Joe Gallagher, Trevor Francis, Kenny Burns, Kevin Dillon, Mark Dennis, Pat Van den Hauwe, Julian Dicks, Noel Blake, Tom Ross, Jasper Carrot your boys took a hell of a beating!
This game turned on the 35th minute when Gardner’s cross flew past Chester and Adams got a foot to it only for the ball to thud against the post rather than give the knuckle draggers a two-goal cushion. What could possibly go wrong for them after that? We could go straight up the other end and hit an equalizer which we did. We could then go ahead within 2 minutes and hit another two in the second half. It breaks their hearts doesn’t it?
The Scottish Cafu settled the game on the 76th minute with a tremendous run and a wonderfully taken goal. This has amusingly been referred to as a case of Hutton dressed as Lahm. For me it was a goal that was good enough to decide any game.
Garry Monk claimed that the visitors are on a learning curve. They certainly are. They are slowly beginning to learn at long last that they are comfortably the second-best football team in the second city and their tired and weary fans must have been grudgingly accepting that as they slunk out of Villa Park yesterday. They have now gone 13 league games without a local derby win and long may that run continue.
Our visitors were near their best yesterday which really isn’t that good in all honesty is it? We have played better and have lost recently. We conceded two goals, but we did come back from a goal down and extended our lead again when our two-goal lead was temporarily reduced to one. We had a very slow start but once we got into the game there was only ever going to be one winner and it was a joy to see Jack hold up 4 fingers on one hand and 2 on the other to the Holte End after the game.
Small Heath scored their first goal at Villa Park for 10 years yesterday. Back then we scored 5 goals in winning that local derby it was just the 4 this time! The city is still ours and it always will be.
My player ratings from a game that brought us our third straight win and took us up to eighth in the table are:
Orjan Nyland – 6 – It appears that he may be starting to gain a little confidence. Parried a 42nd minute Gardner free-kick that Dean who was in front of him couldn’t get a touch on to safety and then gathered a 59th minute Adams shot at his near post.
Alan Hutton – 8 – MOTM - Hit our stunning fourth goal on 76 minutes when he collected a loose ball inside his own half ran determinedly between Gardner and Maghoma into the box, jinked past Dean on the edge of the box before planting a sweet left footed shot into the corner of the net past Camp.
James Chester - 6 – Not quite at his usual very best but that can most likely be attributed to the injury that had threatened his place in the starting line-up and our defence would have been even more suspect had he been missing.
Axel Tuanzebe – 6 – Competent again.
Neil Taylor – 6 – A decent display.
Conor Hourihane – 6 – Hit a 65th minute free-kick that seemed destined for the far corner of the net until Camp got an outstretched hand to it which deflected it past the post for a corner.
Glenn Whelan – 6 – Did well enough but he is not quite a like for like replacement for the Scottish Iniesta is he?
Albert Adomah – 8 – Three of his crosses brought us three of our four goals before Harding’s challenge brought him a well merited booking and led to Albert hobbling off on 65 minutes. Get well soon Albert!
Jack Grealish – 8 – His close-range diving header at the far post from a perfectly flighted Adomah cross hit from the edge of the box gave us the lead and put a smile on Jack’s face as well as on ours. Faced several uncompromising challenges that were too leniently treated by the referee. Headed over on 46 minutes. Jack was too good for them to cope with.
Jonathan Kodjia – 7 - Scored our 37th minute equalizer. Hutton played the ball forward to Adomah whose cross was deflected off Morrison’s head towards Kodjia who turned the ball in low at the far post. Hit a 54th minute shot over the bar from outside of the area Harding got to the ball first on 80 minutes when he tried to make it five when the ball was deflected towards goal as he was challenged by the keeper on the edge of their area.
Tammy Abraham – 7 – Hit a shot over the bar on 2 minutes from the right edge of the box. Brought down an Adomah cross before himself being brought down by Morrison for our penalty which he took himself coolly sending Camp the wrong way and hitting the spot-kick in off the inside of the post. Headed a 66th minute Grealish corner over from close range at the far post which had evaded Camp’s reach.
Yannick Bolasie – 6 – Replaced the injured Adomah on 65 minutes. Will he be fit enough to start in midweek if Albert isn’t?
Henri Lansbury – Came on for Whelan on 69 minutes only to be substituted himself on 77 minutes due to injury. Not on long enough to gather a rating.
Ahmed Elmohamady – Replaced Lansbury on 77 minutes. He was also not on long enough to earn a rating.
Up the Villa!