There have been many entertaining (and some poor!)
of matches of significance and great entertainment value. Please note that there has (in the cases of several
matches) been great help from (in particular) the Villa Talk regulars John Lewis, Ian (drat01) and 'Paddy' and
Jörgen Bolin and Jörn Mårtensson.
If YOU have an account of an interesting match at
1925/26: 29th August, 1925,
FL Division 1: v. Burnley 10-0
Spiers; Smart, Mort, Moss, Talbot, Muldoon,
November, 1930, FL Division 1: v.
Biddlestone; Bowen, Mort; Gibson, Talbot, Tate; Mandley, Beresford, Waring,
1932/33: 19th November, 1932, FL Division 1: v. Arsenal 5-3
Team: Morton; Blair, Mort, Kingdon, Gibson, Tate, Mandley, Astley, Brown, Walker, Houghton.
March, 1946, FA Cup 6th Round: v. Derby County 3-4
Team: Wakeman; Potts, Cummings; Moss (F), Parkes, Lowe (E); Goffin, Broome, Edwards, Iverson, Smith (L).
January, 1948, FA Cup 3rd Round: v. Man United, 4-6
Team: Jones; Potts, Parkes; Dorsett, Moss (F), Lowe, Edwards, Martin, Ford, Brown, Smith (L).
1953/54: 24th August, 1953, FL Division 1: v. Man City 3-0
This, the year of the Queen's Coronation and the conquest of Mount Everest! It was also the first match I saw that I can remember in any way (I had been to a match a couple of years earlier when I was handed down over everyone's heads in the Holte End so that I could have a better view!). The records also show that this was George Martin's last week as Villa manager - but I don't remember anything about that as a 9-year-old! It seems that a week later, Eric Houghton took over the job and eventually led Villa to cup success (in 1957). Neither do I remember much about the match except some of the players' names, including the great servants Harry Parkes and Peter Aldis as full-backs, the Moss brothers in the half-back line and Johnny Dixon up front. There were also big money signings that attracted big attention from other clubs: Danny Blanchflower (who later captained Spurs' great 'double' winning side of 1960/61) and Tommy Thompson, who both scored in this match. It was to be later in this season that the later-famed Peter McParland started to become a regulat first-teamer.
Team: Parsons; Parkes, Aldis; Canning, Moss (F.), Moss (A.); Dixon, Blanchflower, Walsh, Thompson, Lockhart.
1953/54: 20th April, 1954, FL Division 1: v. West Bromwich A. 6-1
It's Easter, 1954. The Baggies
are to play in the Cup Final in May and will beat Preston to win the Cup. The
Baggies also finish runners-up in the league (to Wolves).
Team: Jones; Parkes, Aldis; Blanchflower, Moss (F), Baxter; Roberts (K.O.), Tyrell, Pace, Dixon, McParland.
1955/56: 15th October, 1955, FL Division 1: v. Man United 4-4
This match against the
legendary "Busby Babes" turned out to be the occasion of Dave Hicksons only goal during his very short tenure of
12 games with Villa! He was a famous Merseysider with the unique distinction of playing for
Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere, and was a
formidable goalscorer for all of them. He played
against Villa (for Liverpool) in another 4-4 draw at Villa Park in 1959/60
(see report below).
1955/56 proved to be a season of near-relegation for Villa, with only very late but great signings by Houghton (he brought in Nigel Sims (goal), Jimmy Dugdale (centre-half), Les Smith (right-wing) and Jackie Sewell (inside-right)) and the restoration of Derek Pace at centre-forward, to bring off a brilliant recovery in the last two months of the season. At the time of this match, Villa were lying in 18th place with only one win after 13 games.
Team: Jones; Lynn, Aldis; Crowe, Moss (A.), Baxter; Southren, Dixon, Hickson, Saward, McParland.
1956/57: 27th October, 1956, FL Division 1: v. Birmingham City 3-1
This match was to do with making a statement to the Blues as to who were the real masters in Brum! Only the previous season, the Blues had got to the FA Cup Final, but lost. Villa, for their part, had not seen a cup final since 1924 (a situation that was to be amended that very season!), and with Blues' success at getting to their final, their supporters had been quick to put down the Villa as a team of the past! Villa, of course, made sure that this match did not go by without some alteration of their view! Villa achieved a good win, memorable for a blistering goal from Stan "the Wham" Lynn, from outside the penalty area. K.O. Roberts and Jackie Sewell also scored. To make a double emphasis, Villa also won 2-1 at Small Heath later in the season, and, of course, WON the cup that the Blues had failed to achieve!
