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West Brom 1 - Aston Villa 2

The Hawthorns

21/09/2008

Attendance: 26 011

Glensider at The Hawthorns

For those of us who were around in the sixties, throughout the seventies, and into the mid-eighties, this game is arguably right up there alongside the Brummagem derby. During that period, in fact probably throughout history, The Baggies have been on a more level playing field with us, than ever have been those lovable rascals from deepest, darkest Small Heath. Yes, the trip up the Soho Road to The Hawthorns has always been a short excursion to savour, if not for the scenery, then very definitely for the mouth-watering, feisty, robust local derby, that all too often awaits us.

With two successive away victories just behind us, including that scintillating performance and excellent result at White Hart Lane, we journeyed there in fine heart, good spirit, and full of confidence.

Glorious September sunshine greeted the players out of the tunnel, the atmosphere in the stadium very typical of the fixture. Martin made three changes from the team that surely ensured progress into the group stages of the UEFA Cup on Thursday night, with John Carew, Ashley Young, and Curtis Davies, all as expected, or certainly as hoped, returning to the starting line up.

It was the hosts who had the first shot on target, Baggies skipper Greening, who has had a much needed hair-cut since the last time I saw him, shot weakly from distance, resulting in an easy gather for Brad, keeping goal in front of the Villa faithful.

Gareth then lost possession, allowing West Brom to break threateningly, but the final ball across goal was wasted, and we breathed again. The Albion though were definitely seeing more of the ball, our lads looking a little lethargic. Ten minutes gone, and Ashley as far as we could recall, hadn't even touched the ball.

He put that to rights though with one of his typical free kicks, finding Big John Carew, who headed narrowly wide. At least it looked as if we were getting to grips with the game, starting to look as if we were up for the task.

End to end action, starting with an Ashley Young corner which we were unable to force home, Albion then broke with pace, Brunt putting in a decent ball, Shorey clearing, and we were back on the attack, only for Gabby to shoot horribly wide.

The Baggies then lost wide man Brunt, who to be honest had looked lively in the opening exchanges, he was replaced by Kim.

We were playing a very direct style, up to Carew as soon as, and whenever possible, hoping that his flick ons etc. would set Gabby free.

The home lot were definitely not getting bored with booing and jeering Curtis, but typical of the young man, it didn't seem to bother him one jot.

They were silenced though at the sight of Scotty Carson picking the ball up out of the back of his net, Big JC connecting with Ash's free kick, heading in off the post. 1-0 to the good guys. Celebration time amongst the travelling faithful. My favourite part of any away trip. You get to hug and cuddle perfect strangers, some pretty decent looking female one's too if its your lucky day.

Sixty seconds later, and The Gab strikes. An Albion defender failed to clear an Ashley Young ball over the top, pushing the ball into Gabby's path, and with thirty minutes gone, its 2-0. The Brummie Road End are silenced, The Smethwick End rocking and rolling. Good finish from Gabby.

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to bask in the comfort zone for too long, Brad Friedel making a hash of a long distance Baggies effort, leaving Morrison to get to the loose ball first, forcing the ball home to reduce the arrears. 2-1 to the good guys, but the Albion are very definitely back in business.

Up to this point Gareth had looked somewhat below par, while Gabby was having himself a fine game. Big JC was showing signs of limping, so the chances of the starting eleven actually seeing out the ninety minutes looked very remote indeed. One or two of our lads were definitely looking a little jaded.

Cracking derby though. Certainly no dull, drab affair this. Its end to end stuff, with Brad Friedel redeeming himself with a top class save from a header, from the head of substitute Kim, I believe it was, probably the smallest player out there. That kept our lead intact, no doubt about it. Brad palmed the header out left handed, Martin Laursen completing the clearance. Great save that Brad.

I think we were all glad to see half-time arrive. Time to take a much needed breather, and rest the old vocal chords. A thoroughly entertaining first forty-five, with we presumed, more of the same to come. Must say, and I never thought/hoped I'd ever have to say this, The Baggies have impressed. They can play some delightful football at times.

Into the second period, and a superb move from the lads see's John Carew clip the outside of the post. The move deserved a goal, and it certainly looked as if JC was set to make it 3-1. 'Hope that isn't costly', said one of my my mates. I nodded in agreement.

Two minutes later, and yet again a glancing header from John Carew hits the woodwork, our popular centre-forward meeting a Stan Petrov cross. Certainly no let up in the action.

