Aston Villa 3-3 Preston: Steve Bruce confirms fan threw cabbage

Aston Villa 3-3 Preston: Steve Bruce confirms fan threw cabbage
Steve Bruce has been in charge of Aston Villa since October 2016

A supporter threw a cabbage at under-pressure Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce before his side’s dramatic draw with Preston, in which Glenn Whelan missed a 97th-minute penalty.

Bruce said victory would not have made up for the abuse he was subjected to by sections of the crowd and it was “for others to decide what happens now”.

Whelan was denied from the spot after fellow substitute Yannick Bolasie had scored a late equaliser for Villa, who had earlier blown a 2-0 lead against the Championship’s bottom club.

Villa were coasting after first-half goals from Jonathan Kodjia and Tammy Abraham before James Chester’s 54th-minute red card transformed the game.

Former Villa man Daniel Johnson sent keeper Mark Bunn the wrong way from the spot, then Paul Gallagher’s low right-foot free-kick curled round the wall to level on 79 minutes.

From Gallagher’s right-wing corner, Louis Moult headed North End in front, but on-loan Everton man Bolasie kept his head in the box to earn Villa a point.

On a night when Villa would have climbed seven places if they had won, it could have been all three points when Johnson felled Birkir Bjarnason in the box but, with the game going into the 97th minute, Preston keeper Chris Maxwell dived low to his left to save Whelan’s effort.

Bruce said that he felt all the decisions he has made this season had been “questioned” by fans and that what he had “witnessed in the stadium was not right”.

“The guy who is being questioned…unfortunately, it sums up the society we are in at the moment. There’s no respect for anyone,” the 57-year-old said.

“I find the whole thing hugely disrespectful.”

He added: “The one thing I’ve always had is the determination to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I’ll always have a go.”

Villa are 12th in the table having won only one of their last nine league games, while Alex Neil’s North End stay bottom.

Bruce still out of luck and under fire

Bruce had pleaded for time in the wake of some indifferent results in recent weeks.

He insisted that the nucleus of his team is fine and that patience is needed in the boardroom and on the terraces while his summer additions – signed late in the August window following the club’s takeover – settle into their new surroundings.

Despite the subdued pre-match mood Villa went ahead when Ahmed Elmohamady curled in a looping, angled right-foot cross from the right – and Kodjia climbed highest to power home a header.

Jonathan Kodjia headed the night’s opening goal at Villa Park

Abraham then powered his way in from the left touchline to double Villa’s lead when he slipped the ball through Maxwell at his near post.

Chester’s sending off for felling Lukas Nmecha when through on goal gave the struggling visitors a way back into the game as Johnson stroked home the resulting penalty.

Paul Huntington twice headed over, Alan Browne drilled wide and Nmecha struck the post as the home mood suddenly turned ugly.

Bunn saved from Johnson but he was then caught out 11 minutes from time when Gallagher – who had just come on – bent in a low free-kick to equalise, and worse was to come when Moult headed with four minutes left.

That triggered chants of “We want Bruce out” from the home fans on the Holte End – but Villa showed that they still had some fight left in them.

But, after Bolasie levelled from close range, and Johnson inexplicably fouled Bjarnason, Whelan fluffed the chance to score only his second goal in seven years as Maxwell went to his left to parry the Irishman’s poorly-struck penalty.

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