Aston Villa 2 Hull City 2: It was important to keep unbeaten run going, says Adkins

Aston Villa came from two goals down to end Hull's sparkling winning run in a 2-2 draw at Villa Park.


The visitors, who had claimed six Sky Bet Championship victories on the spin, surged into a commanding lead through Jarrod Bowen - his eighth goal in six league games - and Evandro's dynamic volley.

But Villa reduced the deficit just before half-time when James Chester headed in from close range against his former employers.

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The hosts were nonetheless strangely passive in the first half but improved significantly after the break.

And they scored the equaliser manager Dean Smith might feel had been warranted through Tammy Abraham after 67 minutes.

Villa are, however, now without a home win in six league games - a fact which no doubt contributed towards an apprehensive atmosphere inside the ground.

But their team did little to lift the mood of the locals for most of the first half, during which time Kamil Grosicki and Reece Burke had good chances.

Indeed, there was a sense of inevitability about Hull's opening goal - both in terms of the scorer and in the general context of the match.

Be that as it may, Villa only had themselves to blame by not clearing a lofted ball, aimed at Chris Martin, after 27 minutes.

Bowen sensed an opportunity and, having received the ball in a pocket of space on the right, swept home with his left foot.

Goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic will, though, expected to have done better as the ball seemed to squirm through his hands.

Villa's response was muted at best and their lethargic demeanour was exposed by Evandro 10 minutes later.

Martin teed up the dangerous Grosicki on the left, who sent over a lovely, deep cross towards the far post. The ball was inviting, but Evandro still needed craft and skill to acrobatically volley the ball into the net.

Hull's momentum was stifled by the loss to injury of centre-back Jordy de Wijs, who was replaced by Robbie McKenzie while Villa were preparing to take a free-kick from the right.

Perhaps unsettled by that setback, the visitors defended Conor Hourihane's set-piece poorly and Chester easily headed home from six yards.

Villa Park had awoken, and the landscape of the game changed markedly after the restart - yet too often the home team's final ball was awry, with Hull goalkeeper David Marshall largely untroubled.

That was until the 64th minute, when Abraham made it 2-2.

Alan Hutton's cute cross from the right found the Villa striker, whose initial shot was blocked. But the rebound fell kindly to the Chelsea loan signing, who steered the ball away from a despairing Marshall.

Villa held sway after Abraham's goal, but they were left thankful to Kalinic at the death when he clawed to safety Chris Martin's six-yard clipped strike after good work from Dan Batty.

Hull head coach Nigel Adkins was satisfied with a point.

Having been in the relegation zone in early December, the East Yorkshire club have undergone a remarkable upturn in fortunes.

They remain ahead of Villa in the league and are six points off the play-off places.

Adkins said: “We could have won the game, especially when the goalkeeper made a fantastic save from Chris Martin at the death.

“I thought we started a bit tentatively, but we grew into the game.

“Our defensive shape was excellent. We scored two great goals and could have scored a couple more. I thought we looked a massive threat.

“For them to go and score just before half-time buoyed the home crowd. We responded in the second half and we had a few chances.

“All in all, you’ve got to say it was an enjoyable afternoon. I can’t really remember David Marshall having many saves to make in the game.

“We’ve been on a good run. Yes, we could have won, but it’s important we keep the unbeaten run going and we keep climbing the table - momentum is a hard thing to generate and keep going.

“You respect the point away from home.”