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.
Thomas Sorenson 6.
Few flaps today. Maybe influenced by the pigeons?
Olof Mellberg 7.
Mark Delaney 7.
Aaron Hughes 6.
Jlloyd Samuel 5.
Highly average, maybe he does need a move to get his career back on track.
Steven Davis 6.
Great goal, distribution on and off.
James Milner 5.
Not on song when on the left hand side.
Lee Hendrie 5.5
Ok, set up the final goal, but if he is meant to be on the right, he needs to stay on the right, but drifts in and leaves us exposed.
Battled well enough in mid-field, but could contribute more.
Service is dire, the way we play with both strikers having their backs to the defence will never make him look good.
Two well taken goals, what else can you ask for? Makes the runs, gets caught out due to our tactics, and some fans were moaning in the radio phone ins about him looking like he didn’t care. Jeez, come on!
Phillips for Angel (68) 9.
Set the park alight.
David O’Leary. Come on David, was that a smile on your face today? He even turned and talked to some of the fans, now that is a refreshing change. Then in the press conference moaned about a section of fans who get on the players backs. Best not to criticise the fans David, not after the sort of season you’ve all produced. Still into the 5th round and congrats for that, he’s right about one thing, he brought in Phillips and we’ve missed him since he’s been injured.
Unlucky that their players wasted some golden chances, if they’d have scored first it could have been a very ‘interesting’ game. Their right back (or was he on the left?!) Abbey looked a very useful player.
I’d be happy with a home draw against Birmingham City. To put them out of the cup in February and help send them down in April, wouldn’t make up for the awful season we’ve had, but it wouldn’t exactly break my heart either! 😉
Kevin Phillips. Did more in 22 minutes than most did in the entire game.