Team: Sims; Lynn, Aldis; Baxter, Dugdale, Saward; Smith, Sewell, Dixon, K.O. Roberts, McParland.
Other matches of interest in that cup-winning season (1956/57)
13th March, 1957, v. Cardiff City 4-1 A Wednesday afternoon (! - before floodlights!) match with Gerry Hitchens on view - playing for Cardiff! In December the same year he was with Villa !
22nd April, 1957, v. Wolves 4-0 This was the first of an Easter 2-day head-to-head with the then mighty Wolves - Billy Wright, Bert Williams, Peter Broadbent (10 years later to become a Villa player) and all. Villa gave Wolves no room in this thrilling encounter, but were made to pay for it in the next day return, with Villa going down 0-3 in that match! I was at both matches.
1959/60: 14th November, 1959, FL Division 2: v. Charlton Athletic 11-1
That very week, manager Joe Mercer had bemoaned the fact that Villa were not scoring enough goals in their attempt to get back to Division One at the first attempt, and the Villa strikers were under no illusion that if they did not start delivering the goods, fresh faces would be given a try, especially as a young reserve centre-forward (Ken Price) was hitting a lot of goals for the reserves. So, the scoreline that resulted in this match seems to have reflected that the Villa (particularly Hitchens) had taken warning from Joe!
After just two minutes, Hitchens opened the scoring. By half-time the striker had a hat-trick and Villa led 4-1. It was the stylish strike not lodged by Hitchens which had owed most to that pre-match plotting. Wylie's movement created space for Vic Crowe to dodge to the by-line. When Crowe's cross arrived, Hitchens occupied the defenders and Thomson timed his run to perfection to power a diving header into the net. Charlton had certainly picked the wrong day to visit Villa Park. By the 60th minute, it was 6-1 and Hitchens had five. And just when it seemed the Londoners' plight could not get any worse, it did - when goalkeeper Willie Duff broke a finger in trying to save the sixth goal. Left-back Don Townend took over in goal and was beaten three times in six crazy minutes (Wylie 63, Thomson 65, Jimmy MacEwan 69) before, according to the Mail, he "gave up in disgust". Striker Stuart Leary took over next with Duff now back on the pitch and gaining sympathetic applause from Villa's fans for at least trying his best out on the left wing. But it was Villa's left winger that struck the final two blows. Peter McParland made it 10-1 in the 72nd minute before finally, four minutes from time, crowning an astonishing day in the most scintillating style. The Irishman collected the ball near the half-way line and raced all the way through to score a brilliant goal.
All the forwards scored that day: Hitchens (5), McParland (2), Thomson (2), Wylie, MacEwan. The next two games were each won by the margin of 5-0, so Villa scored 21 goals in 3 matches, Hitchens scoring 10 of them! Joe Mercer was a little happier, methinks, after those three weeks!
Team: Sims; Lynn, Neal; Crowe, Dugdale, Saward; MacEwan, Thomson, Hitchens, Wylie, McParland.
1959/60: 6th February, 1960, FL Division 2: v. Huddersfield Town, 4-0
Bobby Thomson's first hat-trick for Villa knocked a fearful dent into Huddersfield's fine defensive record. Up till this match, it had been bettered only by Villa's own. Until Thomson's two goals in seven minutes you could see why, too, so well did Bill McGarry and his colleagues pack their goal. Once Thomson got into his stride, Huddersfield seemed to lose their grip on matters, and apart from some fine work by left-back Ray Wilson, they were reduced to a scrambling shadow of a defence. The spearheading of Gerry Hitchens, the dash of left-winger Peter McParland, and the scheming of his inside-partner, Ron Wylie, began to find a way through the Huddersfield defence at will. Only during brief periods of the second half did the northerners look like fighting back, and then the coolness of Jimmy Dugdale always held them. McGarry and left-half Gordon Low tried vainly to help out the Huddersfield attack, in which Dennis Law never lived up to his reputation. But their upfield play only succeeded in leaving gaps for the Second Division leaders' attack to exploit, and Thomson and Hitchens promptly set the seal on Villa's 13th home win of the season.
It is to be noted that Ray Wilson was subsequently one of England's best-ever full-backs, (and was a member of the 1966 World Cup winning-team) and Dennis Law was the scourge of opponents' defences for club and for Scotland!
Goals: Thomson (29, 36, 55), Hitchens (75). Team: Sims; Lynn, Neal; Crowe, Dugdale, Saward; MacEwan, Thomson, Hitchens, Wylie, McParland.
