This Is Villa Park

This Is Villa Park

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Everyone Likes To Be Loved"

Aston Villa 3-1 Blackburn Rovers

I sat in the north stand upper, in the same seat that I'd sat in for the past three seasons and this was the first time I'd reached my seat with butteflies of excitement. When the bells started ringing and Stan lead the team out I realised why I loved the Villa, which is too hard to put into words. Isn't that what love is? When you can't explain why you love them, because you just do. I stood and applauded the team, my eyes fixed on the tunnel waiting for McLeish's arrival. I knew what I was going to do, that was to clap the loudest of the stadium and make sure that he knew that I backed him. I doubt that one though. It was a sight that I haven't seen at Villa Park in a while, Villa fans united. For once, everyone one stood together clapping as McLeish made that minute walk to the dugout. I was touched and you don't often here me say that.

Of course, it wasn't just about McLeish's reception, there were eleven vital players on the pitch that would be able to ensure that when the final whistle blew the manager would still get an ovation. As hoped, the boys did the business. An encouraging performance full of energy and attack in the first half, and a stable second half gifted Aston Villa and Big Eck's first three points of the season, lifting us to the top of the Barclays Premier League; well aty least for twelve or so hours.

Forgotten man Gabby Agbonlahor scored the opener, a Leighton Baines-esque finish, flying into the top right corner from the left flank past a helpless - a really helpless - Paul Robinson. The former England number one shot stopper was called into action just minutes later by yet another Gabby shot. This time involving Charles N'Zogbia, who made his home debut, and Emile Heskey, who later scored Villa's seond goal.

The big man Heskey shot on the slip past Robinson, with an assit for on-fire Agbonlahor, just before the break. Aston Villa entertaining their home crowd more than some had been expecting.

A second clean sheet for Shay Given, also making his Villa home debut, was a miss however when Pedersen managed to squeeze between Dunne and Warnock to see his header squeeze into the top corner following a Juinor Hoillet cross.

The claret and blue boys hadn't come out onto the pitch for the second half full of their exuberance which had been displayed throughtout the first forty-five minutes; mirroring their second half sloppyness against Fulham, which led to Blackburn's goal. Star man Gabby had already been substituted at half-time through injury, being replaced by Marc Albrighton, who sadly looked off the pace. Something needed to be changed, that came from injuries to Luke Young and Emile Heskey. On in their place was Ciaran Clark and Barry Bannan. Our wee man Barry changing the whole game, adding pace and that extra energy that had been lacking in this second half. Bannan setting up Villa's third goal of the afternoon. Darren Bent's first of the season. Coming from nothing, Bannan releasing the trigger from twenty-five yards out. It took a deflection along the way, finding Bent's feet perfectly.

As he took two strides to the left, he fired the bullet.

Blackburn were dead.

(Molly's Note: After watching Match of the Day last night I realised it was Stan Petrov who's shot feel to Benty for the third goal. Sorry for any confusion.)

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