Stan Petrov worryingly went down injured, but after treatment he looked o.k. to continue, just as the Albion looked ready to introduce a certain Luke Moore into the action. The guy next to me cheered me up no end, by commenting that the law of the returning ex-Villan always seems to rear its ugly head and kick us in the teeth. I sure needed to hear that.

Sure enough, within a couple of minutes of his arrival, Moore almost forced the ball home, thankfully though Gareth got in a superb blocking tackle. Gareth may not have been at his best today, but what a valuable player he is for us.

It sounds obvious to say, but we needed a third to wrap this one up, and Nigel almost made it three in three, Carson diving low to his left to make the save. It was still end to end stuff, definitely nail-biting time.

A little bit of tension was certainly starting to cloud the Smetwick End. Twenty minutes left a neighbouring supporter announces. Yes, we needed that third killer goal.

MON decides to make a change, well more like three changes in one. James Milner coming on, Nicky Shorey off, Luke Young to left back, NRC back to right back.

John Carew earns himself a yellow card much to the delight of the Albion lot. Big JC has played well today, put himself about, and been a constant handful to the Albion defence. When isn't he a handful to any defence?

Craig Gardner comes on replacing the impressive again, Stilyan Petrov. Ten minutes remaining says our nearby timekeeper. Another Villan delights in telling us that Albion were 2-1 down to West Ham but came back to win! Someone asks whether he has anymore encouraging news to impart (or words to that effect).

Our Nigel looks knackered, but he's been top notch again today. 'We have to keep the ball, keep the ball', the young lady behind me yells in my ear.

Not long left now, four or five minutes maybe, but this is where we always seem to be at our most vulnerable.

Ashley gets himself a yellow card, as Carlos Cuellar comes on to make his premiership debut, replacing John Carew. Anxious faces around me, particularly when they announce four minutes of added time. Where the hell did four minutes come from?

Finally the ref decided that enough was enough, and there were jubilant celebrations in the Smethwick End. Another very valuable three points.

Touch and go at times perhaps, but I think that overall we shaded it.

As for our Man Of The Match? Curtis Davies and Martin Laursen definitely staked a claim, but I have to give it to Nigel Reo-Coker.

Right, home for Sunday lunch. The afternoon gets better.

For what its worth, here are the markings of the Glensider jury, as judged and awarded in the heat of battle:-

Star Player

Davies, Laursen and Reo-Coker

Player Ratings


Friedel - 6

.

L.Young - 6

.

Davies - 8

.

Laursen - 8

.

Shorey - 5

.

Reo-Coker -8

.

Petrov - 7

.

Barry - 5

.

A Young - 6

.

Agbonlahor - 7

.

Carew - 7

.

Subs

Subs not really on long enough to fairly evaluate.

(James Milner 74)(Craig Gardner 83) (Carlos Cuellar 89)




