ASTON VILLA 2-0 NEWCASTLE UNITED: Ings scored his second in as many games for his new club with a goal-of-the-season contender before Anwar El Ghazi struck a second from the penalty spot as the Villans claimed victory
Danny Ings floored Steve Bruce with a goal-of-the-season contender – but the Toon chief felt VAR delivered the fatal blow.
Villa’s new £30million striker produced an acrobatic scissors kick to set Dean Smith’s men on their way to a first win before officialdom left the Tynesiders’ boss frothing at the mouth.
Ings pounced in first-half injury time after a long throw from Matty Cash was flicked on at the near post by Tyrone Mings, thumping home on the full to send a pumped-up Villa Park wild with delight.
But two second-half decisions – the first for a handball against Jamaal Lascelles – and the second an offside against striker Callum Wilson – tipped Bruce over the edge.
“The big decisions went against us,” he said. “Lascelles has his foot above his head as he tried to block a header – and if you’re going to do that, you’re going to put your arm up.
“No-one in the ground thought it was handball.
“And with respect to the offside, if those lines aren’t adjoined, I don’t know what is.
“I thought we weren’t looking at lines from armpits anymore. I thought we were erring on the side of the attacker. It’s not clear and obvious. He was offside by a toe again.
“We feel aggrieved. And personally, I feel disappointed in VAR because there’s a fine balance in games – and it has proved costly.”
In the home dug-out, Smith was happier with his new forward than he was with Villa’s overall display.
Ings looked lively throughout and capped an encouraging display with his worldie.
Villa’s boss said: “Danny did to Newcastle what he has done to ourselves and a lot of other clubs.
“He scored a 20-yarder against us last season and put it in the top corner. We certainly know the type of goals he can score. It was a super finish and one that will be in the list already for goal-of-the-season, even though it’s only the second game.
“It was great to see him doing that in a Villa shirt.”
It should have been different for Bruce, had Callum Wilson – who gave Mings a thorough work-over – not blazed high and wide after only five minutes, the complexion of the afternoon would have taken a different turn.
There was little in the game itself until Cash composed himself, launching a throw that reached Ings after a flick-on by Mings. Ings altered his body shape in a flash and produced an acrobatic finish that absolutely flew past Woodman, hitting the corner of the net. It was a stunner. Newcastle’s keeper barely had time to blink, let alone move to stop it.
That strike set a noisy Villa Park alight. And they were out of their seats again just after the hour when Mings sent a header goalwards as Newcastle struggled to clear their lines. Lascelles tried to block, the ball hitting his arm from close range.
Referee David Coote was instructed to view the incident and awarded a penalty after studying the pitchside monitor. Anwar El Ghazi sent Woodman the wrong way from the spot.
If Bruce felt aggreived, then that frustration was doubled ten minutes from time. Wilson, chasing Joe Willock’s ball over the top, reached it first before being cleaned out by Villa keeper Emi Martinez. Coote didn’t need to consult the monitor this time – but was stopped from doing so after VAR decided that the striker had strayed offside.
Smith added: “We needed Danny’s goal. We were okay in the first-half.
“We put them under some pressure and they did the same to us. But it didn’t seem like the deadlock would be broken until something special like that happened.
“I thought it was an okay performance but a better result than last week. We lacked intensity last week and that was never going to happen in front of them.
“We’ve had to battle and scrap and we have had some decisions go our way as well.”