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Glensider Away At St James Park

2 - 0
Aston Villa

St James Park


Attendance: 44 567


Its late, the early hours of Tuesday morning, I'm tired, and all I can think of to say to kick off this away day report, is what a disappointing night that was.

We had the beating of the geordies, as our first half efforts proved, but once the second half got underway, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Missed first half chances didn't help our cause, but overall, we just didn't do enough.

Three points thrown away? I certainly think so, although I have to say that this rejuvenated Newcastle United team, didn't look anything like a bottom of the table team, particularly during the second forty-five, when they really got their act together. We lacked belief, and we paid the price.

One of the best things about having four of you regularly enjoy car trips to the away games, is that on three of the four occasions when you're not the designated driver, you can kick back, enjoy the view, partake freely in the stops for refreshments, read the days papers, sing along to the in car entertainment, and concentrate 100% on the considerable Villa related debate and discussion that helps eat away the miles.

Todays on route discussions centred around the usual whose performing, who isn't debate, views on the game ahead, possible transfer talk, and which team we'd put out to see off the days opponents, and as today was one of my 'lucky' trips, i.e., not having to drive, I was fully able to enjoy the relatively long trip into the north-east, readily expressing my views on the current Villa Park scene.

With a tough game in Prague coming up on Thursday, we all agreed that we wouldn't be too surprised to see two or three changes to the starting line up tonight, particularly in view of MON's recent comments regarding rotation, and the need for fringe players to step up to the plate.

Imagine then our surprise when arriving at the impressive and somewhat imposing St James Park, we find that our only change from the line-up that started against Blackburn Rovers, was that Big John Carew was in, replacing the injured Stilyan Petrov.

We made our way to our seats, still high up in the gods, but now situated wide to the left behind the goal, and witnessed a reasonably bright start by Mart's Marauders.

Overall it was a fairly even open quarter of an hour, with both sides looking dangerous, but neither keeper was seriously tested.

Duff took a dive in the box, the geordies howling for a spot-kick, yet while the referee clearly wasn't fooled by Duff's theatrics, he decided for some inexplicable reason not to produce a yellow card.

Gabby then wasted a golden opportunity to put us ahead, failing to get his foot on the ball just five yards out, and the geordies responded with Friedel doing well to save from the impressive Joey Barton, who a moment or two earlier appeared to slap Gabby across the face. Don’t know if the tv cameras caught the incident, maybe it wasn't as intentional as it looked, but the referee clearly missed it, or deemed it accidental.

Overall it was an entertaining first half, played in cold, windy conditions, but in truth we should really have gone in at the break a goal or two ahead. Newcastle finished the half brightly, but we had enjoyed the best chances, with Martin Laursen hitting the post, and Gabby's unfortunate air shot.

Optimism amongst the travelling Villa contingent was still very much the name of the game during the break, certainly most in our vicinity believing that we were more than capable of stepping up a gear during the second half, and returning to dear old Brummagem with three very valuable points in the bag.

It wasn't to be. The home team were the ones to raise their game, Martins a lively opponent, keeping our defence on its toes at all times, while Barton, despite being booked shortly after the break for a studs up challenge, continued to look lively in midfield. Martins got himself booked near the hour mark, when after winning a free kick out near the corner flag, he decided to wave the imaginery yellow card in the direction of referee Bennett, and was rightly booked.

Ameobi shot just wide following the resultant free-kick, but within a couple of minutes Newcastle were ahead, following a clever turn and finish from Martins.

Shortly after, Nicky Butt Butt beat Brad Friedel all ends up with a free-kick, but we were all relieved to see the shot clip the post and go wide.

Steve Sidwell, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes after replacing Nicky Shorey, was booked for a challenge on Martins, and it has to be said that by this stage Newcastle were well on top, looking comfortable, as we continued to struggle to create anything.

It was no surprise to anyone when with around ten minutes remaining, the impressive Martins made the game safe for Kinnear's lot, forcing the ball home after good work by Gutierrez, who left NRC for dead out wide.

It was all over bar the shouting, we simply lacked ideas or inspiration. All that lay ahead of us was the long and miserable drive back to Brum.

Right, its just after 2.30 a.m., time I think for me to hit the sheets, particularly as I need to be up at 6.00 a.m.