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The Journalist

Writer: Glensider Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 21 2008

Time: 3:16PM

Your Comments

Excellent report as ever. Great 3 points, think Villa are showing a resiliance at the moment and look like they really mean business this season. Superb!
The Fear
Great game for the neutral. It would have been a whole lot more comfortable if big JC had had better luck with the woodwork. I must admit to a soft spot for the Baggies. My grandfather was a Baggies fan (he was great apart from that lol) and I used to spend every second weekend at the Hawthorns with a mate in the sixties (yes, it really was that long ago!) before I was old enough to do away matches. Good times. Better ones ahead! :o)
BobTheBuilder
Great report. Another fantastic result for the Villa! Happy days...Carew was immense.
olafthegreat
The way we are shaping up reminds me of the team of 81, resilient at the back, a good mix of skill and aggression in midfield and quick on the break. We are definitely going places this season.
Nigel-not-Reo
all of Carews shot hit the left bar. and 1 went in! hahahh
Gruck
Thanks GS for another report which although I watched the second half on Sky recreates some of the atmosphere (not the fear) I recall from the early 80's meetings.
fatloser
I`ve never looked upon the Olbion as a Derby game, they do and claim their ground is half in Birmingham. A local match yes, and they are our nearest rivals, but I cinsider them to be just a midland club. Still good to wipe the floor with them though, 3 points is 3 points.
Fletch
Another great report from the "Man at the Match" only things is the line ..We were playing a very direct style, up to Carew as soon as, and whenever possible, hoping that his flick ons etc. would set Gabby free:: will have some azzole shouting the odds about Villa going route one long ball when in fact the result confirmed Villa can get a result under pressure anywhere. Progress indeed.
col8
Great read again Glensider just like watching the game for a second time ! Keep them coming. A win is A win ...... pity that post stopped two of them :( Liverpoo look out we are coming for you !!!! ;)
Mutt_Man
i think the direst style was cos MON saw that WBA are not comfortable with the style of play, especially the inexperienced Barnet, and it worked!
krisvilla
Super report Glensider, I look forward to reading these. UTV
DO'L
Great game, Great result, Gret report =]
Blitz
Made a rod for my own back there didn't I Col? Guess I'll live to regret including that phrase in the report, although I'm fairly confident that the azzole in question wont concern himself with reading my views. Thanks for the kind comments gents, much appreciated. Reports probably not as professional as they should be/ought to be, but in my defence I'm writing without the aid of tv replays etc. I base everything I write on what I see 'live', but I'm delighted they seem reasonably popular all the same. Great result, and with three away from home victories achieved in the space of less than a week, we can all feel proud of MON and the lads. Bring on QPR says I, although the squad is probably wishing it could take a well earned breather.
glensider
Top report GS. Wonder if those slagging off Gabby earlier on this week saying he 'needed a smack around the head', 'he will never make a decent striker', 'he is lazy' and 'should be benched', will be on here today slagging somebody else off. Or whether thay will be on here apologising for being the muppets that they are? It frightens me that these people are allowed to vote. 3 away games in 6 days, 3 victories later and Villa are on the roll. To go away to Bulgaria minus 3 regulars (4 if you include Bouma), win ugly but then come back and beat this seasons local rivals on their own patch is phenomenal. I wonder if this means the fans will be out in force on Wednesady night to show their appreciation, or if VP will be less than 3 quarters full?
voiceoftheholte
anyone know why we were so quiet today?? was supposed to be a midlands derby and we were outsung most of the game! cant have been the early kick off cuz that didnt stop the baggies fans. great result but i cant remember the last time we were so quiet. surey no one was happy with baggies fans singing 'your support is ****ing s**t'??!
cat_shafton
Sunday is always a good time for confession and I have to say that I have always liked the Baggies. Perhaps it's because when my Dad went to Brum in the 1950s, he latched onto them. He used to talk ever so slightly disaparagingly of the "Hall of Memory" team. However, my own latching took me in the direction of B6 and on my first ever visit to Brum, the pair of us went to VP to watch Bolton being hockeyed 3-0. So whilst I'd always want to beat them and am delighted we did them over today, I hope they'll stay in the Premier League. Blues of course should learn to know their place in the order of things and stay where they belong in the Championship.
BBJ
BBJ, good point well made. Except I think the porn dealing, sty dwelling, dildo selling chavs from Somali Heath do not deserve to be in the Championship. They should be where they belong and that is about 10 divisions below the Conference.
voiceoftheholte
Good win but im concerned about our lack of clean sheets. Interesting fact - the last 11 villa games have averaged 4 goals per game! 27 for, 17 against.
NorthcliffeBandit
"... we can all feel proud of MON" Whoa, Glensider, you'll have avfc frothing at the mouth! :o) But seriously, what I really like about MON (almost as much as us winning -- or perhaps not quite) is the man's passion. I swear he spends half of every match leaping in the air with joy when we score, and the other half rolling on the floor in disappointment when we don't!
BobTheBuilder
MON is TOO funny with his emotions. Gotta love him.
los_angeles_villan
Dont worry BobTheBuilder, the gentleman that you to refer to, is the very last person I concern myself with. Sadly voiceoftheholte, your comments regarding Gabby are so true. The guy gets flak thrown his way left, right, and centre, for reasons I just cant fathom. I do detect though that the storm clouds are gathering over another undeserving target in Nicky Shorey, so maybe Gabby is about to get some respite, as the boo-boys and jeer brigade target another one of our quality squad. They are not happy if they haven't got a scapegoat to target, and the annoying thing is, that most of the boo-boys are non-attendee's. Go fathom.
