With the League Cup semi final second leg just 24 hours away let's reminisce that night just three years ago.
|James Milner produced a man of the match performance|
to help take Aston Villa through to the Carling Cup; as it was
called then; final.
Aston Villa 6-4 Blackburn Rovers
The final whistle went after ninety minutes of thrilling football on a cold January night at Villa Park. After an unbelievable 6-4 victory on the night; 7-4 on aggregate; I remember walking out of the Trinity Road, smile ear to ear still hearing the fans singing "Birmingham are you listening."
It was an evening of extraordinary drama which ended in Aston Villa bagging themselves a place at Wembley for the first time under Martin O'Neill, as the second leg of the semi final turned into a shoot-out.
Villa's manager ended the club's decade long wait for a trip to English football's home after ninety minutes in which both defences took leave of their senses.
Five goals by the hosts in a thirty two minute period either side of half time proved decisive as Villa overcame an early hiccup to put themselves within sight of their League Cup triumph. But that only told half the story.
Blackburn, trailing to James Milner's goal from the first leg, had threatened a surprise as they raced into a two-goal lead.
|Ashley finished off the night in typical 'Young' style.|
Then Christopher Samba hauled over Gabriel Agbonlahor 10 minutes later, conceding a penalty and earning himself a red card to turn the tide claret and blue.
Three goals early in the second-half were followed by two from the visitors, who simply would not allow their own final dreams to die.
But when Ashley Young strode half the length of the Villa Park pitch to finish inside the far post in added time, O'Neill and every fan waving a flag could finally relax.
A memorable night's entertainment.
Looking to tomorrow night's semi final against League Two side Bradford City, the prospect of another night like this is exciting yet nerve racking.
After Phil Parkinson's side produced a famous 3-1 win at Valley Parade in the first leg, they face an improving Premier League outfit for a place in the Capital One Cup showpiece.
Paul Lambert and the claret and blue faithful will be calling for a different Aston Vila side to turn up at Villa Park from the one that suffered a Capital One cup shock against Bradford.
We have a massive challenge on our hands, with a two goal deficit to turn over, but after a promising first half performance against West Bromich Albion on Staurday evening, we can take the positives into this cup game. The partnership forming between Charles N'Zogbia, Gabby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke is shaping up nicely; could this be the front three that can fire Paul Lambert's team into the final?
With the return of Ron Vlaar, the leader and experience that we've been so heavily missing, should boost and tighten up our leaky defence.
Reaching Wembley would be a high for the season, after the ups and downs of the Premier League. Let's get Villa Park rocking and fire the boys to victory. After all we only need two goals.
(Aplogies for the lack of pictures, my computer has been playing up today)