Aston Villa - Villa 1-0 Fulham - Match Report
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Villa 1 - Fulham 0

Villa Park

10/3/12 15:00

Attendance: 32,372

Villa 1-0 Fulham - Match Report

It`s been a while since we experienced three points at home, and despite a rare yet encouragingly dominant performance by the claret and blues, it looked like that winless run was going to continue some more until the introduction of three academy graduates.

Strangely enough, or not as the case may be, the last two Villa home victories have come in the midst of 'special edition` matchdays, as the victory during Acorns Day this afternoon was preceded by Bonfire Night`s win against Norwich, that was labelled 'Armed Forces Day`.

So yeah, it was great to finally get more than one point out of a home game. This was due in no small part to McLeish`s substitutions. I`ll admit that even I just didn`t get the N`Zogbia sub. At the time it just seemed that it would do nothing but weaken our attacking options, but I suppose that when push comes to shove managers live and die by their decisions. Given the role of all the subs in the winning goal, McLeish`s contribution to this game will go down as a positive one.

I thought the atmosphere around the ground was quite good today too, despite the relatively low attendance. For me, the crucial factor in figures as low as today`s is that the match-by-match buyers tend to be the biggest moaners, apologies, which has a negative influence on the atmosphere. When the spectatorship is reduced to just mainly the season ticket holders, patience tends to prevail a little more, as opposed to the high post-O`Neill years expectation.

Just a quick note on how good some of our players were today too. Honourable mentions have to go to Chris Herd, Stephen Ireland (again, somewhat unsurprisingly) and Charles N`Zogbia. Herd and Petrov`s partnership looks to be a promising one, and it allows Stan to get forward and get his foot on the ball, something we lack ever so slightly after Robbie Keane`s departure. Carlos Cuellar looked solid again and did a good job, which seems to have even managed to rub off on James Collins. Even Alan Hutton looked half decent, which is perhaps how we know we had a good day at the office…

The first half I thought was one of our best home halves of the season so far. We were aggressive, hassled Fulham high up the pitch and didn`t let them play. Not only that, but we managed to assert ourselves well on the game too and dominated play from almost start to finish, but despite that didn`t really have many clear cut chances.

N`Zogbia had two minor efforts on goal with a shot and header, and James Collins had a go too, but the most serious chance of a half played in a way that belied Villa`s recent home form came between those two. A mistake by Mr 'Is He Still Playing?` Danny Murphy allowed Brummie starlet Gabby the opportunity to race through on goal, but had a weaker footed shot saved by Fulham`s 113 year old goalkeeper.

It`s fair to say that not much else happened in the rest of the first half, but I think most of us at half time were just thinking about the possibility of us sitting back and allowing Fulham back into the game, as happened against Blackburn, and although Fulham did improve, we didn`t have a great deal to worry about in the end.

From a Villa perspective at least, things did seem to go a bit flat and stale, if not catastrophic, before Marc Albrighton hit the bar with a well struck shot that seemed to have beaten Fulham`s Aussie stopper. It was then Fulham`s turn to hit the woodwork, after Mr 'Bloody Hell I Forgot About Him` Damien Duff was played in by ex Liverpool left back and alleged Villa target had Houllier stayed, John Arne Riise.

It was at this point where the anxiety at the thought of our recent performances crept in, and McLeish`s at-the-time confusing but now undoubtedly genius (*that was sarcasm, comment warriors…) substitutions took effect.

Just when we were braced and ready for another point, up stepped Gary Gardner to fizz a shot towards the top corner. It couldn`t be held on to, and Andy Weimann made the most of the error to force it home at the second time of asking to give us a much needed victory.

Given the difference in points, goal difference, and ultimately the utter gash-ness between us and the bottom three, I think we are entitled to begin breathing a little easier. Of course, we need to follow this up with a victory over Bolton for it to mean a great deal, and this is Villa we`re talking about, but being closer to Liverpool than the relegation zone does put things into a bit of perspective.

Have a great week guys, and I`ll see you a week on Tuesday. Up the Villa!

Star Player

Chris Herd.

