McGinn magic masterminds Villa return27 May 2019
After three long years in the Championship and a loss at the same stage last season, Aston Villa have returned to the Premier League after a glorious 2-1 playoff win at Wembley. Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn gave the Clarets a victory and a day they will cherish for years to come.
Their opponents were Frank Lampard’s Derby County, who put up a profound portrayal of resilience when 2-0 down.
But the Rams sadly didn’t have enough time to pull back a second and an equaliser after Martyn Waghorn’s laces flicked in Jack Marriott’s shot.
Smith’s side took charge and dominated play early on with neither side creating much in the first half an hour.
Axel Tuanzebe, on loan from Manchester United, had an airshot from seven yards yielding the closest effort of the first 44 minutes. Chelsea loanee Mason Mount also forced a tame save from Jed Steer.
With the first half embers wallowing, an Ahmed Elmohamady cross was met by the back of Anwar El Ghazi, sending the Villa fans into utter raptures. What a perfect time to score.
The ex-Ajax winger has been in excellent form for Villa this season, scoring five goals in 28 matches.
County ‘keeper Kelle Roos was questionable for the first goal in terms of positioning, but his error was even clearer to see within Villa’s second.
After yet another lofted cross (a trademark of Smith’s Villa), Roos failed to claim a cross seemingly perpendicular to him, leading to McGinn nodding home.
A disastrous day for the Dutchman.
A notable mention for the Scotsman, who covered every blade of the hallowed Wembley turf and has settled into English football with utter aplomb this season.
Frank Lampard sent on Florian Josefzoon, Martyn Waghorn and Jack Marriott to pile pressure on in the final 20 minutes, with the second and latter combining for the Rams’ reply.
Jayden Bogle’s cross dropped at Marriott’s feet, and the ex-Peterborough man fired home, brushing Waghorn’s shoelace and enough to give Derby hope.
However it wasn’t to be for them and Villa join Norwich and Sheffield United in the top flight. Commiserations to Lampard and the Rams but they will, for sure, be back next year.