Aston Villa have won eight consecutive league matches for the first time since 1975 by beating Bristol City 2-1 at Villa Park this afternoon.
The last Villa side to achieve that feat won promotion from the second tier and Dean Smith’s side will be hoping to repeat that success next month after putting down another marker in the promotion race against The Robins.
The first half produced chances for both sides although there were no goals. Bristol City could have been ahead after just two minutes had Niclas Eliasson chosen the right option on the edge of the box while Aston Villa had a penalty appeal turned down moments later when Anwar El Ghazi’s strike from the edge of the area struck visiting defender Tomas Kalas.
Matty Taylor then went close with a header for The Robins following a dangerous cross from the left from Eliasson before El Ghazi’s stinging effort was parried by Max O’Leary in the Bristol City goal and Albert Adomah could only direct the rebound against the post.
Tammy Abraham and John McGinn got in each other’s way as a big chance for the hosts went begging before the visitors had a goal disallowed for offside when Andreas Weimann headed in when being on the wrong side of the Villa defence.
Smith’s Villa were unlucky not to be ahead going into the interval when Conor Hourihane connected with an El Ghazi cross just a few yards out but O’Leary managed to pull off a wonderful instinctive save to deny the midfielder.
Aston Villa started the second period with a good tempo and were again kept at bay by visiting keeper O’Leary who made two wonderful saves in quick succession. First, the youngster palmed away a powerful strike from McGinn before he threw himself at Hourihane’s close range effort to direct the ball to safety.
The home side were awarded a penalty kick two minutes later when Hourihane was adjudged to have been pushed in the area and striker Abraham slotted away the resulting spot kick, firing the ball straight down the middle.
Villa could have been 2-0 up shortly after the hour but Hourihane’s header brushed the top of the crossbar as the ball landed on the top of the Bristol City net.
The home side did soon net their second goal when some clever work by El Ghazi played in Hourihane who struck a low effort across goal into O’Leary’s far corner.
Famara Diedhiou’s stunning overhead kick reduced the arrears for Bristol City with over 15 minutes left on the clock before Neil Taylor’s close range shot was blocked by O’Leary at the other end. Josh Brownhill then sent a vicious strike just over the bar for The Robins while Adomah went close for Villa with a shot from the edge of the box as both sides continued to use attack as the best form of defence.
Five minutes before the end, a Villa corner kick was met by the head of Jedinak before being cleared off the line by a defending Bristol City player as The Robins remained in touch with their opponents.
McGinn then wasted a great opportunity to make it three for the home side as he lashed the ball into the stand when clear on goal before O’Leary saved well from substitute Keinan Davis and McGinn in six minutes of stoppage time as the scoreline remained 2-1 to Villa.
The result sees Smith’s side remain in fifth place in the Sky Bet Championship table with four matches remaining of the regular campaign.