Villa Beat Bees..Sorry Tigers
Attendance: 39 307
Ok, that wasn't the worlds best game, in fact at times it was a bore fest BUT the main thing - at this stage of the season the ONLY thing (?) - is that we won.
Hopefully the three points and the fact that we actually rode out a late storm - something of late we've not been able to do - might just settle the nerves for the three tricky games we have coming up which could take us to a 5th place finish and another season of improvement not to mention automatic European qualification, the first for 11 years?
I know the arguments about the quality, one fan shouted something to MON late on in the second half about the game and he was told to 'shut your trap, just shut your mouth'. Ok, fair enough!
MON looked a man of many worries, he wasn't his usual bubbling and energetic self so I'm sure the pressure release of a win will do him as much good as the players and us fans. I do wish he'd ignore any dissenters, the majority of fans are supporting the team and if someone wants to express an opinion the boss doesn't agree with, I'd think ignoring it would be the best way, many others have over the years, David O'Leary being the notable exception and Graham Taylor being the example of good grace (under some very extreme and uncalled for abuse).
As for the game, Villa were by far the better team in the first half - although being better than Hull in their current form isn't really that difficult, they were nearly as bad as Stoke City who were awful (yes, I know they fought back and got a draw in the end but I don't remember seeing a worse performance from an away side for many years). I'm sure Hull are thankful for the early results which might just be enough to save them but they have a tough summer coming up and some re-thinking to do, they won't get away with playing like they did last night next season.
The one exception for Hull was Boaz Myhill who pulled off several outstanding saves, most notably from a great shot by the otherwise subdued Gareth Barry. Boaz used to be a Villan, on the strength of his performance last night, maybe he could/should be again?!
John Carew popped up again to score, he seems to be enjoying doing that again which is a great sign. Ok, ok, it might have been a 'little' offside but hey, luck works both ways and we've had some bad breaks as well recently. Poor Gabby looks short of confidence and energy at the moment, he had a few chances to go on runs only to pass the ball, a couple of times to Hull players, and did miss a very very good chance which Myhill parried away but should have been in the back of the net. He needs a break, we saw from his drought last season that one goal brought a few more straight after. The pressure is on but maybe he'll get something for us and himself v Fulham!
This will be an unusually short match ramble (can't call this a report really can I?!) as I'm packing to fly over to Cleveland... hurrah... but I must admit I'm relieved to be going with Villa still 5th, still pushing for our best season finish in years and with everything still very much in our hands. I'm also really looking forward to this season ending now, maybe we'll all relax in the summer, see some smashing arrivals ready for the assault on the top four next year and hopefully we'll have learnt that all cups are serious and will start to really challenge for silverware.
Stats, match reaction and video highlights available on the front page.
Brad Friedel 6
Luke Young 7
Nickey Shorey 8
Curtis Davies 7
Zat Knight 7
Ashley Young 7
Gareth Barry 6.5
Stiliyan Petrov 6.5
James Milner 7.5
John Carew 7.5
Gabby Agbonlahor 6
Heskey 85 (on for Carew)
Nigel Hokey Cokey (90 )
Craig Gardner (90)
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