Match Report - Thanks Liam
Attendance: 26 539
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.
Scott Carson 7
Olof Mellberg 6.5
Wilf Bouma 6.5
Martin Laursen 7
Zat Knight 6
Ashley Young 8
Nigel Hokey-Cokey 6
Stiliyan Petrov 6.5
Gareth Barry 6.5
John Carew 6
Gabby Agbonlahor 8
Luke Moore (on for Carew 68)
The Villa Fans
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