Goal Machine

Conor Hourihane bagged an incredible hat-trick this evening as Aston Villa downed Norwich

The 26-year-old has four goals in his last two games in the Championship.

Updated at 6.25

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Conor Hourihane bagged an outrageous hat-trick as Aston Villa brought their Championship winless streak to a close on Saturday with a dramatic 4-2 victory over Norwich.

Aston Villa v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Villa Park Conor Hourihane scored three as Villa beat Norwich 4-2 on Saturday. EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

The 26-year-old gave Villa a 22nd minute lead from close range before adding two more after the break, as Steve Bruce’s side earned their first league win of the season.

Hourihane scored his first goal of the season earlier in the week when Villa were beaten 2-1 away to Reading on Tuesday night, meaning he currently tops the Championship scoring charts with four.

The player joined Villa in January following three seasons at Barnsley where he won the EFL Trophy as well as winning promotion to the Championship in May 2016.

The midfielder has just two appearances for Ireland — making his international debut in March during a 1-0 friendly defeat to Iceland at the Aviva Stadium, before earning his second cap in another friendly against Mexico at the start of June.

With pressure mounting on manager Bruce following two defeats and a draw versus Hull City on the opening weekend, Saturday’s vital win will give the ex-Sunderland boss much-needed breathing space at Villa Park in his first campaign in the dugout.

In a game which featured multiple Irish internationals, Glenn Whelan played 90 minutes in the win alongside Hourihane in midfield, while Wes Hoolahan was introduced for Norwich with 15 minutes remaining.

Elsewhere in the Championship ex-Cork City striker Sean Maguire assisted Jordan Hugill’s winner as Preston North End beat Reading 1-0, while Daryl Murphy scored a penalty as Nottingham Forrest defeated Middlesbrough 2-1.

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