Matty Cash credits FA Cup winning goal vs Middlesbrough to Aston Villa coach

Aston Villa progressed into the FA Cup fourth round after a hard-fought 1-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Matty Cash credited the work of set-piece coach Austin MacPhee after scoring the only goal from a short corner in Aston Villa's 1-0 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough.

Right-back Cash won it late for Villa at the Riverside Stadium, firing home from range after a well-worked short corner - albeit via a large stroke of luck. His 87th-minute effort took a huge deflection off Boro striker Emmanuel Latte Lath and curled cruelly into Tom Glover's bottom corner.

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Unai Emery's side were far from their best and looked set for an unwanted replay at Villa Park. But in an attritional affair, it was that set-piece and the work of MacPhee that made the difference.

"A goal is a goal, so I am buzzing with it," Cash told BBC Sport shortly after full-time. "I have worked on it in training outside the box to finish, we have worked on having three around the edge and my instinct was to shoot.

"We work really hard on them and credit to Austin MacPhee. Boro are a tough team and have a top manager, they are doing well in the Championship and the main priority for us was to get the win.

"In the first half we found some good spaces on the left and the game plan was to continue that. It took some time, but we finally got there. The manager had made it clear in the hotel that we had not done well in this competition. It is nice to finally do that tonight [progress past third round].

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"The manager is so good at that and whatever competition we are in we go out and do our best to get the result. In Europe we are doing well, and the league and tonight as well.”

The goal is Cash's third of the season in all competitions and the 26-year-old is one of several players to have improved massively since Emery's arrival. Villa's priority remains a top-four spot in the Premier League but the FA Cup presents them with a strong chance of winning a trophy - alongside the Europa Conference League.

 "He has improved me a lot and we have a full-back coach as well," Cash added of Emery. "In recent weeks I have struggled with my calf but hopefully I can go on and kick on."

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