By the very skin of their teeth, Aston Villa are a Premier League club again. For three-quarters of the play-off final at Wembley on Monday Dean Smith’s men were the better side.
Derby struggled defensively and at the opposite end of the pitch the tenacious Mason Bennett failed to ever really get going.
Yet with four minutes of regulation time to play, the Villans were staring at a nervy end to the game. Tyrone Mings went off after injuring himself in the process of making a superb last-ditch tackle whilst just a few moments earlier, Jack Marriott’s effort brushed Martyn Waghorn and found the back of the net.
So with Mings leaving the pitch, Villa needed someone to produce a colossal effort. The man to do so? Kortney Hause, a Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee.
Hause’s performance in the dying moments at Wembley was a monumental showing. The Wolves man was tasked with dragging his parent club’s rival through the very last push in their quest for promotion and he did so to superb effect.
Replacing Mings is no easy task. He was exceptional after signing on loan in January, but his substitute’s display was worthy of each and every sparkling outing the Bournemouth loanee has had.
Derby were full of life towards the end of the match, but Hause was in the way on numerous occasions as balls came flying into the penalty area.
He won two aerial duels, heading the ball away from danger in a show of ruthlessness that hadn’t been associated with the Villans’ backline earlier in the campaign.
He then completed a further two clearances in the short space of time he was on the field.
In just 11 minutes on the pitch, the young defender justified his loan move, and considering Villa have an option to buy the 23-year-old, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if they were to snatch him away from their Midlands rivals on a permanent basis.