Writer: Mike Field
Date:Tuesday December 30 2008
Martin O'Neill probably shuddered like me when he found out Steve 'Gordon' Bennett was in charge of the game, if he did however, we both did Mr Bennett a disservice tonight.
The controversial penalty award, as Bennett originally believed Ashley Young had handled the ball over the bar looked set to tear away the freaky and lucky 3 points we had secured in the second half of the match. After a mass protest by the Villa players and maybe a few mentions of 'sleep' and 'with the fishes', Bennett decided to seek the advice of his assistant who convinced him he was wrong and to Bennett's credit, he changed his mind and cancelled the penalty award.
So it's no surprising who gains all of Martin O'Neill's 'praise' this match in his interview on the official site.
O'Neill used words like courageous to describe Bennett's reversal of opinion....I bet Arsy Wenger is really spitting feathers about referee's again tonight.
'We got the goal and then we had the drama at the end.
'The referee was exceptionally courageous to change his mind.
'He had already given a penalty but Gareth [Barry] asked him to consult the linesman. The linesman overruled him.
'It was a brave decision because he was relying on the lineman getting it right. He did! Delight turned to despair and thankfully, it turned to delight again.'
As ever O'Neill is rarely ever shy of saying we played crap, even if he's more eloquent than me in saying so.
'We didn't play well. We left a little bit behind at Villa Park after our exploits against Arsenal. But that was understandable.
'I thought the game opened up in the second half and Hull probably sensed they could win.
'Just when it looked like it was heading for stalemate, Ashley Young produced a bit of magic. Absolutely brilliant!'
Well not so magic really, he failed to beat the first man when making a cross which we all know is an amatuer mistake. Thankfully the first man saved Gabby the bother of putting it in though and did that himself saving Ashley's blushes.
You've got to love our spirit though. Last season if we were 2-0 down, especially against a team like Arsenal it would've been curtains....yet now we can battle back. Against Hull we were awful, like we have been in other games like Blackburn and West Ham for a large part, yet we still manage to steal a winner however 'lucky' the winning goals may have been.
For years we have hated the fact we couldn't kill off teams, we couldn't turn over teams and secure even a point when we were behind and we hated the likes of Liverpool and Man U who could play worse than we did but would always nick a goal and the points.
Each and every match we seem to be moving closer to the team we have always wanted, the luck we have always wanted and the attitude we have always desired.
Some quality buys in the New Year could turn this into a better season than it has already been.
Date:Tuesday December 30 2008
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