Aston Villa 2 Birmingham City 0: Grealish stars as Bruce's men go second
Aston Villa climbed into second place in the Championship with a 2-0 home derby victory over Birmingham City.
Albert Adomah opened the scoring before Conor Hourihane added a stunning second, while Jack Grealish was the star of the game, as Steve Bruce's side extended their unbeaten run against their city rivals to 12 league matches.
In-form Villa have now won seven league games in a row for the first time since February 1990 and are a point above Derby County in the second automatic promotion spot.
The home side were the stronger for the majority of the match and were unlucky not to take the lead 17 minutes in, when Scott Hogan fired a half-volley off the crossbar.
Birmingham, just two points outside the bottom three, rarely threatened but they did miss a clear chance to snatch a goal before half-time, with Sam Gallagher firing a shot off the inside of the left-hand post before slicing the rebound over.
It was Adomah who made Villa's dominance count on the hour mark, rifling home off the woodwork after a fine pass from the excellent Grealish sent him into the penalty area.
Hourihane's looping strike from outside the box made the win safe with nine minutes left, as Villa gave their hopes of promotion back to the Premier League a major boost, while Birmingham's frustrations were compounded when Cheikh Ndoye picked up a second yellow card following an injury-time scuffle with John Terry.