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Villa 1-1 Stoke - Match Report

1 - 1

Villa Park

9/4/12 17:30

Attendance: 30,100


When I write these match reports, I normally aim to do around about 800 words, I think that`s about right considering that a lot of people will read match reports in other forms too, not too short and not too long, but I`ve got to tell you that I really am struggling to fulfil that number for this game.

I gave a bit of instant reaction on my Twitter account earlier saying along the lines that the draw was disappointing, but it`s no less than you can expect if the limit of your ambitions is going to be to play for the draw against a team that are so easily capable of physically dominating you.

This was an absolutely dire game, but it was made worse by the fact that we were playing the one side who quite possibly play worse football than us in Stoke City. In the past, I`ve been keen to try not to fall for the 'Stoke always play terrible football` stereotype, as they do have some very good players like Etherington and Crouch. But today it was abundantly clear that Stoke were going to hoof the ball up the pitch at any opportunity and stop us playing simply by barging us out of the way.

But, of more concern to us is McLeish`s persistence in trying to play a direct, at best, game when it`s obvious to anyone who is blessed with sight that it just will not work. Us sitting back after we scored today merely served to give Stoke a platform to get back into the game. This was because of the fact that we have a lot of small, slightly built players who are young and still developing their respective games. So, with their style of play it just became ridiculously easy for them to boss us around, and I can see that with almost zilch experience of playing, so why can`t McLeish?

We weren`t helped by a terrible performance by the officials that denied us some obvious free kicks that could potentially have relieved the pressure, but the problem with that is that all referees are now poor, and it`s easy to see why managers themselves are losing confidence in their performances. I`ve never seen such an obvious foul as the final sliding challenge on Gabby. He scissor kicked his legs away from him for god`s sake! T***ty Tony really does do a good job of intimidating the officials with his Olympic high jumping and shouting act though, so I don`t suppose we should be too surprised.

Anyway, I`m digressing slightly. To their credit, there were only two things that lifted the terrible stench of mediocrity from between the claret and blue seats today, and they were Andy Weimann, with his brilliant long-range curler after a lovely neat one-two with Stephen Ireland, and us, the fans, for once again being brilliant in our support for Stan. I hope that another round of support can give him an extra lift ahead of the news that I heard when I got home, that he`s starting his chemotherapy treatment tomorrow, if that is indeed true of course.

Aside from Weimann`s brilliant goal, I genuinely can`t remember anything else of note happening in the first half. ESPN Goals reminded me of the header Walters had in first half stoppage time after Given failed to claim the ball when he came off his line, but that was about it, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time tucking into the burger and chips I had for my tea. Yes, you read that right; I really have been reduced to talking about what I had to eat.

The second half wasn`t much better either. We could have made something of the opportunity that Gabby had when wee Bannan sent him through, but his shot wasn`t really either that or a cross.

Then the inevitable happened, in thanks part to that vile ex-Bluenose Mr Prison Tag who swung over a free kick to once again show our increasingly annoying vulnerability at set pieces.

For all my criticism of the officials earlier, they did manage to get something right between them as what would have been a winning goal by Ryan Shawcross was correctly ruled out after Mr Prison Tag`s corner had curled out of play.

At the end of that paragraph, that was 716 words, which I think is enough without bringing on any cases of post-traumatic disorder. I`ll see you guys again in little under a fortnight after all the excitement of Martin O`Neill`s return to Villa Park. Up The Villa!

Star Player

Nathan Baker

Date:Monday April 9 2012
Time: 9:53PM


Well done Holte139. Your report was more interesting than the match. Yes, I was amazed that the officials missed the scissor tackle on Gabby. Still, we must to used to rubbish officials. I look back at the match and wonder how we managed to pick up so many yellow cards..... unbelievable!
Pride of Lions
10/04/2012 01:36:00
"Then the inevitable happened, in thanks part to that vile ex-Bluenose Mr Prison Tag who swung over a free kick to once again show our increasingly annoying vulnerability at set pieces" The free kick that never should have been, followed by Huth climbing all over Collins, how is that showing vulnerability? Shows shi ite officiating, that's about it. No mention of the upside, you know, the one where it was plainly obvious that the young lads have a bit of passion and desire, some drive and determination, and no little amount of skill, but hey, don't let the positives get in the way of a good moan.
10/04/2012 02:02:00
+ve : we only conceded 1 which given our vulnerability at set pieces this year is huge; Lichaj looks better every game; Baker is getting better every game; Weiman looks like a classy Tommy johnson; Collins looks back to his best; Cuellar & Nzog returned to the bench; Ireland looks pure quality if we can get him on the ball and Herd stood up well against the physical abuse dished out by Stoke; we got 1 more point towards safety and are unbeaten over easter. -ve: The team looked devoid of shape or basic game plan; lack of movement off the ball; Bannan tried hard but IMO showed once again that he isn't up to the task; Hutton; injuries to Warnock and Herd; Gabby looked out of sorts; Gardner hasn't shown anything to justify the hype; we needed 3 points
10/04/2012 08:31:00
Gus Poyets claret and blue army.
10/04/2012 09:21:00
Do give over about the officials. Reading this site all refs and linos must hate the Villa, cos they constantly give bad decisions against us while letting the opposition away scot free. Can't you see that poor managers love to hear this? Takes all the responsibility away from them. 'Oh, it was all the referees fault.' The buck stops with McLeish. He is the manager. If things go well he gets the praise. If they go badly he must take the blame. Referees have nothing to do with it.
chocolate teapot
10/04/2012 11:42:00
I hope the lad sitting by us who stayed sat down texting on his phone during the minutes applause is proud of himself. And his Dad for that matter who did applaud but did nothing about his son.
10/04/2012 12:00:00
chocolate teapot you are so wrong. The 21 set piece goals we have conceded this season were never corners or free kicks. If anything they should all have been Villa free kicks or goal kicks. It is unbelievable that any ref has the cheek to give any decisions against us!!!! The fact that we never scored a goal from our 6 corners against Chelski but they scored 2 from the 4 corners against us is all the fault of the officials. In fact I think that on occasions the officials have blocked off runs from our defenders to stop them marking the opposition. McMuppet is just unlucky in that his training methods have led to a 21 - 0 deficit in goals from set pieces. Those 21 goals are the fault of referees, not shocking training. The fact that we haven't scored from a set piece is nothing to do with training, it is because the goals are too small and it is the officials job to sort that out.
10/04/2012 12:24:00
Thanks Pride of Lions, much appreciated! Steff_the_Villan - we are vulnerable at set-pieces! We've conceded a tremendous amount of goals from them this season, and we are the only side yet to score from a corner this season either. As for not mentioning the positives, well, it's not like I ignored Weimann's goal or didn't give Nathan Baker MOTM is it?
10/04/2012 13:16:00
VotH - Made me smile.
chocolate teapot
10/04/2012 14:31:00
I am afraid any positives regarding the youngsters is not going to keep us up if we have the bottom sides picking up a couple of wins over the next fortnight remember it only takes 2 of them to pick up a couple of wins and us to lose a couple to make that points diff. 1 point and next up for us is Man Utd away and who believes MON is not going to rev up sunderland for their game against us he will be desperate to embaress the Villa board. Yes I know the others have to win a couple of games but can we really afford to depend on that ?.
10/04/2012 15:31:00
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