Crouch Spoils Villa Party
Attendance: 42 590
It really is a funny old game isn't it? The first 69 minutes were frankly horrible for the Villa, we couldn't string more than one pass together and kept giving the ball away, something no one wants to do when you are up against a team like Liverpool who spent £45million in the summer on top of an already star studded team.
That said, Liverpool didn't exactly cover themselves in glory and despite going one up, never took their chances from the amount of possession we gave them. All it was going to take for Villa was a spark but from the players on the pitch you really couldn't see where the spark was coming from, certainly not the central midfield partnership of Nigel Hokey-Cokey and Stiliyan Petrov who really lost the battle all game long.
On came Marlon Harewood, oh no some thought but within a minute OH YES we all thought. What a great goal and how well deserved after being on the bench (if lucky) but not moaning once since his arrival from West Ham in the summer. Makes you wonder why he's not had more 10-15 minute stints (at least) at the end of many a game this season when Villa have seemingly been drifting... I digress.
So 69 minutes woeful, amongst the worst from many of our team all season. Then a couple of minutes of joy and we were two up the second goal coming for a pass from Olof Mellberg - who was seen chuckling later - that cruelly deflected into the American owned [ ;o) ] goal. 2-1 and the momentum all Villa's way. Then a break, we were two players against one defender, all Gabby had to do was lay it off to Nigel Hokey-Cokey (or the Villa player on his left, I can't remember who that was) and it would have been 3-1 game over. Gabby has to learn to look up and take the easy option sometimes, he is quick of feet, when he becomes quick of footballing brain as well, he'll be awesome.
Chance 'squandered' and with Crouch coming on it was obvious what was going to happen. A cross that - of all people - Martin Laursen failed to deal with and 2-2 was the result.
To be fair, for the first 69 mins I'd have taken a draw with no doubt at all, having taken the lead and lasted until the 88th minute though, you can't help but feel disappointed (very limited disappointment) that we just can't close off matches and have some professional time killing.
Oh well, we match a team just below us in Blackburn at home on Saturday, we need all 3 points v them and if we have the same luck that we had tonight plus string more than one pass at a time together, we'll get the 3 points no worries...ahem!
Match stats: Click Here
Not sure it is worth rating the players after an awful 69 mins.
Marlon Harewood (on for Gardner 66)
Zat Knight (On for Carew on 91 mins)