Date: 27th April 2008 at 6:50pm
Written by:

Blinking eck Villa, don’t do that to us without a health warning before the games please! I’m cream crackered!

Villa have edged within two games of taking 5th spot, Everton are still in the driving seat but with them playing Arsenal next weekend, we’ve just got to concentrate on despatching Wigan and hope the Gooners do us a massive favour!

Hopefully we’ll get an away day match report from the ever great Glensider later but from my armchair that was one hell of a game and Villa showed superb resilience to come back from behind twice. I didn’t quite catch the record that Everton have at Goodison Park this season but for sure not many have scored one let alone two there and Tim Howard is only one goal away from 15 clean sheets for the season.

Villa weathered a storm for the first six minutes of the first half, then took over in attacking intent and possession. We really controlled the half without actually troubling the shots on target stats greatly, although Ashley Young was unlucky hitting the crossbar from a free kick.

The conditions at Everton certainly weren’t favourable for a slick passing game but both teams did try at a rain sodden Goodison Park and if not for a bit of confidence following a pass from Wilfred Bouma, Nigel Hokey-Cokey may well have stormed into the box and shot towards the end.

In the second half, as you would expect, Everton once again came out fighting and Philip Neville scored via a deflection off Martin Laursen (and to be fair for once Scott Carson did look like he had it covered if not for the deflection). The only real bug bear of that goal is Neville was given far too much space, fair enough he doesn’t usually score but come on lads, don’t let an opponent take his time like that!

So there we were, 1-0 and looking like that might be it. But no, Villa have more about them these days and up popped Gabriel Agbonlahor on the six year line following a perfectly delivered corner by Gareth Barry – and yes, I do mean a perfect corner. I must admit I thought MON had gone doolally tapped, he left us with three at the back after bringing on both Patrik Berger and Marlon Harewood. I’d have taken Gabby off for Harewood – thank the lord Paul McGrath that I’m not a manager!

Just as this attacking formation seemed to pay dividends Villa once again went one behind when the Hokey Cokey was caught out at right-back by Yobbo. Game over and Europe all but guaranteed for Everton? Not on your life, Villa came storming back and once again the resplendent Gareth Barry floated a perfect pass to John Carew who made no mistake burying it.

2-2, a storm of an end by Everton but points justifiably shared.

I must admit Phil Dowd allowed the game to flow nicely and it could be said was slightly kind to Villa today, but hey ho, you take what you are given. Credit to the man in black for realising the conditions were difficult and some sliding tackles were going to be necessary and hand ball by Petrov? Never!!!!!!!

Match stats: Click Here

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 5
Out of position a good few times, few flaps and really not commanding. Can’t see us keeping him.

Wilfred Bouma 7
Excellent game

Zat Knight 6
Seemed to get stuck in, can’t see that he was responsible for either goal.

Martin Laursen 6
Couldn’t help the deflection.

Olof Mellberg 7
He really does want to leave with Villa in Europe, top man.

Gareth Barry 8
Set up both goals, a real skippers role.

Ashley Young 7
Fully involved, unlucky not to score, nearly took a point off for his banana coloured boots though, come on Ashley, are you colour blind or were they a dare?!?!

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 6
I quite like NRC, I think he does a lot right and does break up play well, but his marking for the Everton goal was poor and he did give the ball away a few times when not under pressure. Once he stops that he could be a great player for us.

Stiliyan Petrov 6.5
Another game when Petrov was fully involved and useful, he is getting used to this malarkey!

Gabriel Agbonlahor 7
Superbly taken goal.

John Carew 7
Was kept busy by Lee Carsley today but when the chance came, he took it.

Patrik Berger (on for Knight 75)
Got a great reception as a former Liverpool player, had a massive grin on his face, I think he enjoyed it!

Marlon Harewood (on for Wilf 78)
Not much chance for a real impact but nearly got into a fight, now that I would have paid to watch as they both looked like the packed a punch!