Aston Villa take narrow lead over Middlesbrough into Championship playoff second leg
Mile Jedinak’s headed goal has given Aston Villa a 1-0 lead after the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final against Middlesbrough.
The Australian international rose highest at a corner to give his side the lead with Boro largely wasteful throughout the afternoon despite enjoying most of the possession.
Adama Traore had the first shot of the match but it was straight at Villa keeper Sam Johnstone. Villa then came forward but Albert Adomah’s cross was headed clear.
Muhamed Besic then fired wide from long range after Villa failed to deal with a long throw.
Villa went ahead with their first corner of the match. Jedinak found some space and rose above the Boro defence to head into the far post.
Adomah could have doubled the lead in the 24th minute but hit the side netting before Britt Assombalonga fired wide at the other end.
Assombalonga came close to levelling before half-time but his shot from a tight angle went six inches wide of the left post. The striker then forced a good save out of Johnstone a few minutes later.
Jack Grealish was next to threaten and showed some nifty footwork to bring the ball into the area from deep but his shot was blocked by Ben Gibson.
It was nearly 2-0 before the break but Robert Snodgrass’ curler was tipped onto the post by Boro keeper Darren Randolph.
After a quiet start to the second half, Villa doing their best to nullify Boro’s threats, good work from Besic saw him combine with Fabio but no one got onto the final ball into the box and the chance was wasted.
Johnstone was called into action twice in the closing stages. First, he kept out Fabio’s header before punching another corner clear.
Five minutes of added-on time was signalled, and Fabio had another opportunity but his shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected wide.
The teams meet again at Villa Park on Tuesday evening.