Date: 5th April 2008 at 6:30pm
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Now that is a refreshing change! Fair enough Bolton were poor but you can only play what is in front of you and Villa put on a good display, bouncing back from three straight losses with some style.

I’m not sure Villa fans really knew what to expect after indifferent performances v Middlesbrough and Sunderland but luckily today the team were balanced and it seemed told that they were allowed to play the ball on the ground. Again, the hoofing football from so many games this season had disappeared and again they showed what they can do when given a little bit of space and time.

The enigma that is Stiliyan Petrov was one of several who shone today, some of his touches were very classy and a few passes – one that really deserved a goal as the end result – were sublime.

Barry took the first goal with a very well timed header – I believe from an Ashley Young cross. The second was a superbly taken goal by Gabby, his first of the year and hopefully that will now give him a bit of confidence as I’m sure – despite what he has said – the goal drought must have been weighing heavily on his mind.

Up stepped Barry to take his second from open play – can’t remember the last time he got two goals in one game, I certainly can’t remember the last time he got two goals from open play in one game. He was played back out on the left today and he looked 100 times better than the last 5-6 games for it.

Even good old Marlon Harewood managed to come on and help himself to a nicely taken goal, with the work ethic he shows he certainly deserved it and to be fair, sitting so close to the bench and judging by his size, even if he didn’t deserve it I’m not sure I’d say!!!!!!!!!

I think the Villa fans deserved that today and certainly the team NEEDED it with Derby and then the local derby to face in the next few weeks. All is certainly lost with the quest for fifth, well all but lost, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings but she is gargling at the moment. However there is still all to play for, because if we finish above Blackburn and Man City and as long as Everton finish 5th, then we will qualify for the Inter-two-bob. At least that is my understanding!

I so nearly didn’t go today as I’m under the weather, I must say I’m delighted that I did manage it, as the performance was the brightest we’ve had in a while and no more than the 37 000 who turned up deserved.

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 4
Did his best to let Bolton back in it. The only thing I’ve seen flap less than Scott is the dead parrot from Monty Python, beautiful plumage or not, Carson has got a long way to go to be a top top keeper. At 23 he could well do it though. At least we’ve been able to break our 18 game run without a clean sheet now.

Wilfred Bouma 7
I think Wilf has been great this season and has got better as we’ve gone through.

Martin Laursen 7
Back to his solid self.

Zat Knight 7
Seemed to be fine and dandy today.

Olof Mellberg 7
Nice trick with the ball for the throw in, he went to throw it and it just spun out of his hands as the ball was wet. Not sure he could do that again if he tried.

Nigel Hokey Cokey 6.5
Good performance, a few passes went astray but then a few were soooo nearly inch perfect for good attacking moves.

Gareth Barry 8
Much much better on the right and two brilliantly taken goals.

Stiliyan Petrov 7.5
A lovely performance, more of the same please Stan.

Ashley Young 7.5
Set up some goals, ran rings around Bolton, happy days.

John Carew 5.5
Struggling and not fit, went off holding his groin. Few ladies around me would have happily taken that job for him according to them! He did try to put himself about.

Gabby Agbonlahor 6.5
Much better and got the goal he has so obviously been missing this season.

Harewood (on for Carew 77) 7
Came on and scored, what more could you ask for?

Berger (on for Young 83)
Not on long enough to have an impact.

Not on long enough to have an impact but good to see him make his debut.

Manager Rating
MON Bounced back after some bad results, lept 20 foot in the air for each goal, obvioulsy meant a lot to him to see the wheels going back on after a poor run!

Opponent Rating
Gary Megson the bloke has a voice like a fog horn! Bolton, playing like that, are doomed. The few hundred fans (5-600 came down) did their best and at the end were doing the conga!