Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday August 2 2007
Villa carried on with their winning pre-season beating Stoke City 2-0 in front of a crowd of 7 503 at the Britannia Stadium.
Patrik Berger scored the first goal and Gabriel Agbonlahor sealed the points in the second half.
VILLA: Taylor, Gardner, Bouma, Cahill, O'Halloran, Reo-Coker, Osbourne, Berger, Petrov, Harewood, Moore. Subs: Bevan (replacing Taylor 83), Barry (replacing Reo-Coker at half time), Maloney (replacing Moore 55), Agbonlahor (replacing Berger at half time), Young (replacing Harewood 55), Stieber (replacing Osbourne 73), Lowry (replacing O'Halloran 73).
Our very own Bearvill was there and said in our forum today:
We played well, but Stoke were to all extents crap !!! Their fans should be worried !!
I thought Osbourne was excellent at right-back considering he has probably never played there before, Gardner was excellent as was Reo-Coker, who I think is gonna be a fans favourite and Berger was excellent.
Petrov looked good but he is infuriating as if he loses the ball he just assumes someone else will get it. Harewood didn't do too badly but didn't do anything special although for about half of the first half I thought he was big John, it was the other end of the pitch in my defence !! Steiber looked decent some good crosses but he is tiny, never make it if he stays that slight.
Maloney was excellent but I have a worry about him, when the players were walking off some little lads were by the tunnel asking for autographs and he basically shunned them away, not in a nice way either, he just doesn't seem to have settled as a Villa player I hope he does soon as he is a really good player
Moore and Gabby (except goal) were quiet, but by quiet I mean shots/clean throughs we had so much of the ball that it would have been impossible for them not to be involved
Barry and Bouma looked a little off the pace, that is probably slightly unfair on Bouma because he attacked well but defensively looked shaky, so the opposite to what he normally is
The fans were crap to be honest, there were some drunken lads at the back who were trying to get it started but it was like being in the Trinity/ very disappointing for an away game even if it is a friendly
Did anyone else notice towards the end of the second half a meathead Stoke fan walked from there stand around the pitch into our end and stood halfway up the stairs shouted some abuse then casually walked back down round the pitch into the Stoke end and out of the ground !!!!! it was so casual that no one really noticed until he was walking back round the pitch........great stewarding !!!
Meanwhile Martin O'Neill told the official site:
'I'm very pleased. I thought we played some really decent stuff, especially in the first-half. We kept possession of the ball and we were reasonably bright going forward. We're getting closer to the start of the season and there's a fine dividing line between getting properly fit and trying to avoid injuries. Luckily we're injury free from tonight.'
Adding, 'The players are playing with plenty of confidence. We've come off the trip to America and Canada in fine fettle and good spirits. Now we want to keep it going. Stoke played very competitively, but we had a lot of decent possession and passed it around nicely - especially in the first-half. In fact, if there's such a thing, we maybe over passed it at times. But there's a cutting edge to our game and I'm absolutely delighted with that.'
Date:Thursday August 2 2007
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