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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Birmingham City 1 - Aston Villa 2

St Andrews

11/11/2007

Attendance: 26 539

Match Report - Thanks Liam

HA! As a neutral I'd say that Blues might have been unlucky to come out the losers in that game but I'm no neutral and all I can say is COME ON YOU VILLA BOYS! First away game of the season, now we can push on and get another maximum next week against Middlesbrough!

Big shout out to our mate Steve Bennett, he missed what so many could see in one clear cut penalty claim (Zat Knight moving arm to ball) and a slightly more arguable penalty claim when Martin Laursen 'tackled' Daniel De Ridder. If those decisions had been against us we'd have been screaming blue murder (pun intended!) but for once they were in our favour and lets face it, it was about time we got some luck in a derby!

Oh, and at last I can see why we sold Liam Ridgewell, great tactics sending an agent over to St Andrews to give us our opening goal!

To be fair to Blues, they came out of the blocks much the better team and Villa couldn't get hold of the ball or when they did they failed to keep it. Blues, as the home team pushed forward and dominated the first fifteen minutes only for Ridge to score a ridiculous own goal putting Villa ahead. It was against the run of play and seemed to have a devastating effect on the blues for the rest of the half. Another thing (and listening now to BRMB strengthens the thought) is the fact that Bruce played only one up front. I'm so happy that Forssell was on the bench because when he was presented with a chance in the second half, he took it with aplomb, a quality player and if he stays fit, surely a cert for a move to a bigger team again?

This was a surprisingly entertaining derby, so often we all get excited for these games, the fans produce the atmosphere and then the game on the pitch fizzles out. Not today though, both teams contributed to a full bloodied but not particularly dirty game and the longer it went on, the more it opened up with end to end action.

For a period towards the end of the match it looked like, although the game could have gone either way, that the game was tipping in favour of the Blues and when Ridgewell rose above our defenders with a great header, it looked like he'd made up for his earlier gaff only for Gabby to save the ball off the line. That again seemed to shift the balance of the game and Gabby showed what he had to offer at the other end of the pitch not long after with an unsaveable header. Villa then clicked into professional mode, kept the ball and killed the game, something in years gone by we failed to do.

The confidence boost this victory will bring cannot be underestimated.

Star Player

The fans outsung the Blues crowd the majority of the game. Ashley Young and match winner Gabby!

Player Ratings


Scott Carson 7

Could do nothing about the goal from a rocket header but did pull off a mega save in the second half to keep us in the game. He's a keeper (ie we should buy and keep him!)

Olof Mellberg 6.5

Few important interceptions. Struggles to get forward but then, he isn't a right back.

Wilf Bouma 6.5

Same as Ollie, made some important interceptions, forward distribution is poor though.

Martin Laursen 7

You just can't get passed him in the air, so don't bother trying!

Zat Knight 6

The good (few important interceptions), the bad (lapses of concentration and ball watching) and the ugly (so nearly gave a needless penalty away)

Ashley Young 8

Ran riot and refused to be out muscled despite once again getting kicked about a bit. His pace terrorised the Blues. Only negative was a few awful free kicks when he wasted good chances. Still man-of-the-match though

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 6

Only a six because I refuse to give less to a Villa player today but he really didn't win much in midfield and his contribution was average. He also missed an absolute sitter from seven yards out, he really should have buried it or at least got it on target. A lot more to come from this player.... hopefully.

Stiliyan Petrov 6.5

He showed some glimmers of a quality player again today, got the ball forward well a few times, then spoilt it with some awful distribution and a couple of terrible shots. Still, he is showing those glimmers and he is improving. If he can become more consistent, he could be one hell of a player for us.

Gareth Barry 6.5

Did a good captain's job today without the midfield every really taking over and bossing the game.

John Carew 6

Held the ball up brilliantly, was obviously not match fit after missing the last six games + playing no reserve games before his comeback. Was a pest for the Blues defence but his shots were wayward and woeful. He'll need to get up to speed and start impressing now, it is good holding the ball up, it is GREAT when your strikers score. Just look at Forsell, one real chance, one goal, that is the definition of quality.

Gabby Agbonlahor 8

Saved a goal and scored a goal, can't ask any more of a local lad made good!

Luke Moore (on for Carew 68)

Like every Villa fan, would have LOVED to see Lukey get a goal today.

Manager Rating

Always enjoy his interviews, the one on Sky was especially entertaining saying he was glad to get the game out of the way with a victory. Only 3 points off 4th, what a crazy league!

