Clayton Donaldson ignores the flak and wipes out Villa lead with two-goal strike


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ASTON VILLA boss Steve Bruce leapt to the defence of Mile Jedinak after the centre-back went from hero to zero.

Bruce spoke out after watching Jedinak put Villa into a two-goal lead against Sheffield United before the former Crystal Palace defender dropped a costly clanger.


Albert Adomah celebrates putting Villa ahead early in the first halfBut ex-Birmingham striker Clayton Donaldson grabbing

Villa looked to be coasting to victory over promotion rivals after dominating a frenetic opening in front of 35,210 fans –the biggest Villa Park crowd this season.

Albert Adomah coolly put Bruce’s side ahead when he sent Simon Moore the wrong way from the penalty spot in the fourth minute when Keinan Davis was felled by Richard Stearman.

And it looked like Villa would celebrate Christmas in style when Jedinak out-jumped the Blades markers to nod home Robert Snodgrass’s free-kick in the ninth minutes.


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 Bang! Clayton Donaldson was on target twice for Sheffield United

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Bang! Clayton Donaldson was on target twice for Sheffield United

But then Bruce and crocked centre-half John Terry watched in horror as his back-four pressed the self-destruct button and Clayton Donaldson took maximum advantage.

First, the ex-Birmingham striker calmly lobbed Sam Johnstone with the Villa back four all over the place as they failed to cut out John Lundstram’s through-ball in the 12th minute.

And then he played the role of pantomime villain to perfection when Jedinak was the fall guy as he misjudged Mark Duffy’s hopeful ball and Donaldson was on hand to plant a low shot past Johnstone.

“That’s the second game on the trot where we have gifted the opposition their goals,” Bruce said.


 Grealish is fouled by Sheffield United's Chris Basham


Grealish is fouled by Sheffield United’s Chris Basham

“We’re only human I’ve made mistakes like that in finals and cup finals and unfortunately mistakes like that are all part and parcel of football.

“It’s the ones that surprise you like Jedinak because never in a month of Sunday would you expect a mistake like that from him but it happens and unfortunately it’s cost us the game.”

Blades boss Chris Wilder added: “That’s 100 per cent what we’re all about. We got off to a terrible start, but we picked ourselves up off the canvas.

“We’ve gone toe-to-toe with a massive club and a manager I’ve got a lot of respect for, so I’m delighted with the outcome.”

EXTRA TIME Who wants 39th game in Premier League and for it to be played abroad?

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