Disappointed, dejected, but time to focus now on Thursday and that important little encounter over in Prague. Come On You Lions!

Date:Tuesday November 4 2008
Time: 7:46AM


Terrible second half performance. I thought Milner has a particularly poor game along with JC, Gabby and Ashley. I didnt like the position JC was playing, he seemed to be constantly outside the penalty area. NRC, Luke and Laursen played well, but overall we were lethargic and bereft of any kind of creativity. Villa are all about quality crosses and set plays and I didn't see any of those last night. I knew this was going to happen though...even though we won we were second best to Blackburn, Wigan in parts of the game and Portsmouth. TYPICAL BLOODY VILLA - a chance to go third and guess what? We blew it.
04/11/2008 09:15:00
Not sure about a slap across the face, looked like something a bit more sinister to me, dare I say "racist"! Shouldn't be surprised with a scumbag like Barton but overall thought we were pretty poor and its this kind of consistency that will see us struggle to break the "big 4" this season. Up the Villa.
04/11/2008 09:18:00
I thought at times we played some nice football in the first half and suffered from missed chances (bit like Liverpool against Spurs). Carew linked the play up well but never got into a proper goalscoring position which really annoyed me. Milner was really poor and should have been subbed early in the second half. I thought Cuellar got roasted by Martins last night.
04/11/2008 09:42:00
Milner was like a secret agent for the toon and gave the ball away as if his name was Reo-Coker.
04/11/2008 10:09:00
i like Glens last paragraph. good teams are those who knows how to pick themselves up after a defeat, and play the same match. its the same with supporters. pick youselves up guys and support the Villains in the next match away to Prague!
04/11/2008 10:11:00
Got it spot on Glensider! And well done for getting this report online before you went to bed - ain't Newcastle a long way away!!
04/11/2008 10:25:00
A few general comments about this fixture - we have 3 games in a week, a match on Thursday AND this is the furthest Villa fans have to travel for a Premiership game and it is on a Monday night!!! This is ludicrous and I cant believe more has not been said about it and surely a petition by the club should have been given to the FA to demand this game take place on Saturday. Us and other teams in the same situation should all do the same to get games back to some sort of sanity. I have always thought evening games as well as New Years, Boxing Day games etc. being as local as possible!! Anyway as for the game I am so glad we lost 2-0 rather than 1-0 as finally NRC was exposed as a right-back. If O'Neill wants to take Shorey off and put Sidwell in he NEEDS to put Barry back at LB and keep Young at Right Back. The team loses all shape that way with 3 players moving to accommodate 1. We also spent so much in the summer (more than anyone in Europe bar two other clubs) and surely a rotation system would be appropriate!! Is there really that much difference between Davies and Cuellar, Sidwell and Reo-Coker. Are Gardner, Routledge, Harewood so undeserving of a place in a team which clearly is showing tiredness?? I read a stat that we have used less players than any other Premiership team - that is admirable but we have played more games than anyone and it shows that we are therfore keeping players on the park for 90mins more often than not. Against Blackburn we looked knackered so surely resting players should have been done!
04/11/2008 10:28:00
Not surprised by this result. I've taken some stick lately for saying that JK has done a great job at NU. Under him they've given each game a real go. Unlike spuds before HR went their NU have been playing like a team determined to improve results. We've been below par and I felt this would be the game we may lose. This is a big week for us and although it won't define our season I think it will give a real indication of how we'll do. If we finish the week with a result at SP and 3 points from Southgates boys we can be very optimistic. Anything less would be disapointing.
Mister Mick
04/11/2008 10:35:00
melski, agreed, it was very much like liverpool. couldnt believe we werent at least 1-0 up at half time! we were all over them. whole game wouldve been different, they'd have had to come at us desperately and that would play into our hands, what with JC to hold up clearances etc. and gabby's pace to get beyond thier CBs.
04/11/2008 10:42:00
thought milner had a poor game and so did reo coker.his 2nd touch is always a tackle. i never thought last season i'd say this but we missed petrov,some1 with composure. not sure on cueller yet,how can we be a pasing side when everytime he gets it he plays route 1? middlesbrough's a big game, can we get back to winning ways?..............
04/11/2008 10:55:00
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