Date: 30th December 2007 at 3:42pm
Written by:

Well, what an entertaining day! Had a chauffeur (the great Jonah from Vital Villa) and good company in Deanovilla and Mackaavfc to make our way up to the JJB. We then met up in the Marquee Bar at the stadium with Randy.Stand, Danvilla, Murph, VillaBrownie and Steeler. A few pints were sunk and a steak and kidney pie sampled (apparently award winning but sadly our rating was only 6/10!) then up to the game with the wind howling and the rain lashing down. Jeez, when I left Redditch in the morning it was sunny and warm!

I was surprised at how small the JJB was, but then most grounds I guess do look small in comparison to our home, the glorious Villa Park which I maybe we take for granted! I was also astounded by the state of their pitch. Wigan need to decide if they want to be taken seriously as a Premiership club, if they do then I’d suggest they treat their players, fans and opponents with a little more respect and stop having the rugby games played there as well. Personally I’d dock any club points if they can’t provide decent playing conditions.

The pitch and conditions meant this was never going to be a pretty game and so it proved. I thought Villa would come out storming but it took them about an hour before they really made an impact. The loss of John Carew after 10 minutes didn’t help although Martin O’Neill admitted after the game he couldn’t use that as an excuse for knocking us out of our stride because we weren’t in a stride at the time! The first half was a scrappy affair with Wigan having the lions share of the game without really troubling Villa. I don’t think we had a serious attempt on goal in the first half, Wigan had one major chance from a corner and took it. Of all the players to score, it was Titus Bramble, DOH!

They went in 1-0 up and probably without the claret and blue tinted specs on, deservedly – just. One can only assume that Martin O’Neill would have given our lot a right rollicking at half time, although they still didn’t exactly come out all guns blazing for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Then the best pub player in the world Curtis Davies – who looked good throughout – converted a corner by a very tricky header and Villa were level and the most threatening. From that point onwards, apart from the occasional threat from corners and set pieces, there really was only going to be one team who could possibly have won and so it proved when Ashley Young skipped passed all comers and crossed the ball to Gabby who scored from a very difficult angle. Game over and Villa’s great away record maintained.

Just imagine what this team could achieve if they started playing regularly for 90 mins? Also with us now 7th lets hope we can push on and bring in some top signings QUICKLY in January, the team is crying out for some more quality and the amazing Villa fans – who were in fine voice again yesterday – deserve nothing less.

I watched the highlights this morning and Joe Royal complimented the Villa fans saying ‘what terrific support, they are really making a noise behind the goal. I’m sure they’ve all tuned in to the fact this is a team on the rise’ Long may that rise continue!

Match Stats: http://www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/stats.asp?a=503102

For the first half, most (not all) of them would get a sleepy 4 or 5 out of ten. For the rest of the game:

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 6
Fans are questioning his ability to come out and claim the ball and to dominate the area.

Wilfred Bouma 6
Good defending but still has to work on his distribution because after working so hard to get the ball, it is a shame to give it away so cheaply.

Martin Laursen 7
Solid

Curtis Davies 8
Solid and scored a great goal

Olof Mellberg 6
Solid enough and back to his fully bearded self!

Gareth Barry 6
Got stuck in, not at his most free flowing best but still very important for us.

Shaun Maloney 6
Quietish game but still hopefully building on his first team chances now.


Nigel Hokey Cokey 6
Often gives the ball away too cheaply but does help break down the opponents play.

Ashley Young 6
Got kicked out the game at times but popped up brilliantly to set up the second goal. A real emerging talent

John Carew
Not on long enough to rate. Martin O’Neill said of his injury: ‘It’s easing up a little but it’s difficult to make a judgement on the injury straight away. We’ll take a look at it in the next 24 hours and then make an assessment based on that.’

Gabby Agbonlahor 7
Nicely taken winning goal

Luke Moore (on for Carew 11) 5
Service was’nt good to him but his contribution wasn’t good either. Makes you wonder what is up with MON not playing his signing Marlon Harewood as yesterdays game looked ideal for him. Maybe the rumours he is on his way back out of Villa Park have some truth?

Craig Gardner, (on for Maloney 60)
Got stuck in.
Just what will Marlon have to do to get a game?!?

Manager Rating
MON. Didn’t look impressed during the first half but the points are all that matter and we got all 3

Opponent Rating
Classic when the Villa fans sang ‘sit down Potato head’ and sure enough, he sat down. The Villa fans then started ‘stand up potato head’ !

Steak and Kidney Pie 6
Would like to have given it more, was impressed we got the choice of peas and gravy as well, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t what it was billed and I think a public enquiry should ensue!!!!!!!!!!!