Apologies for the delay in posting this, Randy.Stand on the pre-season friendly v Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.
Well I’m back from Sincil Bank on a hugely disappointing night for us. We took 1,040 supporters to Lincoln and was a great atmosphere at the start of the game with Lincoln fans having a bit of banter with Villa supporters. Villa started greatly and Frank Sinclair slipped and John Carew had a first time shot on 8 minutes and planted it in the back of net. Easy Easy chants started by Villa fans as they thought it would be a rout.
Lincoln had to settle and they did quite well. They got stuck into Villa and made it tough going for Villa. Although Lincoln settled Villa could and should have been three or four up at half time. John Carew was denied a clear penalty and Ashley Young was accused of diving just outside the box.
Wayne Routledge looked a livewire and crossed for Carew several times only for Big John to head wide or over. Routledge then cross it to the feet of Sidwell who shot against the post. Very unlucky. Good first half by the Villa and they deserved the lead.
Second half and O’Neill rang the changes……..to Lincoln’s benefit. Lincoln were all over Villa and we couldn’t handle the power Lincoln had. They got a corner and the cross came in, the defender evaded Harewood who was marking him and put it past the floundering Stuart Taylor. 1-0.
Villa huffed and puffed but just looked short on ideas going forward.
Lincoln got another corner and the cross came in again and it was headed past Taylor again. Why Taylor was standing so far out I’m not sure and Taylor should have saved it easily. Then only a minute later Steve Sidwell started running out of defence, got caught up by one of the Lincoln midfielders who slotted it through to the forward to score. 3-1 and the chants ‘Premiership Your having a laugh’ rang out and how right the Lincoln supporters were. Villa hit the post twice again in the second half from Marlon Harewood and later on Moustapha Salifou. Harewood also had a couple of chances when he went through but the keeper made some very good saves.
All in all not good enough and I just hope Martin O’Neill can work his magic before Saturday or we are in for problems against Odense BK. Martin O’Neill said on the official site: ‘We’re trying to get ourselves right for the game on Saturday. We’re trying to get as many senior players as much time out on the field as possible – without getting injured.
‘It’s a fine balancing act and I’m not too concerned about the result. What I want to try and do is get the sort of fitness and competitive spirit right for Saturday.
‘I know it’s a friendly game but you’d prefer to win it than lose it. Again it’s a matter of getting a bit more fitness.
‘We’re trying to cram an awful lot into this 10 day period because we want to get into competitive mode very early on. Saturday’s game is vitally important to us and this was part of the build-up to that.’