Pills, Thrills And Burnley Bellyaches
Attendance: 34 618
I love Cup games, at £10 a head, (£9 for season ticket holders) I must admit it baffles me why the place wasn't full - not just us though, loads of grounds had worse attendances I'm sure. Still, onto the game.
We'll have a new match reporter later I believe, something to look forward to instead of my rambles... however.
Burnley impressed me, at times they were all over us like a rash and were unlucky in some ways to go home the losers. However they did go home the losers and we march on. That is why I love the Cups so much!
The game started brightly enough although there was a bit of confusion as to why Villa had no strikers on the pitch. A new master tactic perhaps?! To be fair, Ashley Young could become a striker - remember Thierry Henry went from the wing to become a truly great striker (and if I remember rightly, was truly awful to begin!) and Stephen Ireland does know where the goal is as well. Still, I guess a more obvious choice would have been Nathan Delfouneso, I hope he gets his chance. Still young, I'm sure he will.
The team were full of bright young talent, the Cup is a great testing ground for them, it is only great for us the fans if we win though, if not the Spanish (or in this case French) inquisition starts. I've not read our match thread in the forum yet but I'm sure it is full of its share of doomsayers and as always, will reflect the roller coaster ride of the game.
We had our chances and, ahem, most unusually for us, cough cough, weren't clinical enough in front of goal. It looked like a 0-0 and extra time all the way. That isn't to say it wasn't a good game though, there was plenty of incident, mostly from the woeful referee. I asked him when he came close to where I sit if he was on there for a joke and if he'd been put up to it to make the decisions as comical as possible. He really was dire.
It took good old Emile Heskey to come on and get us a goal, that with just four minutes left. Game over, job done. Nah, with Villa nothing is ever that simple, a poor decision for a free kick (Heskey tackled and got the ball, the ref blew anyway) led to panic in our defence - who were pretty solid last night judging by the fact we had a couple of the youngsters in there (in fact despite the sponsors giving Cuellar the man of the match, the one youngster Ciaran Clark was many peoples mofm, beaten just by Friedel for me) - and there you had it, 1-1
It had taken 86 minutes for the first goal, 89 for the second, surely no one would score in extra time at that rate? GOALLLL! Stuart Downing, on as a sub, looked like he had missed his chance to score, he'd run the ball too far across the box, however he had time to run back (!) and then shot with such venom (having missed a much easier chance earlier) that the keeper stood no chance.
THAT was the win and no mistake!
Well, sort of. We did have one more incident when Marc Albrighton was sent off. Now the decision for him to walk was the right one, he was the last defender and he pushed over the Burnley player. HOWEVER... how come the same didn't happen to the Burnley player in the first half who did the same? The referee, as I've said already, was on for a joke!
Oh and Ashley Young, one on one with the keeper, missed the chance to put the tie beyond reach. Nigel Reo-Coker had also missed a great chance in (I think?... it is all a blur now!) normal time, he desperately needs a goal to prove to himself he can score, be good if he shot where the keeper wasn't in future maybe?!
Oh when the Villa, go marching on.... oh when the Villa go marching on.
What a roller coaster though, as cup games should be I guess!
Draw is on Saturday...
Stats: Click Here
Brad Friedel 9
Carlos Cuellar 7
Habib Beye 6
Eric Lichaj 6
Ciaran Clarke 7.5
Steve Sidwell 4
Marc Albrighton 5.5
Barry Bannan 6
Nigel Hokey-Cokey 7
Ashley Young 6
Stephen Ireland 5.5
Emile Heskey 7
Stuart Downing 7