Monday, September 16, 2013

Hat’s the way to do it

Aston Villa 1 – 2 Newcastle Utd

Another week, another win all thanks to a storming performance by HBA. This time the full-back left nursing nightmares having been twisted inside out was Matthew Lowton, who can have enjoyed few more torrid afternoons in his professional career.

With almost a full squad to choose from, the Silver Fox opted to stick with the same back five who have kept clean sheets in previous weeks, meaning there was only space on the bench for Saylor. Further forward it was telling that Vurnon Anita kept his place alongside Moussa Sissoko in midfield, with Mr T held in reserve. In attack, Papiss Cisse was given support by a combination of Dreamboat, HBA and Loic Remy.

Thankfully, what looked a strong line-up on paper proved to be in the mood on the pitch, with Remy and HBA both carrying a pacy threat down the flanks, and Dreamboat getting back in the swing of things in midfield. Sure enough, we started brightly and were deservedly ahead after Remy beat his man and cut the ball back from the byline to Cisse.  While our Senegalese striker’s shot was blocked, the ball fell nicely for HBA to tuck into the empty net from six yards and embark on a Francophone group hug with Dreamboat, Debuchy et al.

With Villa’s principal threat coming from Christian Benteke, our defence once again stood firm, with only one flap from Tim Krul to worry about. At the other end, we continued to press and look dangerous, without ever managing to carve Villa open and score what would have been a decisive second.

With Paul Lambert tearing into his charges at half-time, it was inevitable that Villa would come out stronger in the second half. Sure enough, they should have equalised when One Direction fans’ favourite Gabby Agbonlahor headed wide when presented with an excellent opportunity, which should have served as a warning to our increasingly threatened defence. Sadly, the warning wasn’t heeded as moments later Benteke managed to lose his marker enabling him to power home a free header from a corner which again saw Krul flying out to claim, only to not quite get there, and leave an unguarded goal in his wake.

Thankfully though, with the home side barely settled after getting back on terms, HBA again stepped up to run at Lowton and while Brad Guzan was able to palm away his stinging shot, the ball fell kindly for Goofy (on for Remy) to knock the ball home and notch his first of the season.

From there, Villa never really looked like getting back into the match a second time, while we continued to press with both Cisse and substitute Mr T going close.

The Silver Fox withdrew Dreamboat with a couple of minutes to go, which saw the Frenchman receive a good reception from the away support, hopefully showing him that with a few more performances of this calibre, his reputation on Tyneside can be repaired.

Special mention though to HBA, whose exuberant interview (quoted on shows his joy at playing for the club.  When he plays like this, the joy is most definitely a two-way street.

A Villa fan's verdict: The Villa Blog 

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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