Date:Sunday April 16 2006
Villans: Sorensen, Hughes, Ridgewell, Cahill, Samuel, Milner, McCann, Davis, Barry, Baros, Phillips. Subs: Taylor, Angel, De la Cruz, Gardner, Agbonlahor.
Blues: Maik Taylor, Tebily, Cunningham, Sadler, Martin Taylor, Pennant, Butt, Johnson, Dunn, Heskey, Sutton. Subs: Vaesen, Izzet, Forssell, Lazaridis, Bruce.
Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire)
Blues 3-1 defeat to their junior neighbours becons in an age of mediocrity not seen at St Andrews since the days we were crashing out of the Leyland Daf at Aldershot.
This was a performance of stunning inadequacy certainly by a defence which when asked to defend no more than a hope full punt into the box fell over each other to not clear their lines.
Contrast that to Villa' back four who were pressured from the start to the end. When that ball went any where near their box it was uncerimomiously hoofed anywhere. If the ball fell in the box they ensured that it was they who were first to it. Shots blocked, a determined 'thou shalt not policy'prevailed.
The first goal came when Sadler failed to take man and ball into the crowd.Milner slung over a weak cross that went through Butt's legs past Tiny Taylor and fell to an unmarked Baros who netted with ease.
This was Villa first attack and Blues day turned sourer when Dunn completed just 15 minutes on the field before going off injured. Added to Matthew Upson not even making the kick off it was never going to be Blues day.
Blues did manage to equalise in the 26th minute when Chris Sutton did get to a ball quicker than the Villa defence.
Blues looked most likely winners when half time came but the second half was a total different story.
Another scramble was weakly defended and Cahill was quickest as he hoofed a ball over his left shoulder and into the far corner.
Blues thinking that Villa might succumb to similar tactics bombarded the Villa box with high balls but the ball never fell kindly because the Villa defence were not as obliging and they managed to stifle all Blues efforts. Four or five time the ball richoceted of arms but they rode their luck.
I long ball out and Tiny Taylor failed to deal with Baros, as he had failed to do all after noon. Blues defence tried to rally round but eventuall the ball ran wide where Baros now unmarked scored with ease.
Blues now have to face the facts they have lost twice to a very ordinary Villa team and have lost twice also to the majority of teams in that level just above the drop zone.
Injuries cannot be used as an excuse. Two transfer windows have gone by without Blues replacing the long term injuries. In fact when they have tried to bolster the squad the replacements have injury histories.
Messers Gold and Sullivan sorry you are to blame for this. Bruce should have gone in November. Signingsin the last 12 months have been a disaster. It nearly 20 years since having to suffer a defeat at Villa Park. Its not the nicest place to go when you have won. Sadly this experience will probably be under a Football League banner the next few times.
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