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Villa Reserves vs. Tottenham – Match report


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by OutByEaster?

Not the most thrilling of affairs at Villa Park tonight, but we kept up our one hundred percent record with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham and a nice bit of pampering from the club for those who arrived early.

Exactly 120 years to the day since William McGregor’s football league first kicked off the club were kind enough to invite early arrivals to take advantage of the suite named in his honour.

So after a quick cider, I made my way into the posh area on the half way line and sank into the deep padded seat usually reserved for an employee of Airtech UK.

Villa duly appeared, with Parish continuing in goal (rumour has it that Stuart Taylor’s wife has just had twins.) a back four from left to right of Ciaran Clark, Zat Knight, Carlos Cuellar and Eric Lichaj. Stieber, Osbourne, Herd and Routledge across the middle and the beauty and the beast combo of Harewood and Delfouneso up front.

Spurs included small heath target Kevin Prince-Boateng and fan favourite Adel Taarabt in an attacking looking line up. Adel is a girl’s name.

Villa opened brightly with Osbourne releasing Harewood who cut inside a defender and shot wide.

Routledge and Stieber swapped flanks early on, leaving us with the most right footed left winger and the most left footed right winger that have ever appeared together. They swapped back soon after Routledge saw a left foot shot go out for a throw in. Near the half way line.

Early on, it was noticeable that our big new signing wasn’t afraid to make himself heard, and he seemed to be doing a good job of marshalling Clark and Knight.

Marlon continued to look a threat although he was still having trouble setting his sights and had another couple of shots off target.

Stieber proved more accurate with a volley from just wide of the area that nestled into the far corner of the net, but a linesman’s flag proved his undoing.

Herd added to our early profligacy with another effort skidding wide, this one taking a touch off a defender. That was to set in motion a succession of corners, the fifth of which broke to Herd around eight yards out. He fired it at the Spurs keeper who palmed it firmly onto the leg the nearest defender and then was unable to stop the ball rebounding into the net for a goal that Herd looked a little sheepish about claiming.

If that was untidy, a few minutes later Osbourne nearly added a dream of a goal, thundering in an effort from fully thirty yards that cannoned off the crossbar and just eluded Delfouneso. Two inches lower and it would have flown in; two inches higher and it would have started the North Stand redevelopment.

Further chances followed for Routledge after a lovely through ball from Harewood and then a one-on-one chance for big Marlon himself. Alas he had time to think and…well you know.

A little bit of niggle was starting to creep in, with Osbourne finding his way into the book for a foul just before the half time whistle.

A special mention for the young man whose dad caught a wayward Tottenham clearance and handed him the match ball to throw back onto the pitch. Sadly our plucky young hopeful hadn’t quite the strength to throw it all the way, but there’s nothing wrong with his aim and it bounced pleasingly skywards off the back of a Tottenham coaches head.

A change of boots for Nathan Delfouneso at half time, but it brought no luck to him or Villa who started sluggishly. Tottenham had pushed their wingers forward and our midfield was too often being caught on the wrong side of the ball.

Some stout defending was keeping us in the game as it opened up for Spurs, with an equaliser looking likely. David Hutton in particular came close, and, despite being tragically afflicted with a permanently raised arm which gives him the gait of Norman Wisdom he was giving young Lichaj a torrid time down the left.

Boateng and Taarabt were getting far too much room in the middle of the park, and had they been more interested in playing in the strikers and less interested in showing their undoubted ability on the ball, Spurs may have received more from the game. Attractive but ineffective I think is the best description; those of you wondering if that’s Spurs motto should be ashamed of yourselves.

With Knight, Cuellar and Clark closing down shooting opportunities promptly, the game had reached a sort of stalemate and started to peter out from around ten minutes into the half.

The introduction of Albrighton, Mikaelsson and Bannan for Routledge, Harewood and Delfouneso respectively did little to change the pattern, although Villa always looked lively on the break.

The linesman did his best to enliven proceedings, receiving a heart-warming round of applause on 75 minutes for his first correct decision of the night, and the referee assisted him ably with a performance of immaculate comic timing.

In truth Tottenham will be disappointed not to have gone away with the point they probably deserved on a night when neither side really got going.

Two games and six points at both reserve and academy level suggest that for Villa, last seasons excellence is here to stay.

Some ratings

Parish (7) Not too bad at all tonight. I had him down to be our number three reserve keeper, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job, one flap at a corner aside he had a good game with both his handling and positioning appearing sound.

Lichaj (6) Quietly effective down the right, he made one lung busting eighty yard run in the last five minutes, which he finished with a skewed left footed shoot. He looked comfortable enough but didn’t dominate.

Cuellar (7) looked solid and reliable, rather than spectacular. I don’t really recall much in the way of moments where he impressed me with his real quality, but he didn’t make a single error all night, and didn’t really look like he ever would.

Knight (6) if you could edit him down to eighty-nine minutes and thirty seconds he’d look great. Tonight’s heart in mouth moment was a back header to the keeper that just avoided the striker he hadn’t realised was behind him. Other than that his distribution was good and he dominated in the air.

Clark (7) Not a left back, and was beaten once or twice by Spurs right winger. He’s a dogged and determined defender though and got in more than his share of blocks and tackles. Had as much to do with our clean sheet as anyone.

Routledge (7) Lively as ever, and looked tidy and sharp on the ball, but just couldn’t quite find a final ball or finish. We were quieter when he went off.

Osbourne (7) A very good first half for Isaiah, who played in a deep playmaking role in the first half and showed an excellent range of passing. In the second half, both he and Herd struggled to get onto the ball and drifted out of it a bit.

Herd (6) tried hard and tackled tigerishly, but lacked a bit of quality on his final ball and a little timing on his runs. He’ll be claiming the goal no doubt and there was no shortage of effort.

Stieber (6) Struggled to make an impact, and despite several good crosses didn’t really get involved enough. He looks a little bigger this season, but looks like he’ll need more games to get his sharpness back.

Harewood (7) He played some very good football at times tonight, his ball to put Routledge in was fabulous and his work rate can’t be faulted. Unfortunately for him our two starting strikers would both have scored goals with the chances he had, and until he improves his finishing he won’t be displacing either of them.

Delfouneso (6) He’ll have better nights than this. The touch was there and his movement was good, he put in plenty of effort, but just had one of those nights when nothing went right. At times he seemed to pick a difficult flick or an attempt to dribble when a simple pass was on, but on other nights those things will bring him goals. Struggled to maintain possession.

Albrighton was the brightest of the subs, with Mikaelsson dwelling on his only chance for far too long, and Bannan not having time to make an impact.

And that’s your lot, not exactly a thriller, but a win nonetheless and one that sets us up nicely for the season ahead.

The next opportunity to see the reserves is on 29th September at Villa Park at 19:00 against Arsenal.

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Adel is a girl’s name.

two inches higher and it would have started the North Stand redevelopment.

and then a one-on-one chance for big Marlon himself. Alas he had time to think and…well you know.

and it bounced pleasingly skywards off the back of a Tottenham coaches head.

:crylaugh: :crylaugh:

Brilliant stuff Scott :thumb: Oh and the report wasn't bad either :D

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As you can tell from my comments in the main forum, past and present, we tend to watch the same game me and you OBE. Only we differ big time on Lichaj today, I thought he was immense for one so young. He had the lad with the girls name and that porky little number 11 in his pocket all night. I gave him an 8 and man of the match.

One of us is wrong, I suspect it's you. You boys in your posh seats must be too busy eating prawn sandwhiches :winkold:

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