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Match Report from Columbus


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by GMVillan

Please forgive the late submission of this report. I am a little travel-weary having just completed the twelve-hour drive from Ohio to Rhode Island.

Here's my perspective on the Columbus Creeeewwww(you had to be there!) vs. AVFC.

Starting line up (4-4-2)

GK Taylor

RB Cahill

LB Bouma

CB Laursen

CB Mellberg

RM Young

LM Maloney

CM Reo Coker

CM Barry

CF Carew

CF Agbonlahor

With that type of line-up you knew that we would start strongly, and boy what a start! Total domination of proceedings from the first whistle led to a 30 yard right-channel run by Ashley who unleashed an unstoppable shot from just outside the box. 1-0 Villa after 8 minutes, and the loud and enthusiastic Villa following launched into a chant of "easy, easy."

Two minutes later and a sublime interchange of passing resulted in Big John Carew laying the ball into Gareth's path for a low shot. 2-0 Villa and it was looking bad for the Creeeewwww.

Whether it was a lack of fitness or complacency is debatable, but the pace of the game slowed considerably after that. The home side barely threatened, but when they did Stuart Taylor was more than capable. Reo Coker looked solid and certainly let the home midfield know that they weren't going to be calling this match a friendly! Barry was his usual class. Gary Cahill looked a little uncomfortable on the right, but didn't let anyone down. One of the more amusing "battles" in the first half involved the Columbus forward (Moreno) deciding that he would put a hefty challenge in on Martin Laursen. For the next thirty-five minutes, Olly, Martin, NRC and Freddy all took turns in introducing Mr Moreno to the well-manicured grass (all challenges that won the ball I might add). The only other half-decent opponent was an Argentinian midfielder with a gorgeous haircut, who spent more time on the ground than actually playing football. Nigel gave him "a good talking to." Neither player appeared for the second half....... wonder why?

Maloney looked good when he was involved, but to be honest Ashley was finding so much joy on the Villa right that Shaun and Freddy weren't involved much as an attacking threat. Big John and Gabby looked good and always looked a threat, despite some "over enthusiastic" defenders.

Second half line-up

GK Taylor

RB Mellberg

LB O'Halloran

CB Cahill

CB Ridgewell

LM Berger

RM Maloney (Harewood 55)

CM Petrov

CM Gardner

CF Moore

CF Agbonlahor (Osbourne 75)

Just as the first-half lineup tells a story, so did the second! Some very sloppy defending ensued in the first twenty minutes of the half, notably down our left with Patrik leaving young O'Halloran exposed on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, the kid didn't deal with a couple of situations very well but give him time and I think he'll become a half-decent player at this level. However the real problem was left-of-centre where Liam looked completely out-of-sorts. Some in the crowd said he didn't look interested, and you can't help wondering whether he has other things on his mind..... Needless to say, a poor clearance by Ridge led to the inevitable home goal. We deserved it....

For some inexplicable reason, when Harewood came on Patrik moved into "the hole" behind the two forwards and left us with nobody playing left midfield for at least ten minutes.....

A substitution and subsequent tactical switch with the introduction of Osbourne seemed to quell the tide, and normal service resumed for the final 20 minutes. Marlon was only involved sporadically, but did have one nice moment, spinning off his marker and producing a save and subsequent goal line clearance.

Petrov and Craig were decent in midfield, Cahill seemed more comfortable in the middle and Gabby was scaring the daylights out of the left-back after he moved over to the right wing when Maloney went off. Patrik had a couple of nice moments, but also looked lazy at times with some little one-touch flicks when he had more time. I know I might be in the minority when I say this but I actually think Olof Mellberg is a good right back (I'm not saying we should play him there, but he's a very capable deputy - and he did spend his first four years in the Sweden team at right back). Stuart Taylor made a couple of very nice stops to preserve the lead, although it would have been nice to see him come out for a cross or two. Luke got in behind after a lovely turn and was clean-through, only to have his shirt pulled. The subsequent free-kick was poor.

Despite winning a succession of corners it seemed destined to stay 2-1 until Luke popped up with a nice glancing header from a Patrik corner in the final minute.