Opponent Rating

If I wasn't a Villa fan, I'd feel half sorry for old Potato Head, when the pressure is on and the decisions don't go your way. Then again, 4,5,1 at home, (same as we've done) is just crazy.

The Villa Fans

In very fine voice with Villa legend Ian Taylor in amongst the fans. Love the return of the Paul McGrath song as well, long may that continue.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 11 2007

Time: 4:13PM

Your Comments

I thought petrov played well today and Knight played better than Laursen.We really need to sort ourselves out at the back,we got exposed so many times at right and left back it was unreal.Ashley ran riot and Gabby is a legend,feel a bit sorry for Ridgewell.
Pking
MOM 4* PETROL.....bring it on.....We are the Kings of Brum.....say we are KOB....say we are KOB...say we are KOB.....THERES ONLY ONE TEAM IN THIS CITY....The Old Calret and Blue.....
imavillan
Petrov had a good game but thats all, no way was he MOTM. G Barry was MOTM for me, he made afew slip ups but thats all ..... ran from one end to the other all game, he kept the team on the ball all of the first half and made Reo run more in this game than i have seen so far all season. Great win for us today and how it showed when after the first 10 mins there fans stopped singing and only sang when they got a goal ..... made me laugh that did : )
Mutt_Man
Thought it was easy to see a gulf between the two teams - yes I know the score was close but the talent on the pitch was not - the issue for MON is how to get some of them motivated to play at a higher tempo. Yes agree we could see why Ridge could not get into the team - some great work wasted by lapses - reminds me of someone else but that is another story. I thought this game showed that the team has moved on from 2 years ago - just wish some of the players believed it too.
Gordonsleftboot
I must say, i'm very impressed by Stan. Not so much his ability today, but rather his attitude in the last few games. He's been axed and then booed, but he still gives his everything every time he's on the pitch. He's frustrating as hell to watch, as he can do something great, then hold onto the ball too long or play a ball in panic, and cost us possession, but my god he does try, and i appreciate that.
AstonMartinOneill
Liam Ridgewell's left knee GET IN!!! K.R.O. ha!!!!! I agree with AstonMartinOneill thought Petrov was fantastic today and kept going right till the death. UTV
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
Stan is improving week by week, distribution good in the whole but awful shooting. What was Nige doing on the wing. He isn't that quick and has no tricks and he makes Mellberg look good at crossing. The Blouse were very poor and if it wasn't a derby, think we should have buried them by more. Upwards and On to Europe for us, hard relegation battle for Ridgewell and crew.
Villan444
Disagree with Barry rating. Thought he ran the midfield, assisted by Stan. No help from Coker who was out of position but is worrying me. Laursen did give a pen away and got out-battled by Forsell. Young was awesome but was getting deeper and deeper, Carew was clumsy and donkeyish. Gabby is getting better and better and holding the ball up well. Saw the aftermatch interview, Gabby is a bit dopey but Young was articulate. Superb result and racking the points up. 8-)
Gazvilla
I swear Ian taylor was in the holte pub or thats what we heard on the train on the way home.
villabikes29
Ian Taylor was actually in the away end with the Villa fans just like he was last time at St. Andrews when Super Kev won it for us
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
Agree with Gazvilla about Reo Coker,he was awful.
Pking
I thought Young and Agbonlahor looked dangerous whenever they was on the ball. A couple of fine saves form Carson kept you in it too.
dazza71
Echo the others thought Petrov put it in today still error prone but looks to be gaining in confidence, i thought Bouma was very solid and Knight had a couple of last ditch blocks. ML not as imperious as usual today. JC rusty and again does not look like a goalscorer to me, AY quick elusive got the ***** kicked out of him some of free kick distribution not too good. 3 points first away win of the season and the bumfluffed one scored our first goal good . good day
fatloser
ha ha ha ha at the bumfluffed one....... Fatloser you kill me ..... goto breath .... goto breath !!!!
Mutt_Man
Bouma 6.5??? You havin a laugh/> The guy is a god!!!!
DeanoVilla
Stan was superb, only bad game was oaky koaky, he looked brassed off for most of the game. I hope this dos not continue, no one wins with that, so come on we could end up top 6.
morky13villa
Fatloser that should be Brumfluffed!
morky13villa
completely irrelevant to you lot but it was nice to see Mikel Forssell back on the scoresheet and fit again!
merlin
Bouma weathered the storm in that opening period with some great blocks, i dont see why Ashley Young is stuck on one flank, the way he played against sheffield and inter milan suited him and the team, switching from flank to flank or behind the front two, the 3 others should be able to shift across quite easily, depending on where he takes up position, fantastic today anyway. As for blues i dont think de ridder got enough of the ball after the penalty claim, he looked very dangerous. Good job Kapo didnt turn up , they should of started with Seb Larsson, bit of a battler. Despite the pen claims i think we deserved the win, would of felt robbed with a draw.
