Sheriff Kimbo at the Reserves - WHAM!
Tuesday, 1st September/19:00
The reserves started the defence of their title with a superb 4-0 win away at Chelsea. Their first home game, against West Ham, provided a stiffer test, if the final score is anything to go by.
The visitors started off nervously at the back, and Nathan Delfouneso took advantage of some sloppy defending and calmly slotted past the Spammers keeper after only four minutes.
We were playing well and looking good, Osborne and Herd driving things from the middle of the park. This clearly frustrated the West Ham side, who resorted to plenty of niggly fouls. Indeed, Andrea Zola - yep, he is the son of Gianfranco - twice kicked Herd and was lucky to stay on after the second tackle. Soon after, he went up for a header with Isaiah Osborne and left the pitch with an ice-pack on his face, never to return.
Play like his old man, he does not. Part of me likes to think Osborne was playing the role of minder there!
We carried on creating chances with Herd, Delfouneso, Collins and Hofbauer all going close. There was then further trouble as Albrighton got into a shoving match with West Ham`s Anthony Edgar, both players getting booked.
At this point, I`d like to say that the ref was truly awful. Honestly, it`s shocking to say this but he isn`t even good enough to ref in the Prem - now how bad is that! Ha!
Early in the second half, WHAM! had a free-kick and James Collins was unlucky to head it past Marshall. The visitors were certainly providing more of a threat with Anthony Edgar in particular causing problems - on the basis of that performance he looks like a proper player. I was also very impressed with their left-back, Jordan Brown, who did a very good job of nullifying Albrighton.
After about an hour, Gary Gardner entered the fold, replacing Chris Herd. Herd is a good lad who works hard, puts himself about and you can`t help but like. Gary Gardner though, even though a couple of years younger, just seemed to add a bit of class and a bit more of a physical presence - he`s already bigger than his older brother, not that he has achieved much there, Craig being the little dude that he is!
He was soon followed by Adam McGurk, who replaced the less-than-impressive Hoff. After all the injury problems McGurk has had, I don`t think anyone would want to deny him a career in football.
The turning point of the match swiftly followed, Gary Gardner taking the ball on his chest before volleying home with a classy effort, and the Villa once again took control.
After that I thought we would get a third and there was one particular instance where, with four on two we really should have done, but Delfouneso was tackled by the impressive Brown. Whilst it was very good defending, 'The Fonz` will need to take that as a lesson learnt, as a simple pass to one of his three mates charging up the field with him would have been a much better option.
Thankfully it didn`t cost us the game, and the match was won - deservedly so, in the end.
Andy Marshall (7)
Eric Lichaj (6)
Shane Lowry (6)
Isaiah Osborne (7)
Matthew Roome (7)
Nathan Baker (8)
Marc Albrighton (6)
Chris Herd (7)
James Collins (7)
Nathan Delfouneso (8)
Dominik Hofbauer (6)
Gary Gardner (7.5)
Adam McGurk (6)