmingham City. Greg Stewart replaces Jacques Maghoma.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Birmingham City. Paul Robinson tries a through ball, but Lukas Jutkiewicz is caught offside.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Conor Hourihane replaces Scott Hogan.

  16. Post update

    Hand ball by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

  17. Post update

    Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

  19. Post update

    Foul by Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa).

  20. Post update

    Che Adams (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brighton44288873383592
2Newcastle432671076393785
3Reading44247136362179
4Sheff Wed442391258431578
5Huddersfield43246135553278
6Fulham4421131082552776
7Leeds442271557431473
8Norwich441991678661266
9Brentford441891773611263
10Derby441712155048263
11Preston431613146257561
12Aston Villa441613154646061
13Cardiff441611175759-259
14Barnsley441512176363057
15Wolves431510185254-255
16Ipswich441316154854-655
17Bristol City44149215965-651
18Burton441312194658-1251
19QPR44148225062-1250
20Nottm Forest44139225970-1148
21Birmingham441114194264-2247
22Blackburn441015194964-1545
23Wigan441011233955-1641
24Rotherham4456333896-5821
View full Championship table

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