MINI MATCH REPORT

Scott Hogan bagged his second goal in as many games to keep Aston Villa in the promotion mix.

The striker hit the match-winner in the 18th-minute and Villa were largely untroubled after that.

Aitor Karanka tried to rally his Nottingham Forest side on his first game in charge but it was all in vain.

In truth the winning margin could have been even greater.

John Terry rattled the crossbar in the first-half, Jack Grealish curled inches wide after the break and man-of-the-match Robert Snodgrass was also denied by goalkeeper Jordan Smith.

There was a late scare in the dying moments when Sam Johnstone saved well from Kieran Dowell but the win was never in danger.

WHAT THE BOSS SAID

Villa boss Steve Bruce: "We looked very confident at Forest and we were very confident at Middlesbrough a couple of weeks ago.

"But you know, I've been in it long enough with the Championship.

"It rears its ugly head if you think you've mastered it.

"We'll not get carried away, we've done well.

"We're in the thick of it, thats the most important thing with 19 games to go.

"We've got a couple of home games now, so can we capitalise on that?"

HOW THE VILLA FANS REACTED

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Nathan-Levi Simpson: Thor impressed me. Did Whelan's job and is much more mobile too! It's good that players are now standing up to be counted rather than coasting along like previous years. Delighted for Hogan as well and snodgrass is showing his class! UTV

Ben Hipkiss: Just worry about 3 points, that’s all that counts. Win every league game, however we manage it. Remember the last time we were promoted? Not necessarily spectacular, just get the job done. We need to get promoted by hook or by crook. End of.

Andy Easter: Always take 3 points, but the competition is winning convincingly. We’re just staying in touch.

"We aren’t turning out consistently good performances. I’d love to be proved wrong by Bruce but with the squad and resources we have we shouldn’t be chasing the likes of Derby and Cardiff for second!

Phil Styles: Great control of the game. Snoddy was quality and clear MoM. Best player on the pitch by a way.

Got to say it’s a shame Bjarnasson is being linked away as well because he’s finally starting to show some quality.

Came on at a difficult time in a key position and showed real composure and I also thought he was one of the few positives vs Peterborough.

OPPOSITION VIEW

Forest boss Aitor Karanka: "Obviously we have to improve but there were some positive signs tonight.

"It was the first game for me and I knew there were a lot of expectations following the Arsenal game but today we came up against a very solid and experienced Villa team.

"We have a lot of potential up front but we have a young squad who need to improve. The quality we have in the side is very good but we need to be more aggressive, more intense and more organised.

"We haven't had the time to prepare the game as we would like but now we have a whole week to get ready for Wolves. They're a young group so we have to keep encouraging them and supporting them as they look to improve."

ANALYSIS

Could this be Scott Hogan’s year?

You wait eight months to score a Championship goal and then you fire in two in a fortnight!

But what’s maybe even more surprising is the fact that both of Hogan’s goals in 2018 have been with his head.

The striker is used to scoring goals inside the box. He’s got that poacher’s instinct.

But even he would have been surprised to tuck two away without using his feet!

When Robert Snodgrass puts it on a plate like he did here, it’s hard to miss, though.

A fortnight ago it was Albert Adomah who set him up and tonight it was the Scot.

I’m sure if that kind of service continues, Hogan will thrive and add to his tally.

The two goals he’s already scored this season have left him full of confidence, and even he admitted he had to ‘look in the mirror’ at himself when it wasn’t going so well before the turn of the year.

NEXT OPPONENTS

Paul Heckingbottom head coach of Barnsley

Fixture: Aston Villa v Barnsley, Championship, Villa Park, 3pm Saturday, January 20.

Villa beat Barnsley 3-0 in the reverse fixture and will be hoping to continue their push for promotion against the Tykes.

Paul Heckingbottom's men will visit Villa Park in confident mood having stifled leaders Wolves in a 0-0 draw at Oakwell.

"It's a good point. I enjoyed it. It was high-intensity, competitive and good football," said Heckingbottom.

"Both teams were good at defending, organisation and discipline."

Barnsley are three points clear of the Championship relegation zone with 27 points from 27 matches.