2017/18 English League Championship, 2017/2018 English League Championship
  • Conor Hourihane (22', 68', 85')
  • Andre Green (42')
  • Josh Murphy (60')
  • Nélson Oliveira (79')

Conor Hourihane hits hat-trick as Villa secure first win at expense of Norwich

Conor Hourihane netted a hat-trick as Aston Villa answered their critics in style with a scintillating 4-2 home triumph over Norwich.
Keinan Davis made a sparkling first-team debut up front, and was involved in Villa's two first-half goals - scored by Hourihane and Andre Green.
The Canaries hit back with a 60th-minute strike from Josh Murphy, but Hourihane bagged his second eight minutes later and, although Norwich stormed back through Nelson Oliveira's strike on 79 minutes, Hourihane made sure of Villa's first Sky Bet Championship win of the season by completing his hat-trick five minutes from time.
Villa boss Steve Bruce, putting his faith in youngsters to lift the midlands club out of the doldrums, drafted in Davis, who has made rapid strides since arriving from Biddleswade United last year, and fellow 19-year-old Green in an attempt to find some goalscoring flair that has been lacking so far this term.
Davis quickly stamped his mark on the game and very nearly made a dream start but was foiled by Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn after going through on his own in the second minute.
Davis could not be subdued, though, and in the 20th minute he sent Hourihane clear down the left. The Irishman's low cross just evaded Ahmed Elmohamady at the far post.
The response from Norwich was some penetrating play from Murphy which had Villa's defence in a tangle but the sparkling Davis could not be constrained.
His speed, enthusiasm and no small measure of skill was evident when Villa went ahead in the 22nd minute.
On-loan Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah put Davis clear down the right and his snappy low cross to the unmarked Hourihane was slotted home from 10 yards.
Norwich's best chance of a first-half equaliser arrived when Cameron Jerome raced clear but he was thwarted by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone racing 10 yards outside his area to tackle the striker.
Three minutes before the interval Villa Park erupted when Green increased Villa's lead with a speculative long-range shot which whistled into the top of the net. Once again it was Davis who set up Henri Lansbury, who fed the ball into the path of Green.
Norwich brought the game back to the boil on the hour with a goal from Murphy - their fifth successive goal this season scored in the second half.
But Villa restored their two-goal cushion when Hourihane's shot was deflected into the net by Harrison Reed.
Canaries substitute Oliveira again gave the Canaries hope by reducing the deficit 11 minutes from the end, but a revitalised Hourihane netted his third goal with a 20-yard raking drive six minutes later.

English League Championship Standings

1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 +24 48
2 Cardiff City 21 +16 44
3 Bristol City 21 +12 40
4 Derby County 21 +12 38
5 Aston Villa 21 +11 37
6 Sheffield United 21 +8 37
7 Leeds United 21 +7 33
8 Middlesbrough 21 +7 32
9 Ipswich Town 21 +3 32
10 Preston North End 21 +3 32
11 Nottingham Forest 21 -4 30
12 Fulham 21 0 29
13 Brentford 21 +3 27
14 Reading 21 +2 27
15 Sheffield Wednesday 21 0 27
16 Norwich City 21 -6 27
17 Millwall 21 +1 23
18 Hull City 21 -2 22
19 Queens Park Rangers 21 -9 22
20 Barnsley 21 -10 20
21 Bolton Wanderers 21 -19 16
22 Birmingham City 21 -20 16
23 Sunderland 21 -12 15
24 Burton Albion 21 -27 14

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