Corkman Conor Hourihane scores wonderstrike to seal Villa's derby win over Birmingham

Corkman Conor Hourihane scores wonderstrike to seal Villa's derby win over Birmingham

"If you chase the team above you are more likely to win more games".

Second in the Championship, Villa beat Birmingham City 2-0 in front of their home fans to give their supporters a huge boost in the final stage of the season.

Albert Adomah's driven finish was his 14th goal of the season, before Conor Hourihane struck to put Villa in the driving seat.

He repeatedly set up promising moves which kept the visitors at full stretch to stay in the game.

Grealish, who stood out like a beacon, became a marked man and had to receive treatment following a heavy tackle by Ndoye - an incident which generated an improvement in Birmingham's attacking play.

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The 57-year-old Villa manager had until Saturday been on compassionate leave following the death of his father last Tuesday, the pain of that experience compounded by fears for his mother, who has herself been battling serious illness.

Indeed, they probed and prodded as the Blues looked to punish on the break but it wasn't until the second half when the goals came. Still Grealish was central to most of Villa's best moves, and though N'Doye and Dean were both booked for fouling him he was to assist the opening goal.

The home side were the stronger for the majority of the match and were unlucky not to take the lead 17 minutes in, when Scott Hogan fired a half-volley off the crossbar.

Nine minutes from time, Hourihane collected a short ball, caught a half volley on the up bounce to score with a delicious looping shot over the head of goalkeeper Stockdale to seal a comfortable and well-earned win.