Aston Villa vs Bournemouth match report: Villa granted stay of execution but Cherries ease to win

Aston Villa 1 Bournemouth 2

Bournemouth celebrate Steve Cook's opener
Bournemouth celebrate Steve Cook's opener

Aston Villa received a stay of execution but another meek defeat prompted outright revolt from home fans as their side moved to the brink of relegation.

Norwich’s defeat at Crystal Palace means Villa’s drop into the Championship cannot be confirmed until Sunday at the earliest.

However, Villa supporters vented their anger at players and owner Randy Lerner as Bournemouth claimed victory with more ease than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.

There were banners and scarves of protest against Lerner while fans booed Villa players before, during and after another limp home performance left them clinging onto their Premier League status only by quirks of mathematics.

Relegation has been inevitable for months and would be confirmed on Sunday if Sunderland pulled off a surprise victory against Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Josh King celebrates scoring Bournemouth's second

Steve Cook and Josh King scored either side of half-time for Bournemouth before Jordan Ayew got Villa on the scoresheet.

Villa had the first opening of the afternoon when Aly Cissokho skipped forwards from left-back and crossed for Idrissa Gana, but he screwed his shot harmlessly wide.

Bournemouth responded immediately, though, and Brad Guzan in the Villa goal had to make a scrambled save low down to his right to keep out a shot from Lewis Grabban following a smart move from the visitors.

There was a moment of hope for Villa when Scott Sinclair burst into space on the right flank but his cross, straight to Bournemouth defender Steve Cook, drew groans from the volatile home crowd.

Dan Gosling missed the target for Bournemouth and Ashley Westwood did likewise for Villa as the first half became a tale of much endeavour but precious little incident.

How Villa could be relegated on Sunday

A Sunderland win against Leicester takes them to 30 points, then Sunderland play Norwich next week.

If Norwich win that game, they move onto 34, meaning Villa cannot catch them.

If the two draw, Norwich move onto 32, again meaning Villa cannot catch them.

If Sunderland win, they go to 33, meaning Villa could still catch Norwich but not Sunderland.

Villa must finish above both and Newcastle United in order to avoid relegation.

Gana was the next man to to threaten the Bournemouth defence as he reached the corner of the 18-yard box and pulled the ball back for Kieran Richardson, but the experienced midfielder sent a difficult shot high and wide.

As half-time approached, Cissokho again found space to advance down the left and crossed, but the ball was claimed easily by Artur Boruc in the Cherries goal.

But the atmosphere turned ugly when Villa fell behind, conceding in first-half stoppage time for the third successive home game.

A short corner routine from the visitors saw Simon Francis drill the ball across goal for Cook to flick home at the near post.

Early in the second half, Sinclair used his pace to race away from two Bournemouth defenders, but his pass was again easy for Boruc to claim.

Aston Villa's supporters display a protest banner at Villa Park

Villa’s plight was summed up on the hour mark, when Ayew found space on the byline and crossed for Richardson, who should have equalised from a couple of yards but allowed the ball to run through his legs to safety.

Villa showed little appetite for the fight from that moment and they fell further behind with 16 minutes remaining courtesy of some shambolic play.

Ciaran Clark miscontrolled a poor pass, King stole possession and advanced before chipping the ball over the advancing Brad Guzan to spark more jeers from the crowd.

There was gallows humour from the crowd when Ayew scored on 85 minutes to reduce the arrears.

It was a rare moment of quality from Villa as Ayew sidestepped between two defenders and placed a shot into the bottom corner, prompting ironic chants of ‘we score when we want’.

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