MOGVILLA
They said that it was a typical gloomy, overcast, November day. Well I never noticed, neither did any of the 3,000 plus Villans packed in the Railway End, along with the few brave souls who were scattered amongst the blue and white lot around the stadium. For us all the sun was shining, and everything was right with the world. We were there to party, and for most of the 90 minutes or so, we did. Didn't enjoy the 80 minute or so lock in at the end though. I can sort of understand the reasoning behind it, buit 80 minutes? I personally thought that that was uncalled for. We started slowly, and doubts started to creep into the Railway End supporters, but we needn't have worried. Liam Ridgewell, as he was prone to do for us all too often, decided to take it upon himself to change the course of the game, by diverting the rather superb Stan Petrov's hard driven cross past a bemused Maik Taylor, and into the back of the Tilton Road net. 1-0 to the good guys. We dominated the rest of the half, always in control, yet failed to add to the lead, which of course left us open to the expected Birmingham City onslaught that was certain to come in the second forty-five. Yes, Birmingham had two heated claims for penalties, but without the aid of repeated t.v. showings to confirm or deny my on the spot opinions, I thought the ref got it right both times. Onto the second half, and the introduction of Mikel Forssell, a substitution which at the time worried me a little. The guys a predator, and despite having some injury issues of late, he's always liable to pop one in, and our fears were confirmed when he put the Blues level, to jolt the home lot awake, and up the noise and atmosphere level inside Birmingham's biggest eyesore (which incidentally wasn't full). Nigel Reo-Coker volleyed over into the traveling Villans, an awful miss, when it looked so much easier to score. Blues pressed, and many of us started to think that maybe a point would be fine, if we could only hold out. Ridgewell nearly atoned for his first half blooper when his goalbound header was cleared off the line (by Gabby I believe), and we were then looking at our watches wishing that the last few minutes would hurry by. We needn't have worried. Ashley swung over a superb cross that Gabby got onto the end of, and the pandemonium began. Found myself hugging a complete stranger who had been sat in the row behind, but was now encircled in my arms. Understand Gabby was booked for his joyous celebration, but missed that completely. The lads reaction at the end was superb, every one a hero. Olof's face was a picture. You could see it meant as much to the players as it did to us the supporters. Thanks Martin and the lads. You did us proud. My man of the match was Stilyan Petrov, who I thought looked very much as if his confidence and form are returning by the match. Ash too was class. When isn't he? No everythings still not 100%. We're not world-beaters yet. We still have some way to go. We have our faults, faults that no doubt Martin and co are well aware of, and will seek to rectify come January. But I'm not going to be negative in any way. We've just turned over that lot from across the way. I'm going to celebrate and gloat until we come up against them next Spring. Hopefully that'll be the day we charge the visiting supporters forty-five quid per ticket, and keep them locked inside Villa Park for 80 minutes at the end.
glensider
Not forgetting of course in the Spring it may be bloose battling to stay in the Premiership.......
col8
Not forgetting of course................. OINK OINK Mr Gold!!
nottinghamvillain
It's typical that Potato head and the Blouses are moaning about a penalty that never was. They can never just take defeat!! Fair play Villa. This is the best Monday morning i've had in years!
MattUTV
what was the score again? :-) <--- big smiley thing
col8
well done lads, you did us all proud, that victory was so sweet.
villapeach
still smiling all the way to work this morning,as i was yesterday morning. As derby games go i thought it was overall a good game. We have had so much bad luck in the past it's about time we had some good luck. Bruce is a tit and such a bad looser, just conceed to defeat you ******** spud head. I was pleased to see Petrov having a solid game, not MOTM but solid all the more. Laursen yet again is fast becomming a legend, the man is unbeatable, well DOL for signing him, just hope he stays injury free! my MOTM has to Gabby, goal line save then popping up to score the winner, they say goal keepers can we you 3 points, well Gabby did that for us Sunday. sitting pretty, and bragging rights well deserved. UTV
*Holte*End*Star*
Infact i stand corrected, Laursen IS A LEGEND!
*Holte*End*Star*
Great game, petrov, young and gabby are class. I knew it would go right to the death, a pleasure to watch. Blues played pretty well too, but still great match
AussieVilla
First time for a while that Martin Laursen has not been the undisputed Man of the Match too.
glensider
 

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