1959/60: 30th March, 1960, FL Division 2: v. Liverpool, 4-4
Villa were now looking to be
heading for promotion at the first attempt, but at times in these later games
in the season Villa were looking tired and a little complacent. In this
match, Villa also had a few replacements to make; Trevor Birch was in for Pat
Saward (away on international duty with Rep. of
Ireland) with Jimmy Adam and Brian Handley deputising
for Jimmy MacEwan and Gerry Hitchens.
What followed was a truly magnificent game of football. After 45 minutes of
high entertainment, the visitors held a commanding 3-0 lead and were four
goals ahead after an hour. Villa's comeback to equalise
was fantastic, and they could even have won it in the last minutes. It was
not until after 66 minutes that McParland, with a
characteristic run and shot, opened Villa's account, and six minutes later
Bobby Thomson neatly tucked away Jimmy Adam's cross to reduce the arrears to
two. Villa were nothing like the side which had dozed around for an hour or
so, and with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining McParland
was floored in the penalty-box. Stan Lynn stepped forward and thundered in
the spot-kick. Villa were back in touch and the fans were going wild. On 85
minutes the hard-working Thomson fastened on to Wylie's through-ball and
sweetly drove the ball past Slater for the equaliser
amidst tremendous excitement and cheering. In the dying minutes
Team: Sims; Lynn, Neal, Crowe, Dugdale, Birch, Adam, Thomson, Handley, Wylie, McParland.
1960/61: 22nd October, 1960, FL Division 1: v. Birmingham City 6-2
The season had not been going well, particularly away from home, and Joe Mercer again decided that his forwards needed an uplift. So he went out and bought Alan O'Neil from Sunderland, and was signed in time to make his debut against the Blues. Further, Bobby Thomson moved back to replace the injured Vic Crowe, and Pat Saward was to play this his last game for Villa (a '57 Cup Winner, and, with Dixon, Lynn and Dugdale also to retire or be displaced by the end of the season, Nigel Sims would remain the only member of the '57 Wembley side).
O’Neill scored after 15 seconds, and the result ended in a hat-trick for Hitchens and two for O'Neil in an attacking spree that had the Blues totally surprised. So uplifted were Villa after this match that it was followed by a 2-0 win in the next (away) match at West Brom, then 2-0 (home) v. Burnley, followed by four more league games undefeated, the run ending in a 5-1 home win over Dennis Law's Man City. Strangely, after his opening good form, O'Neil failed to sparkle after those matches and left a few years later with very few matches to his name.
Team: Sims; Neal, Winton, Thomson, Dugdale, Saward; MacEwan, O'Neil, Hitchens, Wylie, McParland.
1960/61: 29th April, 1961, FL Division 1: v. Sheffield Wednesday 4-1
The last match of the season.
It had been a strange season that had started well at home to Jimmy Greaves'
Chelsea, but then there had been some poor results, particularly away from
home, until that 6-2 win over Birmingham and the subsequent 'purple' period.
After that, results had been average, and it came to the last match of the
season with nothing more to play for. Sheffield Wednesday were already sure
of the league runners-up spot and had a good team,
Team: Sims; Neal, Aitken; Crowe, Dugdale, Deakin; MacEwan, Thomson, Hitchens, Dixon, Burrows.
1961/62: 21st April, 1962, FL Division 1: v. Leicester City 8-3
An Easter week-end of rich entertainment, with this emphatic win followed by a 5-1 home win over Notts Forest on the Monday! A combination of near end-of-season complacency by Leicester, rain and a slippy pitch were probably the main causes for this high-scoring match in which Bobby Thomson earned himself a hat-trick. Though not perhaps international-class, Thomson had been a regular (yet supporting) goal-scorer since his arrival from Wolves in 1959, and, combined with his high work-rate, was always ready to push-aside any would-be threat to his inside-forward berth, although he also often played at wing-half. He had scored 2 goals three weeks earlier in an exciting 5-4 win at Arsenal. Other scorers were Dougan (2), Burrows, Baker and one own goal.
Team: Sims; Lee, Aitken; Crowe, Sleeuwenhoek, Deakin; Ewing, Baker, Dougan, Thomson, Burrows.
1963/64: 16th November, 1963, FL Division 1: v. Man United 4-0
Man U's season that year was very average by their standards, but with a team containing the likes of Crerand, Charlton and Law, they were not to be sneered at! Also, Man U would have gone top of the league if they'd won this match!
