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Sheffield United 2 - Aston Villa 2

Bramall Lane

11/12/2006

Attendance: 30 957

Jonny Fear Scores Winner

Sod the result, that was a great game! Yes, from our first half dominance we could have put the game out of site but then, with the battering possession wise we took in the second half and the fact we went 2-1 behind, we could have so easily lost the game and in seasons gone we would have.

There is a new resilience amongst our team, they are prepared to battle and simply refuse to lose. Fair enough they refuse to win as well, but we'll ignore that, with the squad and players available and the fact we all know Martin O'Neill hasn't had the chance to spend many pennies (or is it cents) yet, we are doing great.

I agreed with my mates (yes, I do have some, well I say mates, more like paid friends really, but you get the picture) that top ten would do this season and yet now we have 'slipped' to seventh we are all disappointed. If not for a few wasted opportunities (West Ham, Watford and Blackburn spring to mind) we could easily be 3rd. With a tough December and early January fixture list, we certainly could have done with picking up a few more points, the higher we are in the league the easier it will be for O'Neill to attract top players, although players aren't stupid, they will know there is a revolution at Villa, the Villa of old (or the old Ellis Villa) is history. This is a new era.

So yes, we could have picked up all the points last night if we'd taken the chances in the first half, credit has to go to their keeper Paddy for pulling off some fine saves, and bad luck to Gary Cahill who just couldn't get a full contact on a great pass to guide the ball into the net. The second half it was a different story with credit going to Villa keeper Stuart Taylor who pulled off some stunning saves, one a double save that looked sure to be a goal. Just got to hope he isn't badly injured after he clashed knees with a blade, if he is we will be using Villa's 20-year-old Robert Olejnik against Bolton on Saturday against Bolton.

The great thing about the game is that it was played in a great battling spirit, probably a reflection on two battling managers. Our first goal was within two minutes as Petrov at last got on the score sheet. That should help settle the player down who was, albeit quiet at times, quality last night. He still isn't great at battling but playmakers often aren't.

The second half Sheffield United got back into it with some unusually sloppy marking by our mean defence, hopefully Mellberg shaving his beard off didn't adversely affect his team mates, I fear it did (that said I still fear Rudolph the Red nose reindeer, trust me, anything with a red nose is either an alcoholic or the devils spawn). When Webber, who was about to be subbed, scored a second for the Blades Bramall Lane erupted and I must admit, I thought we'd lost the game.

80 seconds later all was even as Baros got the ball IN THE BOX and forced home a well taken shot. See, you get the ball to him where it matters and he will score. Sod about with long balls when he has the back to defenders and he'll do nothing. It isn't always the strikers faults, not completely. That said, I was surprised he was on in place of Angel who had scored as sub in the last game and does do more legwork for the team. Great goal, hopefully confidence restored and all this rubbish about him not scoring for eight months, he was injured and there was the summer break during that time!

Match stats: Click Here

Star Player

Stuart Taylor, saved the game for us second half.

Player Ratings


Stuart Taylor 9

Kept us in the game during the second half and some mighty fine saves.

Wilfred Bouma 8

MUCH better last night and some good crosses. He went off on 67mins with an injury, lets hope he gets a bit of luck as he hasn't had much since joining Villa, hopefully he'll be back for Saturday.

Olof Mellberg 7

Still better centrally and worried he has cut his beard off, who will win the coveted Vital Villa beard of the season awards if he doesn't grow it back!?

Gary Cahill 7

mixed, some of his tackles got us into trouble free kick wise but still doing great judging by his comparative lack of experience, so nearly scored as well. A player who will be in the Villa team for years.

Liam Ridgewell 7

all round decent performance, failed to clear for the one goal but hey ho, he isn't superman!

Gavin McCann 6

battled fairly well but the midfield was over run in the second half.

Steven Davis 6

as above

Gabriel Agbonlahor 6

was supplied with the ball so much, shame as I'd like to have seen his pace frighten the Blades defenders.

Stiliyan Petrov 7

good goal, great free kick, some decent crosses, hopefully starting to settle in.

Chris Sutton 7

made a pest of himself and was always in the mix. Looked shattered when he came off, you can't ask for more than that. Very unlucky not to have scored with a glancing header that hit the crossbar and bounced back out.

Milan Baros 7

didn't contribute a great amount but contributed a great goal, that is what he is there for and so job done.

Aaron Hughes (on for injured Bouma 67)

Struggled to get up to speed in an end to end game after being off for a while with an injury.

Isaiah Osbourne (on for Davis 75)

not sure, didn't notice a great deal right or wrong.

Juan Pablo Angel (on for a shattered Chris Sutton

got stuck in, well his elbow did anyway.

Jonny Fear (on during his dream)

Scored the winner for Villa but should have had some clothes on, the cold weather really did him no favours.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 12 2006

Time: 10:30AM

Your Comments

Watched this last night over a curry - very good game. Really enjoyed it.
OLASAL
Petrov should of been MOTM
leelindsay
what was the curry?!!! I thought it was a great game, even for the neutrals, great to see a battle, like a game of old.
The Fear
any other man of the match nominations or player ratings?
The Fear
Admittedly watched this one on the box, but had to say the best moment of the night had to be when the ball boy fell over, bowed to the villa fans and then got shamed by a very quick and witty supporter who offered a hand of help only to withdraw it straight away. brilliant hand me chuckling all night.
godworeno5
It was my first time at Bramall Lane since Yorkie scored a penalty there a few years ago. Although most of the actual stands have not been changed, they have filled in the corners and it actually felt like a proper football ground. It got me thinking if it would be possible to 'fill in' the corners either side of the Holte End. Probably not with extra seating as the current set up would not allow this. But maybe with cladding just to enclose the space. Then do the same with the North stand when we are eventually big enough to warrant a bigger capacity.
voiceoftheholte
I agree with your report 100% JF. Enjoyed the game, and cant quite see how it was points dropped. Sheffield United are coming to terms with the premiership, and are going to be tough to beat at Bramall Lane. Good atmosphere, and a right good old battle, between two teams who gave their all and carried no shirkers. Stuart Taylor proved second half that he's if nothing else, a capable deputy for Tommy, while other plus points included goals for Stan Petrov and Milan Baros. Once again Chris Sutton proved to be an inspired even if only short term signing by MON. Certainly a more enjoyable drive home than we experienced on our last visit to the home of The Blades.
glensider
Agree with the resillience angle on things. However, I got so frustrated during the 2nd half and when they scored their second I threw my teddy out and turned it off. Couldn't understand why they couldn't string a pass together. 10 mins later I turned it back on to find I missed a goal and they were playing better. That'll teach me!
Gazvilla
have to admit gazvilla, I thought we;d lost when we went 2-1 down, they battered us for possession and yes, we should have been able to pass the ball about better, can't argue with that at all.
The Fear
Petrov was awesome in the first half. Thought Ridgewell was back to his old self, hopefully just a blip.
DeanoVilla
Was round at friends to see it and they're neutral and found it a thoroughly entertaining game which is a credit to both sides. Sutton was superb in my eyes as was Taylor, good to see them both proving their worth to the Villa cause!
Tierney
What a battle, nice to see the passion, the first half should of seen the game put beyond the reach of the blades, only a touch of bad luck and some fine goalkeeping kept them in the game and gave them some hope for the second half, we coped poorly with the set pieces and it was quite obvious that the lack of Mellbergs beard had a devastating effect on our defence, I hope the beard recovers in time for the next match, Taylor, what can you say the boy done good, a never say die attitude seems to have appeared, makes you feel kinda warm inside don't it, so nice to see Petrov bang that in, my poor neighbours must have thought they had moved to trinity road, and as for Baros, all the frustration over what seemed like a lack of commitment evaporated with that lightening responce to a poorly conceded goal, he was actualy running, I saw him. Great game, but we should all spare a thought and say a prayer for Angels elbow and wish it well, hope it recovers in time for Sat. UTV
steff_the_villan
At half time there only looked one winner. The question was 'by how many'. All credit to them. They're not pretty, but they are effective. Good vocal support too.
glensider
 

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