Jack Grealish breaks season's duck in Villa's win over Bolton

Jack Grealish scored his first goal of the season to pave the way for Aston Villa's 2-0 Sky Bet Championship win over struggling Bolton.

Jack Grealish breaks season's duck in Villa's win over Bolton

Jack Grealish scored his first goal of the season to pave the way for Aston Villa's 2-0 Sky Bet Championship win over struggling Bolton.

Grealish, who is on England manager Gareth Southgate's radar, took the honours as Villa moved back into the top half following back-to-back defeats.

The 23-year-old netted in the fourth minute and laid on the free-kick from which skipper James Chester doubled the home side's lead in the 58th minute.

However, Bolton's worries continue - they have picked up just one point from their last six matches.

Villa started strongly and got their early rewards through Grealish, told by manager Dean Smith to operate in a more forward role and to make a bigger impact as a goalscorer.

A slick pass from Tammy Abraham set up Grealish and the young star took possession, veered to his right, side-stepped goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and slid the ball into an empty net.

Villa attacked almost at will but Bolton, who had scored only two goals in their previous eight games, slowly weathered the storm with Erhun Oztumer showing good skill to open up some attacking moves.

Oztumer had the best opportunity for a first-half equaliser but the former Walsall player was off balance and could only produce a weak left footed shot.

Skipper Chester then came to Villa's rescue when he desperately cleared a Will Buckley effort off the line as Bolton began to mount some promising attacks.

Grealish again came in for some heavy and reckless tackling by the visitors - and only a diving save by Alnwick prevented him doubling Villa's advantage.

Chester was on hand to head home a Conor Hourihane free-kick but the Welsh international was ruled offside, while Abraham missed a gloriously scoring opportunity in the first minute of the second period.

However, Villa lived dangerously and only an outstretched foot by goalkeeper Orjan Nyland prevented Craig Noone levelling for the visitors.

The hosts continued to live dangerously - but Chester gave them breathing space in the 58th minute when he forced home a Grealish free-kick.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox