Sky Bet Championship 2016/17: 5 things we’ve learnt from Matchday 15
The Championship was up to its usual tricks once again this weekend during Match-Day 15. With late goals, convincing wins and a few surprise results along the way. However, with no more managerial sackings to report on, it’s nice just to be able to concentrate on the football for at least a week!
Villa manager Steve Bruce locked horns with one of his old clubs, Birmingham City, resulting in a captivating Midlands Derby. Elsewhere there was yet another victory for Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United, this time on the road.
2 candidates for promotion during the early part of the season were put to the sword by other Premier League hopefuls this weekend. Plus, bottom club Rotherham United managed to stop the rot, but it could have been so much better….
#1 None capture the Midlands
It was a stalemate in England’s ‘Second City Derby’ but the action was far from stale. The added spice between the 2 rival clubs and Steve Bruce returning to St Andrews after 9 years away meant that the match was played at a frenetic pace.
It was Villa who started the brighter and were in front after 29 minutes, when boyhood Villa fan, Gary Gardner headed in brilliantly. His celebration was also superb, running the length of the field to celebrate with almost 2,000 away fans!
Unfortunately for Gardner and his fellow Villa fans their celebrations were cut short when on 71 minutes Blues midfielder David Davis hammered home a right-footed shot to bring them level. That’s the way it stayed and it looked like both managers were happy with a point.
Bruce acknowledged the effort from Birmingham, but also praised his own side and what they’ve shown so far during his tenure:
"It was a typical ferocious derby game, but it was a fair result. We showed a sort of resilience.
"Gary's got a very decent Championship side here, a bit similar to the Birmingham side I had here. They're up and at you, and that's why they're up at the top end.
"Wherever we go, we're Aston Villa and people want to turn us over because of who we are and what we are. I'm proud of the way we performed and got a result."