Wolves forced Aston Villa to a goalless draw in their West Midlands derby, putting an end to Villa’s European hopes.

The hosts, who were defeated by Sheffield United in midweek, dominated the first half, with Ollie Watkins and Ezri Konsa both reaching the crossbar.

Villa faded after the break as Wolves sparked into life, with the powerful Jack Grealish absent again as he recovers from injury.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s visitors somehow managed to miss many gilt-edged chances to snare all three points after failing to build a notable chance in the first half.

After Conor Coady had headed against a post, Romain Saiss blazed an effort over the bar from almost on the goal-line, while another close-range effort from Coady drew a superb save from Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to ensure the points were shared.

Villa is now in ninth place in the table with 40 points, while Wolves are in 12th place with five points less.

Following the Blades’ defeat, Villa manager Dean Smith called for a quick response to improve their chances of qualifying for Europe for the first time in a decade.

Watkins’ 25-yard attempt against the crossbar seemed to be a positive early sign of intent.

With Wolves unable to leave their half, it seemed only a matter of time before the hosts took the lead, particularly when Konsa rattled the woodwork with a header from Bertrand Traore’s cross.

That was the best Villa could muster before another late Konsa effort.

As the game started to slip away, Smith would have wished he could turn to his talismanic captain, who was watching from the stands.


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