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Reserves vs Charlton : Match Report


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By OutByEaster?

Reserves vs Charlton : Match Report

Aston Villa 3 - 1 Charlton Athletic

A cold wet night at Villa Park saw a strong Villa line up overcome stubborn Charlton.

Let’s start with some team news, and Villa brought eight players to the party with experience of the Premiership. Taylor, Laursen, Samuel, Ridgewell, Gardner, Osbourne, Angel and Berger were all making the step down and two of the other three had played league football while on loan.

A strong line up, but a surprise at kick off as Villa lined up with a formation I’d not seen for a while: 3-4-1-2 was back (Or 5-3-2 if you prefer.) With O’Halloran, and Albrighton the wing backs, and Jlloyd Samuel playing in the middle of three centre backs!

It rained at Villa Park, from the opening whistle to the last and as I believe Peter Kay puts it; it was that wet rain. It wasn’t easy to play football in, and Villa in the new formation began by proving that with some gusto.

“Crash” Gardner setting about the Charlton midfield and winning a series of 50-50’s with some crunching tackles livened up a scrappy opening, but Villa struggled to settle down.

Chances started to come though, and a pattern was formed where Berger would make it to the by-line, cut the ball back to one of our midfielders then watch as it sailed over the bar.

O’Halloran missed a chance from the edge of the six yard box, and the keeper produced an excellent double save from Gardner and Williams.

Another scramble left Charlton defender Mark Staunton winded, but didn’t stop him gently chesting the resulting corner into his own net from a foot out. Appalling defending, I think he’s ready for the first team.

Villa continued to make chances, and Gardner was unlucky to have a couple of excellent headers blocked.

We had to wait until 20 minutes into the second half to see the lead doubled, Berger once more working his way down to the by-line before cutting back to Juan Pablo Angel who’d clearly had enough of the whole “over the bar” malarkey and slotted the ball neatly into the back of the net.

The visitors were nearly back in it when the ref gave a penalty for handball against Samuel. (I’m afraid I missed it.) And Josh Wright sent Taylor the wrong way.

But Osbourne was getting stronger as the game wore on, his powerful run and shot was deflected to McGurk who’d come on for Angel and he directed a deft header just inside the post.

Just time then for a late high vicious lunge on Williams in the corner by (I think) Josh Wright to liven up the last few minutes. Before the free kick had been taken Liam Ridgewell had gotten involved in a scuffle with one of theirs and took out his frustration a couple of minutes later with one of those towering headers with his boot raked down the back of the forward that he sometimes does.

The overly fussy referee decided that was enough of that, and with another neat victory under their belts it was time for the team to get back in for a warm. Sunny Spain it wasn’t. We could have had more, while they didn’t really show anything.

Some ratings:

Taylor (6) had very little to do: caught a cross, punched a cross, and couldn’t stop the penalty. Shouted superbly again. In fact, his shouting became a focal point for the crowd. He shouted, “time” or “out”, we shouted “time” or “out”. He was louder. We laughed like naughty kids.

Albrighton (6) struggled to make an impact from right wing back, his strength is as a crossing winger, and he struggled to marshal the whole of the right side. Worked his socks off though and always offered an outlet. Didn’t bring his shooting boots.

O’Halloran (8.) the best game I’ve seen him have, wing back suits his powerful, athletic running style, took the game to the full back and was a constant threat going forward. He was solid in defence too. Still looks a little uncomfortable in possession from time to time, but he’s physically formidable.

Martin Laursen (7) Not the serene and dominant Crazy Horse we’ve seen in the last two games, but kept Kevin Lisbie quiet all night, and looked both solid and fit.

Jlloyd Samuel (8.) Looked very comfortable in the centre of a three man defence, played some nice balls, cleared up nicely and generally looked very composed. In the last three reserve games he’s featured at right back, left back and centre back and while I don’t think centre half is his future, I’m hoping there is a Villa future for Jlloyd.

Liam Ridgewell (7) Aggressive display as ever from Ridgy, one or two good surges forward and an eagerness to create problems from set pieces. Put a free header from 5 yards out straight at the keeper late on and let his temper get the better of him at the end.

Craig Gardner (8.) Left bruises all over the Charlton midfield, covered every blade of grass, won the ball well and moved it around sensibly. A very good all round midfield display, spoilt only slightly by the fact that with better finishing he might have had four goals.

Isiah Osbourne (8.) Worked his socks off and got stronger as others tired. His runs through the Charlton midfield late on were an indicator of his strength. Looks awkward but by God he’s effective.

Juan Pablo Angel (7) Worked hard, couldn’t really get the one touch stuff that he’s good at going in this weather with Williams. The ball only really fell to him once and he put it away. A decent display and a goal should give him something to smile about on tomorrow’s flight.

Sam Williams (6) willing and with a huge heart, but up front with Angel and Berger his lack of quality showed. Seems a little slow, but has a great attitude.

Patrik Berger (7) Like Laursen, good without being a different class, excellent use of the ball as ever and good running down the flanks meant that he was always a thorn in their side, and his work rate deserves a mention too.


Steiber, McGurk and Bellon: I’m lumping them together because they performed in much the same way. Neat, tidy footballers full of running with excellent control and good vision. McGurk took his goal nicely, Steiber looked creative and dangerous. These three will make next year’s reserves team worth watching.

Special mention should go to the Charlton physio who covered every blade of grass. I don’t know if he had a pocket full of sweets, but his young charges seemed keen to have him on at every opportunity.

In summary, A reasonable crowd saw a good performance on the night with plenty to enjoy, Villa Park remains a beautiful place when it’s empty and lit up, but there is I guess no substitute for the thrills of the first team and it seems strange to have visited it for the reserves with there having been no first team game for so long. Roll on the end of this break. After all, if I wanted to sit with a small crowd and watch football from a lower league, I’d be a Blues fan.

Next reserves game is away at Arsenal on the 27th February (at Barnet)

Next home reserve game is West Ham at Bescot stadium on the 6th March.

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Just about a spot on report there OBE. Ozzy did get stronger and stronger as the game wore on. He is so, so raw and can make embarrassing errors yet you can definately see what MON sees in him. There is something there that is special .Don't know what it is yet but its there , my god its there. Gardner put in some fearsome tackles and for the first hour absolutely ran the show( Ozzy ran it for the last half an hour) . He could have had 4 or 5 goals with a bit of luck.He has a touch of the Scott Parkers about him

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By OutByEaster?

It rained at Villa Park, from the opening whistle to the last and as I believe Peter Kay puts it; it was that wet rain.

"It's that fine rain that soaks you through!" :winkold:

Cheers for the report OBE. I came to the Fulham game last time out, but couldn't get to this one. Knew you'd deliver with the match report though!

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Good report again dude.

Oh, and IMO, spot on with:

Jlloyd Samuel... In the last three reserve games he’s featured at right back, left back and centre back and while I don’t think centre half is his future, I’m hoping there is a Villa future for Jlloyd.

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OBE - excellent report but it's two games running that Jlloyd has played centre half and both times he seems to have played well

Oops. :oops: I was looking at the last three home games ! (and he came off injured after 20 minutes of one of those.) He is a very versatile player though, and I think he's worth keeping.

Are you doing the Arsenal game LV ?

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