Smith hails Steer’s career turnaround as Aston Villa reach play-off final


Boss Dean Smith hailed Jed Steer’s career turnaround after Aston Villa reached the Sky Bet Championship play-off final following a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at 10-man West Brom. Goalkeeper Steer saved Albion’s first two spot-kicks from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi as Villa won 4-3 on penalties after losing 1-0 on the night and drawing 2-2 on aggregate. Tammy Abraham scored the winning penalty – after Albert Adomah missed his chance to win it – to send Villa to their second successive play-off final after last year’s defeat to Fulham. Our hero on the night. Two penalty saves. Absolutely superb, @JedSteer! 👏#AVFC — Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 14, 2019 Craig Dawson’s first-half header forced extra-time but Baggies skipper Chris Brunt was sent off with 10 minutes of normal time left. Steer spent the first half of the season on loan at League One Charlton before being recalled after Orjan Nyland’s season-ending Achilles injury in December. Smith said: “It’s amazing what can happen and how opportunities arise. Orjan was doing well but snapped his Achilles and the phone call went in to get Jed back and he’s been brilliant for us. “They were two great penalty saves and we had prepared for penalties since the day we qualified for the play-offs. A lot of preparation went into it, you have to put in the work and it went for us. Jed Steer (left) saved Albion’s first two spot-kicks (Nick Potts/PA) “There’s still one to go, we can be proud of getting to the final. We’re one game from getting to the Premier League. “The top six in this league is really tough this season, they made it very difficult for us in both games but we deserved it. “It’s a challenge, we keep throwing challenges at these boys and they keep on accepting them and doing well.” Villa were second best until Brunt’s dismissal and then failed to break the brave Baggies down in open play. Dawson nodded in off the post after 29 minutes but Albion could not add to their lead despite chances for Jacob Murphy, Matt Phillips and Brunt. This club. 💜 No one does drama like it.#AVFC — Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 14, 2019 Northern Ireland international Brunt, who was already on a yellow card, was dismissed for a reckless tackle on John McGinn and the Baggies’ hopes disappeared. Caretaker boss Jimmy Shan, who replaced the sacked Darren Moore in March, must now have his future resolved after Albion missed the chance for an instant return to the Premier League. He said: “We’ve had some informal discussions and there’s assurances they’ll be a coaching role in some capacity. I imagine they’ll heat up in the next couple of days. [email protected]: Play-Off Finalists once again!#EFL | #EFLPlayOffs | #StepUp — EFL (@EFL) May 14, 2019 “I’ll speak to the powers that be, I’ve got no plans to go away until early June.” But Shan insisted he had no issues with Brunt’s dismissal. He added: “Chris hasn’t got any qualms with it, neither have I. It changed things. We were very good, I thought we could have wrapped the tie up and we looked likely winners.” 84′ – Could this be the moment that swings the tie back in Villa’s favour?#EFL | #EFLPlayOffs | #StepUp — Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) May 14, 2019 Shan also refused to blame Holgate and Hegazi for their misses. “They’re naturally distraught, when you’re in that position it’s very difficult to console them,” he said. “We’d lost Stefan Johansen, Chris Brunt, Matty Phillips and Jay Rodriguez who would have all been penalty takers. Credit to both of them for stepping up.” Topics Aston Villa, West Brom, Dean Smith, Jack Grealish, Jed Steer, Tammy Abraham, Championship, Aston Villa, West Brom Claims Manchester City song mocks Hillsborough tragedy have no foundation – club Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder named LMA Manager of the Year Chelsea need to make good use of friendly against New England – Azpilicueta Villa beat West Brom on penalties to reach Championship play-off final Neilson claims job not done for Dundee United Quiz! Can you name the most-used XI from every Premier League team in 2018/19? Three transfer priorities for EVERY Premier League club this summer Farewell, Daniel Sturridge? How the true one-season wonder became a distant relic at Liverpool 7 players Manchester United could sign to improve their fortunes this summer Manchester United want to bolster attack by signing this international winger

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