In this match, the skills of Phil Woosnam were sadly missing (through injury) with Geoff Sidebottom making a rare appearance in goal. Villa's win was helped with the first-half sending off of Dennis Law once he had kicked Alan Deakin in the face after Deakin had come in with a firm but fair sliding challenge at a time in the match when Villa were already in the lead and were trying the patience of the Man U team with their exuberant and determined play. A match remembered for Villa's determination and pace and also the continued good play of 17-year old full-back Micky Wright, who made his debut that season and stayed with Villa even through to their Division 3 days. Hateley scored two, with Deakin and Burrows getting the others.
Team: Sidebottom; Wright, Aitken; Deakin, Sleeuwenhoek, Pountney; MacEwan, Ewing, Hateley, Wylie, Burrows.
1966/67: 4th March, 1967, FL Division 1: v. Tottenham Hotspur 3-3
This (now forgotten) match was virtually the anniversary of 19th March the previous year when Villa drew 5-5 at Spurs after being 1-5 down. Now, with Villa's main stars Woosnam and Hateley having departed to other fields, Villa were in deep danger of relegation. Following the signing of Peter Broadbent and Willie Anderson and a 2-0 away win at Leeds, however (and earlier wins at Newcastle and even at home against Man U), Villa were at that time showing signs of being able to save themselves. Before this match, the table showed the following as the bottom clubs (note 2 teams relegated and 2 points for a win in those days):
P W D L F A Pts
Villa even had the luxury of having a game in-hand at this stage. So, Villa fans thought, a win against Spurs in this next match might just be the start for a recovery and security from relegation. Imagine, therefore, the state of the Park when Villa went into a 3-0 lead within the first half-hour, including a rattling shot from Lew Chatterley that went in off the bar. That first half-hour was played with such effort, though, that when Spurs pulled a goal back before half-time, the thought then really was "will we get anything from this match?!". In the second half, Spurs (with their star players including Jennings, Mullery, Greaves and Gilzean) pulled the match back to all-square, and Villa, no matter how hard they tried just could not get back into the match, but at least salvaged a point - a no mean effort against a class team.
Team: Withers; Wright, Aitken; Tindall, Sleeuwenhoek, Pountney; Anderson, Chatterley, Stobart, Broadbent, MacLeod.
But, unaccountably, Villa's effort at that point in the season, and still with 12 matches to go, then seemed to evaporate, with Newcastle and West Brom (also very much in the danger area) doing the reverse and performing a recovery. For Villa, the season finished with no wins in the last nine games, with it coming completely apart with three sound defeats in the last three matches, including a 2-6 away defeat at Southampton in the last game. That was already too late, however, as the 2-4 defeat at home to Everton in the previous match had sealed Villa's fate - Southampton were then safe. The next season was to be spent in Division 2, and no re-appearance to Division 1 until 1975.
West Brom 42 16 7 19 77
1968/69: 29th January, 1969, FA Cup 4th Round Replay: v. Southampton, 2-1
This was the first sign of real life from the Villa since their relegation in 1967.
a 2-2 draw at Southampton (after being 2 goals up in the first 19 minutes).
Tommy Docherty (manager) had been at the Villa barely two weeks, Southampton
were 5th in Division 1; we were still near the bottom of Division 2! 59,084
crowd were at this replay, making it a fantastic atmosphere! Villa played
perhaps their smallest ever forward line at this time, and yet the main
memory of that night is of Dave Rudge scorching
down the right wing and putting a perfect cross for Lionel Martin to score.
It was Broadbent with the pass that put Rudge in
for the cross, though - a perfectly weighted defence-splitting pass from the
centre circle to the corner flag which even the best player would be proud
of. Once Rudge had got to the ball first and
skipped over the challenge to square the ball to Martin running in, with
Godfrey contributing a deft dummy, there was a split second with the cross
still on its way when it was thought the whole crowd just knew a goal was
Team: Dunn; Wright, Aitken; Hole, Edwards, Turnbull; Rudge, Broadbent, Godfrey, Martin, Anderson.
