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Villa Romp Home v Boro

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Aston Villa

Riverside Stadium


Attendance: 23 900


Report by Vital Villa's very own away correspondent Glensider!

Always one of the favourite away trips of the season for yours truly, made even better this time around because it was our first 3.00 p.m. Saturday afternoon away day kick off. How football has changed since the early seventies when we made our first trip to Teeside and Ayresome Park. The destination nowadays of course is to the considerably more modern and impressive looking Riverside Stadium The drive up to Middlesbrough gave us the opportunity to conduct a post-mortem into England's disastrous European Championship campaign, a discussion that lasted all of five minutes, before we turned our attention to more important matters, namely MON's decision to turn his back on the F.A., followed by almost three hours of solid AVFC talk, including how we are doing, where we are going, who are we going to sign come the new year, and whether or not a top six placing is within our reach. Arriving in Middlesbrough city centre at close to 1.00 p.m., we parked up, and headed off to The Hairy Lemon to lubricate our vocal chords with a pint or three, and then it was on and into the stadium.

As we somewhat expected Scott Carson came in for plenty of verbal abuse from the locals following his England performance the other evening, as to a lesser extent did Gareth Barry. Scott started nervously, slicing a Zat Knight back pass horrendously, before allowing a Stewart Downing shot to squirm under his body and roll just wide of the net. Fortunately our on-loan keeper grew in confidence, helped considerably by the fact that Boro looked arguably the poorest opposition we've faced this season, and posed no threat up front whatsoever. The first half was pretty dire, a poor advertisement for premiership football, but just when it looked as if both teams would return to the dressing room for their half-time tongue lashings from two frustrated and angry managers, Gareth delivered a superb ball in from the left, Big John swivelled past England under 21 defender Wheater, and buried the ball past Mark Schwarzer. 1-0 to the good guys, and suddenly the chilly, wet, overcast afternoon on Teeside didn't seem so bad after all.

Attacking 'our end' in the second forty-five the lads were soon well into their stride, and when Lee Cattermole made a complete and utter mess of an attempted routine clearance, the ball fell rather invitingly for that ace predator Olof Mellberg to tuck the ball past Schwarzer for goal number two. Cue mad celebrations for the 2,000 or so travelling Villans, and for Olof Mellberg, whose beaming face and joyful celebration showed just how much the goal meant to him personally. His first goal since opening day last season in the 1-1 draw at The Emirates. We didn't have to wait too long before it was game, set, and match, with Gabby getting onto the end of a long clearance from Scott Carson, holding off Woodgate, and firing a right footed effort past Schwarzer to make it 3-0. Game over.

There was never any likelihood of another White Hart Lane collapse, Boro just didn't have it in them. Gabby nearly made it four when he hit the post, but apart from that we seemed more than content to simply play out time. It looks like a long, hard winter ahead for Gareth Southgate, and with attendances dropping alarmingly, its obvious that the Boro faithful are far from happy with their situation. Give them credit though, they didn't turn against Southgate or their team, and chanted throughout singing the praises of their chairman Steve Gibson, but they showed their displeasure by streaming out in droves long before the end. The travelling Villans meanwhile did their very best to pass on advice to Brian Barwick and his cohorts at the Football Association, by gleefully, if somewhat cruelly, chanting 'Southgate For England'.

So there we are. Another three points on the march for a top six placing, and a result that sets us up nicely for Wednesday's trip to Ewood Park, for what will no doubt be a much tougher work-out than we faced at The Riverside. Man of the Match today I'd say was shared between Gabby, Freddie Bouma, and Olof. It was far from a great Villa performance, Boro were sadly lacking, but winning away from home by a 3-0 scoreline doesn't happen every week, so all credit to Martin and the lads for that.

Blackburn Rovers here we come.

Date:Sunday November 25 2007
Time: 9:57AM

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Yet another great read form yourself Glensider. I listened to the game on the radio and i have to say that our away fans were superb and it was even said that they gave Scott Carson a boost. So well done fans and well done MON and the lads !!! UTV
25/11/2007 11:04:00
Great read. Was at the game myself as I always love the boro games getting one over my old mates having lived up there myself. Pretty poor first half helped by carew who really looks international class scoring just before half time. Had it in the bag from there, was nice for melberg to score and Gabby should have had two really but one will do. A guy behind me had a bet on for carew to score first and us to win 3-0 was 80-1 and he put 3 squid on it, lucky. Bouma was man of the match for me.
25/11/2007 12:02:00
nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing that horse faced ***** southgate struggle.
25/11/2007 17:30:00
Great 3 points. Blackburn is going to be a completely diiferent game, although bennie McCarthy went off injured against Fulham tonight so with any luck he might miss wednesday.
25/11/2007 18:37:00
good to see Carew score, and Gabbi can't stop scoring right now. To be honest i kind of expected this result. Have it!
The Usual Suspect
26/11/2007 07:41:00
Couldn't agree more with the report. We outsang the Boro fans all the way through and Carson got fantastic support from the Villa fans. The myth that supporters in the North East are fanatical was dispelled by the fact that only 23,000 could be bothered to turn out and 3,000 of those were Villa fans! Only the one drunken idiot in our end, although the fact that he fell flat on his face after Gabby's goal was quite satisfying! Poor first half performance but Carew's goal came just at the right time and Olof's goal effectively killed the game. The only negative for me was Zat Knight. His lapses in concentration and stupid errors are worrying. Surely Davies is better than that? Bouma was my man of the match, closely followed by Gabby.
26/11/2007 08:43:00
Great report. We all know that 'if' is one of the longest words in the football dictionary but 'if' we were to win our next 2 games then we would be just 3 points off the top spot with almost half the season gone. Damn that Martin O'Neil, he hasn't signed a right back, he plays Zat Knight, Petrov is rubbish, Harewood has cost us a zillion points already, he paid to much for Ashley Young ........ blah blah blah. He obviously hasn't got a clue has he? We've stuffed the Sty Dwellers, beat Chelski, won three on the bounce and 8 of the bottom half of the table are still to come to Villa Park. Attendances are up, we are happy with the board. Nearly everyone who is anyone in the game thinks that M'ON is the best manager for the England job, but still there are people who obviously have more knowledge than those who have been in the game for years, who doubt M'ON. We may get stuffed Wednesday and Saturday. There will continue to be up and down, good and bad days. But I am more and more confident that we are a club on the march.
26/11/2007 10:32:00
Just let me make a slight amendment, glensider. "Gabby getting onto the end of a long clearance from Scott Carson, holding off Woodgate, and firing a right footed effort past Schwarzer to make it 3-0." 'Past' should read 'through'. Otherwise, great read.
26/11/2007 16:56:00
Thankyou Carlosio. A mere technicality I think, but please remember that I'm writing from what I actually 'saw' at the game, I'm not enjoying the benefit of t.v. highlights or multiple replays, and as we all well know, the old eyes can often play tricks on us, particularly during the excitement and/or jubilation involved in a game. I will attempt to be as accurate as possible, always reporting what I see both action and performance wise. I knew that Schwarzer had got a partial block on it, but under the circumstances, as the ball ended up in the back of the net, I believed that the word 'past' would adequately suffice on this occasion.
26/11/2007 17:59:00
Watching Sky Sports it sounded lile Boro were the better side in the first half. I think the scoreline may well be papering over some cracks, but atleast MON was man enough to admit that.
27/11/2007 09:45:00
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