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Aston Villa secure play-offs with record breaking win

Aston Villa

Aston Villa broke a 109-year club record as they secured a play-off spot with their tenth-straight win.

The only goal came on the half-hour mark when Jonathan Kodja was able to get on the end of Anwar El Ghazi’s cross. It was the Ivorian’s first start in two months and his eight goal of the season.

Millwall’s keeper David Martin kept out midfielder Jack Grealish and substitute Andre Green in the second half, as Villa failed to convert further goal-scoring chances but held on for the three points.

A lap of honor ensued for the heroes in claret and blue as they assured themselves of a place in the Championship play-offs, joining West Brom while Norwich City, Sheffield United and Leeds United battle it out for automatic promotion.

Manager Dean Smith said: “If you had asked me 11 games ago would we go and win the next 10, I would have thought you were a little bit crackers.

“The turning point was half-time at Stoke when I got into the players and we have been excellent since then.

“I don’t think until I look back on it I will realise what we have actually done because my focus is still on getting promoted.

“It is a historical great football club and to be the first manager to have achieved it is something special but we want to continue it.”

The West Midlands club have found their form at just the right time. And could be the team to watch in the play-offs after some stunning performances. This, despite languishing in mid-table for much of the season.

It seems to be a remarkably similar campaign to Fulham last season. Who managed to turn mid-table mediocrity into play-off dominance through a flourish in form at the turn of the year.

Smith’s will head into the play-offs later this month buoyed by the news of top-scorer Tammy Abraham’s return in the nick of time.

OLLIE FLOOD / Photo: PA Images

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