Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday January 28 2006
Hurrah, Aston Villa reach the fifth round for the first time in six years (which was the year we reached the final only to be beaten by a pre-Russian Chelsea).
Suffice to say it was cold. Now usually I have a real problem with the cold, but as the Maxim street honey thingy-me-jig model was there, I could see a couple of outstanding points why the cold isn't always bad!
You want me to talk about the football? Well, for the first 68 minutes I would struggle. My friends and the lovely ladies that sit behind and look after me had a great old laugh, talked about all sorts, mostly non football related. We discussed whether Phillips looks better with his longer hair but the ladies decided the shaved look was better. We laughed when the three pigeons on the pitch refused to move on the odd occasion the ball went towards the Holte End and chuckled even more when two of their mates joined them for a Saturday afternoon snack in the Park. We even had some major controversy when I told them Big Brother was total pants and should be avoided at all costs. Another controversial moment arouse when both my mates had a steaming hot steak and kidney pie and I had a luke warm chicken pie, how unfair I cried - shut your ungrateful mouth and eat it they retorted!
All through this time there was a match on, but it was of very little interest, it was simply a stop start poor quality, scrappy cup game.
THEN on came Kevin Phillips and everything changed. Within two minutes he set up Milan Baros for our opener, within another five he set up Baros for his brace. All looked well in the world and the nice lady behind me turned my collar up and adjusted my scarf because she said I looked cold. The Port Vale managed to net one of several golden chances that they had during the afternoon (85th minute) and all of a sudden things didn't look so comfortable. The Port Vale fans, who sang their hearts out all afternoon and had filled the entire North Stand, went mad.
Villa had pretty much controlled the game throughout but until Super Kev came on rarely threatened. Playing Hendrie on the right makes no sense because he drifts in too much and leaves us exposed. And Milner is best on the right but is put on the left - are you following? Not sure I am anymore! Anyway, Vale started to press forward and the atmosphere at last resembled a cup game, despite over 10 000 empty seats. Not sure if that was a reflection on the poor quality football we have played this season or on a lowering of interest in the FA Cup due to the disgraceful way the 'big' teams treat the competition these days.
Blimey, I digress again! Vale put on some pressure and the Valiant faithful saw a glimmer of hope, only for Steven Davis, who looked so much better in his more usual central role, to get on the end of a great Hendrie pass to put the tie out of their reach and put Villa into the fifth round hat.
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Date:Saturday January 28 2006
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