A very good performance for 70 minutes and a nice touch by the Creeeewwww to put all the Villa fans in the same section, making us able to be heard....

If allowed, I'll be submitting an online "diary" of the tour from an ex-pat traveller's perspective in the next day or two.....

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If allowed, I'll be submitting an online "diary" of the tour from an ex-pat traveller's perspective in the next day or two.....

Allowed? It's demanded! Thanks for the report GM sounds like a decent day out.

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I know I might be in the minority when I say this but I actually think Olof Mellberg is a good right back (I'm not saying we should play him there, but he's a very capable deputy - and he did spend his first four years in the Sweden team at right back).

I'm in your club on that one. I think he did a good job when he played there at the start of last season.

However, playing him there would leave us a little thin on centre halves.

he is indeed a capable deputy though, so he can provide the cover for "when" we get ourselves an actual right back ....

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I know I might be in the minority when I say this but I actually think Olof Mellberg is a good right back (I'm not saying we should play him there, but he's a very capable deputy - and he did spend his first four years in the Sweden team at right back).

I'm in your club on that one. I think he did a good job when he played there at the start of last season.

However, playing him there would leave us a little thin on centre halves.

he is indeed a capable deputy though, so he can provide the cover for "when" we get ourselves an actual right back ....

Agreed Mellberg is a more than adequate RB

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Couple comments...

"Creeeeewwww" - Is that a comment on how locals pronounce it, or our PA?

We had a decent PA announcer for years, but lately they must have had open auditions allowing only prospective Cleveland Browns punters in. Our current one sux... cant even pronounce Schelotto.

If it's a comment on local accents, may I remind you you're from the East Coast? Just because you speak more correctly than Joisey or LawnGuyland types... you still dont qualify to make fun.

If you INSIST, then let us in on it so we can have a laff or throw bricks. Excuse me.. a BRIT AND live in the East... makes it even better!

Neither player appeared for the second half....... wonder why?

Um... maybe because they weren't scheduled to appear? The 'pretty boy' you referred to is Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who is a legend for Boca Jrs fans.. Ever hear of them?

I dont have a clue why you would apparently downgrade your defense who were brilliant and physical.

Here's a tip from an editor on another Premier League fansite... dont elevate your own team by berating OR derating the opponent. Save it for the snarky forum threads.

Overall though, in commentary quality, a good effort.

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Pettyfog... chill.

The report is not bad, take a look at other sites when the games get real and you will see real downgrading. Our defense (defence) did suck in the 2nd half and needs to be looked at. Thankfully the 1st half defense is good enough - at least until we get injuries. The PA was a little over the top. I am used to US sports but even this guy made me laugh...... "Corner Kick Creeewwww". You had to be there other Villa fans. Everyone I met in Columbus was great, the Crew really did a good job in making us welcome with scarves, beer and dogs all thrown in. Pity you didn't have a larger turn-out. Had some good soccer talk with locals also.

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as a villan who was there - and only slightly affected by alcohol ! ?? !

that is a pretty good and fair report ( i promised JC but you beat me to it)

i thought Cahill did well at RB but we definatly need one

had an absolute blast before during and after the game

proud to be a villan !!

even my accomplice the rovers fan was well impressed with the villa faithfull

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Pettyfog... chill.

Seconded!

The PA was a little over the top. I am used to US sports but even this guy made me laugh...... "Corner Kick Creeewwww". You had to be there other Villa fans.

The announcer was over the top. I go to a lot of the Revolution matches here in Boston (well... way south of Boston) and aside from announcing the players, goals, substitutions and cards, our PA pretty much keeps it shut. And nothing during the run of play is Sponsored by...

Our footie culture as a whole prety much blows here anyway. But it's getting better and at least we have something.

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I am the forementioned Rovers Fan and have to say I was very impressed by the Villan turnout at the Columbus game (scrimmage?) Had a great day thanks to USVilla and Derek71 and his scouser pal (John). I am impressed with your squad and think Reo Coker is going to be a relevation for you. I was hoping Carew would bring more energy but thought he was going through the motions. Moore looks fit and very good. Gabby is a star in the making. Good luck on your quest for UEFA. I am looking forward to some spirited Villa/Rovers matches this year.

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