• Home
  • /
  • Football
  • /
  • Conor Hourihane's Reception From Villa Fans Last Night Said It All

Conor Hourihane's Reception From Villa Fans Last Night Said It All

Conor Hourihane's Reception From Villa Fans Last Night Said It All
By Michael McCarthy
Share this article

As the seconds counted down at Villa Park last night, Dean Smith made his only substitution of the night. Aston Villa had stemmed the Newcastle tide and were comfortably seeing out a 2-0 win. Only then did the manager feel comfortable changing things up. Conor Hourihane was the man to make way. Villa Park stood and cheered as one. It was a hero's reception worthy of a magical performance.

Hourihane has had an up and down relationship with Villa fans since signing from Barnsley in 2017. On his off days, there is palpable frustration around the ground. When he's on his game, he causes chaos in defence and  makes Villa a very dangerous team. Last night, along with Jack Grealish, he was running the show.

Even this season, Hourihane has been an inconsistent frustration. The frustration stems from knowing what he can do. Villa's best performance of the season was a 5-1 win over Norwich City at Villa Park. Hourihane scored that day, set up another, and won a missed penalty. He ran the show in midfield, linking with Grealish on the left in particular in a combination that can be tantalising on its day. Since then though, the Cork man has lost his place in the side, only coming back in last night as a surprise replacement for Marvelous Nakamba.

Hourihane's "wand of a left foot" is never in question and it was what did the damage to Newcastle. His all round play last night matched his set piece prominence which induced terror as usual. Both Villa goals came from his bit of genius. The free kick from the edge of the box set Villa on their way. It looked so simple but to whip around a wall and into the net from such a short distance was no easy feat. Most wouldn't even try it.

Advertisement
Recommended

Four minutes later, his free kick from a slightly wider position was arguably more impressive. His cross was inch perfect. Newcastle's defenders didn't have a clue how to handle it . Ultimately, any one of two Villa players could have had a tap in.

It wasn't just the two goals though. Another unplayable ball should have sealed the game late on but Villa's striker Wesley missed a sitter. Deeper too, Hourihane was outstanding, providing a constant option in midfield and consistently playing the right ball, be it simple or more inventive. The Holte End faithful will have also been delighted to see the Irish international win a free in his own box late on, bravely getting his head on the ball in a crowded area, dispelling another concern often pointed at the midfielder.

In the end, Sky Sports' Andy Hinchcliffe opted for the omnipresent Grealish as his man of the match. In truth, Villa won the game because of Hourihane. Mick McCarthy will hope this is the start of a consistent run. Ireland certainly need the Cork man on this form come March.

Advertisement

 

SEE ALSO: David McGoldrick's Role In Mousset Goal Epitomises His Value On The Pitch

 

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com

Advertisement