glensider
Yeah, I noticed that Shorey looks likely to be the next victim. I dunno what it is about Villa. Some fans always pounce on a player almost the instant that he falls away from the herd. I guess we are called the Lions though. Maybe that's it?
Rawlie
geez we sit quite deep when we defend don't we it makes for a nervous afternoon. Davies has been brilliant so far this season, our best player so far i'd say. I thought gabby had a great game too (still lazy though). shorey struggled though and will have to pick up his act if he wants to keep bouma out of the side when he gets back, but its still early days though. Hey Voice, ***** off and let people have an opinion you grumpy d1ck head
liamo1981
Liamo. Me grumpy. I would say I am one of the most positive posters on here. Not everybody agrees with what I say, but it is about opinions. But you have shown your true colours. Not only were you slagging Gabby last week, you had to slag him again in this post. A local lad scores the winning goal in a local derby and you feel a need to have a pop at him. The media were drooling over him and Carew, but you obviously know better than people in the game. As for me being a d1ck head. Maybe? Maybe not? But when you re read the post and see that following 3 great away victories in a week you decide to slag Gabby, Shorey, the defence in general and me, it might be worth having a look in the mirror. Is it to much to ask for fans to start being positive instead of always finding something to critisise? I bet you and all your friends could have a party in a telephone box?
voiceoftheholte
Gabby was well up for it being a local lad in a derby. Still don't think that he is a striker, but as a general attacking player at moving the ball forward and causing defenders bother with his pace there is no-one better.
Villan444
Thought Gabby had a good game yesterday. Great report Glen please keep em coming. Feels like i was there instead of crisping myself in Barbados! It's a hard life
TuBBz
If I'd have known that you were sunning yourself out in the Caribbean TuBBz, while we all are slaving away over here, I'd have made that report inaccessible for non U.K. based readers.
glensider
You know what VoiceoftheHolte - you really r a pretentious Muppet. I explained my points regarding Gabby & at no point did I say he was a bad player, I think he is a good player who as the potential to be a great player, but for me its a bit frustrating seeing him not achieve his own natural greatness. Just so that you grasp, another point - in SA almost 80-90% of EPL matches are screened here, so I get to see how the team plays almost every week. I have also coached football so I do have a reasonable idea of how players perform. Whether I see the match live at Villa Park is not the point. The point is that all players have ability, but technique is about putting ability into action in a really match situation. I love the way this team is performing and I have followed them thorough the highs and lows over the last 17 years and I follow this website regularly and even though I may not comment on every issue and I very seldom slag of any of our players or manager, but this time round I thought it was only fitting to respond to your point, so let me have my own freaking opinion and you go jump of the third step of your staircase.
Pablo1978
I thought this website was a forum for villa fans to voice opinions, sometimes they maybe controversial opinions and sometimes just plain great opinions that everyone agrees with. There are not many Villa fans in SA that I can converse with and this website is my salvation, my way of just blowing of some steam when I am frustrated with the team and other times a platform where I can be really proud of the team. So tell me folks have I really been such a bad guy to VOTH.
Pablo1978
i wasn't slagging gabby i said he had a great game but that he is lazy. i dont think that we have to praise player constantly just because they play for villa. i just try to state the facts. so you think shorey had a good game on the weekend do you? because if you do it just goes to show how little you know about football. or do we have to ignore anything bad that happens at villa do we? just because its villa. I said your grumpy because you jumped on here and had a go people, making massive assumptions because you think your the biggest villa fan in the history of the world and thats also why i think you are a d1ck.
liamo1981
miaoww fella. You keep slagging off the Villa and I will keep praising them. As I said I would have more respect if you spent more time praising 3 great away victories in a week instead of negative nit picking. As for being the greatest Villa fan, you haven't got a scooby doo have. There are thousands more who put more time, effort, commitment and money in to the Villa than I ever will. M'ON keeps picking the 'lazy' Gabby, so he must be wrong and you must be right, 'cause after all you are a coach of higher standing than M'ON and obviously know better.
voiceoftheholte
Well i never said he sould be dropped, and i never said that MO'N was wrong to pick him, i actually said he had a great game. So you can just keep making stuff up to try to conjure up a point if you like, but its a bit pathetic. I said that he was lazy, and he could do more to pressure opposition defences when teams are on the counter which i'll stand by. The reason why i mentioned it was because he was being praised by commentators and opposition supporters about his perfcormances this year and last. I didn't totally agree with this and wanted to see if others who watch villa every week thought the same. it turned out people did agree because straight away people replied saying the same as what i thought. now i don't think there is anything wrong with asking these questions of players in the team you support. but if you want to keep praising players whether they are playing good or bad you can, but for me that is a bit boring. i just want to talk football by stating what i think are facts and i think we are all old enough to hear them.
liamo1981
 

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