Former Birmingham City star makes ‘havoc’ claim as Nottingham Forest see off Aston Villa

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa fails to save a shot from Orel Mangala of Nottingham Forest which results in the second goal for Nottingham Forest during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa at City Ground on November 05, 2023 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Former Birmingham City and England winger Karen Carney praised Nottingham Forest for punishing a fault in Aston Villa during Sunday’s meeting of the two sides.

Villa made the short trip to the City Ground looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions - but fell to a defeat against a well organised and disciplined Forest side.

The hosts took the lead on five minutes with a long-range drive from Ola Aina and doubled their tally in the early stages of the second-half when Villa keeper Emi Martinez made a hash of a powerful effort from the impressive Orel Mangala. Villa applied pressure to Steve Cooper’s men in the final 20 minutes as the likes of Moussa Diaby, Lucas Digne and Ollie Watkins failed to make the most of some promising positions.

Forest held out to preserve their unbeaten home record for the season - but Carney believes Villa were left to rue a poor error from the usually reliable Martinez.

She told Sky Sports: “They saw something in Aston Villa to go at really, really quickly.

“The bounce caused a little bit of havoc, good strength and good little build-up play. They don’t force it, showed patience and this is what I like, it’s a brilliant strike from Mangala. Could the keeper have done better? I don’t know. There’s a lot of pace and power behind it and the Nottingham Forest fans will be ecstatic with that. To be fair, I am sure he’s (Martinez) shouting at his midfield how has he got this amount of time to run on to it.

“I thought Villa were really deep in those opportunities and that’s why they shot from outside (of the area). But for a keeper of his calibre, he will think I should be saving that - but there is a lot of pace on it. He got a strong hand on it but couldn’t get both.”

Villa are back in action on Thursday night when they host Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in their latest Europa Conference League group stage game.