An exquisite free-kick from Conor Hourihane rescued a point for Aston Villa in Saturday’s Championship clash at Blackburn.
Villa were trailing 1-0 deep into injury-time when they were awarded a free. Sub Hourihane took the responsibility, curling home an absolute peach to keep Villa within two points of the top six.
It was a relief at the end and a great free-kick,” Villa manager Steve Bruce said. “I thought it’d have been unjust if we’d lost the game.
Bruce conceded the 27-year-old may feel aggrieved by his lack of game-time. Bruce said: “He’s been terrific since he walked through the door and can feel harshly treated so far this season. I understand that.
Can't stop watching this strike by Conor Hourihane.— YBIG (@YouBoysInGreen) September 16, 2018
Watch the second angle 😍
What. A. Hit @ConorHourihane pic.twitter.com/dWvXcQGooU
“You can only pick 11. It’s what happens when you build a squad of players. Now, we’ve got to find a system that works best and build on it.”
Those words won’t exactly be music to Hourihane’s ears but more interventions along the lines of Saturday will certainly aid his case.
Saturday also brought joy for QPR loanee Ryan Manning, the 22-year-old scoring the winner from the penalty spot as Rotherham beat Derby 1-0, a result that lifted the Millers four points clear of the relegation zone.
Fresh from creating Ireland’s goal in the 1-1 draw against Poland, Callum O’Dowda provided another assist as Bristol City beat Sheffield United 1-0 to go third.
On a far less positive note, Eunan O’Kane is facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken leg in Luton Town’s 1-0 League One win over Bristol City. The on-loan Leeds midfielder suffered the injury just minutes after being introduced as a second half substitute.
“We are gutted for the boy,” Luton Town boss Nathan Jones said.