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An Everton Match report by Blandy

Just back from a proper late winter's game at Goodison, I thought I'd jot down a few match related musings

You'll know by now, no doubt, that Villa won today. 1-0 courtesy of Chris (not a bluenose anymore) Sutton's neat glancing header from Ozzy's cross, but what you won't perhaps know, unless you were there was the nature of the performance, and what, to me at least it showed.

The day started with the short trek from Lytham to Liverpool on the local train, and a convivial meet up in the pub with fellow north west Villans Bicks, Jon and Jim, Jon's brother. Drinks were taken and chat ensued. We knew that Gary Cahill would be starting, thanks to another friend, Drat from this board, and felt that Olly would be at right back, but were unsure as to how the rest of the team would line up.

After a Taxi ride to the ground, just in time for kick off we saw that Olly had indeed moved to right back, Gary C and Ridge were in the centre with Freddie Bouma at left back, With Gareth Barry out as well, Stan petrov was on the left, Ozzy and Gav in the centre and Gabby out right. The front two were JPA and Chris Sutton.

With the wind working up a fair old bluster, rain sweeping in and the Evertonians and Villans huddling in the old ground, I thought two things - 1. it would likely not be a classic match, and 2. Jon really shouldn't have left his coat in the pub.

The first 20 minutes or so were fairly even and involved much "competing", with both sides seeking to get the upper hand, but not much actually happening. It was absorbing, though.

It was Villa, kicking into the wind (when it wasn't swirling) who wrestled control. Much of this was due to the midfield 3 of Gav, Ozzy and Petrov, but it was also clear that Olly, and Gaz and Ridge were on top of their opponents.

Some long range shooting from Stan Petrov and a few efforts from Everton didn't really trouble either keeper, but Villa were on top and were creating chances of making chances, without quite getting there.

Other factors at play were an inconsistent ref, and an unfortunate collision between 2 Everton players, which led to a 5 minute hold up while Tim Cahill was gingerly stretchered off. Hope he recovers soon, he's a good player. Beattie came on in his stead.

Shortly before half time Mellberg, I think, knocked a ball for Gabby to chase, against Lescott. He won the race (natch) laid it back to Isaiah Osbourne, and Ozzy's cross was nicely glanced in by Sutton. No power, but the placement was perfect. 1-0.

We had a couple of other chances, but couldn't get the second we might have deserved.

Second half saw more Everton pressure than the first, but Tommy in goal had little to do, such was the excellence of the defence, ably assisted by all of the midfield and forwards.

The rain increased in ferocity, Evertonians roused themselves to egg their side on and the away section sang away for our boys.

Despite some further dubious refereeing decisions we held out pretty well, with one spell of play deep into stoppage time seeing 3 Villa players hurl themselves to block a shot.

The whistle went and we'd won.

In a way the match won't make great TV viewing, or and game of the season lists, but it was hugely, hugely, pleasing.

Why? - well on several levels. With players out injured we shuffled the small squad and the manager coaxed a real team performance out of every one of the players. Because Isiah Osbourne looked so much more at home than he had at Anfield. Because the tactics were spot on. Because we won at a place where we've not done too well in recent years. Because Everton had not lost at home in the league. Because we "bounced back" after a thumping at Chelsea in midweek, but because most of all, in the corresponding game last year we were dreadful, but this year the same squad, pretty much, raised their game and the fans and players were united in our aims.

We stood up for ourselves and came out on top.

Some marks.

Tommy - 7 - not busy, but a lesser mark would be harsh.

Olly- 7.5 - the best right back at the club

Gary Cahill - Splendid performance - 7.5

Ridge - Ditto - 7.5. It's heartening to see two young centre halves in total control of their job at an away game.

Freddie Bouma - decent 6.5

Gabby - 6. Didn't hold up the ball so well, but still a threat, and kept going, not letting his head drop. Good attitude

Gav - 7.5. Good stuff from Gav. Booked harshly, I thought.

Ozzy - 7.5. Now that's the stuff. A really good performance.

Stan Petrov 7.5 - Did extremely well out left

JPA - 6 - a real team performance, without threatening to score, but he put the shift in.

Chris Sutton - 7.5. Not that mobile, but those who saw the Blackburn game last week will know what he does. He did it again, and ran himself into the ground, as they all did.

Sub Steve Davis (Sutton) - only on for 5 minutes.

Sub Didier Agathe (JPA) - some good work - 6

Sometimes I feel people make too much of the cult of the manager, but Nartin O'Neill deserves a huge does of thanks for getting that level of performance from a tired and limited squad.

We got soaked on the walk back into town, but it was worth it. Thanks Villa.

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Great performance from the lads today after Wednesday with the injuries thought we may take a tonking but well done again MON 3rd place and lookin good lets keep it goin. PS any of you North West lads live in Southport. Reason asking met a couple on a cruise in August from Southport who said had a Villa fan live opposite them just intrigued to know it might be one of you if not you need to recruit this guy as he's on your doorstep.

Up the Villa

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Spot on this post! A wonderful, wonderful day in the swirling rain and wind at a tired old stadium.

A classic battling performance from everyone in claret and blue, true grit with that little bit of class to take the points.

Winning is sweet but as all VILLA fans know those away wins never come that often and therefore are always so special.

I'm proud of all our players today, young and old they gave everything in the cause, which is all we ask.

And Martin, I don't care about the hype about you. You're true class and thanks, you have given us all back our pride!

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Thought Cahill going off was a key moment as they looked pretty good in the first half up till then! Worst ground ever btw, what a shit hole.

Biggest cheer of the day for the everton fans.... when they won a throwing in our half :shock:

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Thought Cahill going off was a key moment as they looked pretty good in the first half up till then! Worst ground ever btw, what a shit hole.

Biggest cheer of the day for the everton fans.... when they won a throwing in our half :shock:

i thought Everton stepped it up a bit in the second half, just after the break we were struggling to get any kind of control.We weathered the storm and a came again..... still a long way to go, despite a fantastic result.

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Well done Pete, great report, I should have been at the game on saturday, but gave my ticket to one of the Swedish supporters who came over for the game. The Villa fans were in fine form that was all you could hear on Football First well done to you all.

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2. Jon really shouldn't have left his coat in the pub.

We got soaked on the walk back into town, but it was worth it. Thanks Villa.

Excellent report Pete. Good to meet up too with you and Bicks.

Excellent day, excellent result, very good performance and hard earnt 3 points.

Bicks kindly rang the pub so they held my top for me behind the bar which i picked up after the game. :)

also managed not to get to soaked on the walk back as we chnaced upon some buses going straight to lime street. 8)

all in all, an excellent day. I'll have to get to some more of these away games :)

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