The Journalist

Writer: Holte139 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 10 2012

Time: 9:36PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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What a keeper blunder for the goal, lucky Eck very lucky
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10/03/2012 21:44:00

There are plenty of positves to take from today's game. Not least the clean-sheet, which proved the perfect base for fortune to favour the brave. It was brilliant that youngsters like Gardner and Weimann can make such a positive contribution, which should give them a real sense that they are making progress with their careers. Weimann was definitely Über den Mond. His goal was a just reward for his long battle back from his injury.
Steve Wade
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10/03/2012 22:06:00

Good result, decent performance all round. All we need is Gabby to score again before the end of the season and we'll be happy. Well, not happy - unless Idiot finally leaves the building.
Pride of Lions
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11/03/2012 00:37:00

i'll take these points even if the goal came off the ref's left knee. speaking of clean sheet....Shay Given must have been a very happy chappy...and i'd imagine the back 4 as well....thought Hutton had a great game and Ireland worked his socks off
Report Abuse
11/03/2012 08:43:00

The result was everything. The performance was average against an average Fulham side. We look on wins with claret tinted spectacles, but it is important to take out positives. We didn't really look like conceeding. Given barely had a save of note to make. Both teams hit the woodwork. Schwarzer only had one diving save to make all game and when you analyze this it typifies the normal McMuppet style of football. Keep it tight and hopefully we can sneak a goal. And that is exactly what happened. If for my season tickets I am expected to be happy with games where neither keeper has a lot to do then I am sorry that simply isnt good enough. We were playing Fulham who have only won twice away from home this season. Whilst we were the better of 2 average teams in the first half, Fulham were probably the better in the second. Would I have accepted 1 0 before the game started . . . . to bloody right I would have. Would I accept that this is the type of performance we are likely to see on a regular basis . . . . . not a chance. It was average but the result will cloud everything else. Given had little to do. The defence was solid but collins overuse of the hoof is exasperating. Midfield was hard working, but created very little in clear cut chances. Gabi worked and had one chance handed to him by a mistake, and made their keeper work for the only time in the game. McMuppet out.
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11/03/2012 12:53:00

All are delihghted about Weimann's goal - but I think it deserves more recognition what a brilliant goal it was. Not a 25 yarder or a subtle chip, but a real striker's goal. Someone looking for the opportunity that might come rather than reacting to a ball at their feet. Someone determined to ge the ball in the net by whatever means. Someone quick off the mark. Not a goal that would have been scored by Bent, Gabby, even Peter Withe at his best. A young Brian Little, or most comparably, Gary Shaw might have scored it. Here's hoping we have a real 6 yard box striker on our hands, as well as a player capable of banging in them in from anywhere else too!
Report Abuse
11/03/2012 17:17:00

Good point well made Stenny. Only time will tell if he is a goal scorer or not though. Luke Moore, Stefan Moore, Vassell, Delfonesou, Carruthers and more have all looked like being the 'one' over the last few years and none have quite made the impact that Gary Shaw or Brian Little did.
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11/03/2012 17:58:00

Like Moore made an impact yesterday apparently!! High hopes for AW. :)
Adam Deuce
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12/03/2012 06:49:00

* Luke. I've just watched Luke's winner against Man City (It's Monday morning, just got in from a 18 hour shift). I see Ex Villa player Wayne Routledge provided the cross. Brilliant! They buy 2 of our best players and it's two of our rejects that potentially scupper their title challenge. There's some cold comfort in that I think!! Lol
Adam Deuce
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12/03/2012 07:09:00

Good point stenny. Agree completely. Reminded me of Lineker at his best. These kind of players will do anything to get the ball over the line once they get a sniff and are very fast over 5 yards. Look forward to more goals and frankly I don't care if they're all like this. The best strikers are just as happy scrambling the ball in whilst looking ungainly and will capitalise on mistakes in the 6-yard box because they react quicker than others and don't mind scoring first and getting their hair right for the camera second.
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12/03/2012 09:00:00

The defence looks so much better without dunne but gabby needs to be dropped
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12/03/2012 13:29:00

Any one else not think its a co-incidence that since Dunney got injured we have only conceded 1 goal in 3 games... Tougher tests to come but I think that may have helped McLeish a little
Chelt Villan
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12/03/2012 13:33:00


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