Aston Villa’s faithful have rallied around their keeper Sam Johnstone after his comical error made defeat certain in their 2-0 loss to Fulham.
The Cottagers finally put an end to Villa’s seven match unbeaten run in the Championship this Saturday, with Johnstone’s skewed clearance essentially gifting Fulham their second goal in a 2-0 win.
Ryan Sessegnon’s neat finish after 52 minutes had put the Whites in front, but Johnstone’s mistake put the game to bed after his misplaced free kick from the edge of the box landed straight at the feet of Floyd Ayite and the Fulham forward sent the ball into an empty net from just inside the halfway line.
Gaffer Steve Bruce refused to criticise the on-loan keeper, however, who is currently on loan from Manchester United and has played a vital role in his side’s success this season.
He said: “I’m not criticising the lad, he’s been terrific all season.
“He’s tried to hit a diagonal, he’s snatched at it a bit and you have to say the boy’s controlled it and executed it fantastically well.”
Villa fans were equally as defensive of their young keeper as their manager, and seemed especially protective after the BBC’s Match of the Day Facebook page took the opportunity to jibe the young stopper.
Here’s a selection of what they had to say on Twitter…
— Carl Arrowsmith (@Carlos_1982) February 18, 2018
Let Johnstone off for christ sake! The poor bloke has saved us countless times this season! #avfc
— The Villa Vision 🌍 (@TheVillaVision) February 17, 2018
Johnstone top keeper only week point is he’s kicking which we all know. Always gonna be tough without jack and Albert #avfc
— Robert Gibbons (@robgibb01) February 17, 2018
Superb goalkeeper, one mistake doesn’t change that. It was a good finish too, a lot of times, that would go unpunished. I want Johnstone here for years to come, and think we should do everything we can in the summer to make that happen, if he’ll have us! #AVFC 🦁
— Phil Roberts (@iamVilla) February 18, 2018
— jordan👽👑 (@jordanfenlonx) February 18, 2018
Johnstone actually hasn’t been too bad today either. Just a shame the one mistake he made was horrific. Bet he’ll never take those sort of free kicks again haha. #AVFC
— Jack Hurley (@Jack_Hurley_R) February 17, 2018