1970/71: 23rd December, 1970, FL Cup (Semi-Final, second leg): v. Man United, 2-1
Villa were by now in the old Division Three, yet had progressed this far in the League Cup! Man United fielded a side that was virtually that that won the European Cup two years before. Villa were without Bruce Rioch for this match. These were unlikely contenders! In the first leg at Old Trafford Villa had been grateful to the rearguard action of John Dunn and central defenders Fred Turnbull and Brian Tiler to achieve a draw. At Villa Park, the cheers of the capacity-packed Holte End were silenced for awhile when Kidd gave United an early lead but Villa fought back magnificently. United goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer, later to win a League Championship medal with Villa, was under plenty of pressure, and he was fortunate when efforts from Lochhead and 'Chico' Hamilton were deflected off target. But Best and Kidd brought saves from Dunn at the other end. In the second half, Villa stormed forward, roared on by their fans. Andy Lochhead levelled the scores, and Pat McMahon continued to trouble United defenders with his pace. Ian Ure headed away Hamilton's shot, and Rimmer saved from a close-range right-foot shot by Lochhead. In the 72nd minute came the winning goal, a spectacular header from McMahon, and Villa won through by virtue of a 3-2 aggregate score, although it took some steadfast defending before Villa's first trip to Wembley for 14 years (to face Spurs) was finally secure. However, even though Bruce Rioch was available for the Final, Villa (though they had their chances) lost the chance to beat yet another top club.
Team: Dunn; Bradley, Aitken, Godfrey, Turnbull, Tiler, McMahon, Davie Gibson, Lochhead, ChicoHamilton, Anderson.
1971/72: 12th February, 1972, FL Division 3: v. Bournemouth 2-1
This contribution was provided by VillaTalk regular John Lewis, with many thanks.
A crowd of 48,110 (yes, 48,110!), a then Third Division record gate witnessed a terrific top of the table clash between John Bonds Bournemouth and Vic Crowes League Cup runners-up of the previous season. Those Villa fans that were lucky enough to have been present on that afternoon are unlikely to forget the passion of a packed stadium that willed Villa to a terrific comeback from a goal down to gain the 2 points that we needed from what was a real 4 pointer (2 points for a win in those days!).
Ted MacDougall scored first with a terrific diving header in front of the Holte End. He started the move finding his left winger in the centre of our half who then hit a cross into the middle of the penalty area that found MacDougall unmarked and continuing his run. His full length diving header found the corner of the net with Cumbes well beaten. But, although shocked, the Villa fans were determined to give everything that day and I well recall the chants of Villa, Villa, Villa and the stamping of feet on the wooden flooring of the old Trinity Road Stand as not just the Holte End but all 4 corners of the ground got totally behind their team.
With the cries of Villa, Villa, behind him Bruce Rioch took a throw in and found Chico Hamilton on the edge of the penalty area. Chico turned and floated an inviting cross that Vowden climbed and beat their keeper to, and his header found the same corner of the net that Ted MacDougall had earlier. A point saved, but we wanted both.
The game was on Match of the Day that evening and as George Curtis was about to take a free kick from just inside their half the commentator said, Just listen to this crowd!. Curtis did - he hit the ball into the Bournemouth penalty area and found Andy Lochheads head. The ball bounced up and Andy reacted quickly to volley the dropping ball into the corner of the net. This sent the crowd delirious. This was a game we needed to win and we did. Seldom, if ever, can the fans have given Villa any better or more passionate backing, and for me this game showed that the giant that is Aston Villa was finally re-awakening.
Team: Cumbes, Wright, Aitken, Rioch, Curtis, Turnbull (Brown), Graydon, McMahon, Lochhead, Hamilton, Vowden.
1971/72: 21st February, 1972, Friendly v. Santos (Brazil) 2-1
It may have only been a friendly, but this game was another landmark in the history of the Villa. What other club in the third division could have attracted such a crowd, and in such circumstances?
The miner's strike led to power cuts at the time and meant that Villa had to hire a generator to ensure that the match went ahead. Even then the floodlights were a long way short of full power and this led to complaints from the Brazilians. The game, though, could have been played in darkness for all the supporters cared.
Standing on the Holte was, yet again, a marvellous experience,. In fact, such was the crowd in there on the night that constant appeals were made over the loudspeakers for people to climb down from the floodlights, the scoreboard, everywhere that had been commandeered by supporters anxious to see the legendary Pele. Rarely can an opponent have been given such a reception by a home crowd. His name was chanted before the game, his every touch cheered and he left the pitch to a tremendous ovation.
It was well deserved, because even though the Brazilians were obviously treating the game as a warm-up for their forthcoming season, Pele showed the touches that had made him the greatest player in football.
On such an occasion, the score is unimportant. Villa won but the players would admit that the opposition didn't mind losing. The game itself was an exhibition, although Villa seemed to take things seriously and refused to let the Brazilians display their skills as much as they would have liked - with one exception. Even in a friendly Pele was obviously as competitive as ever, showing the determination that separates the best from the rest. He couldn't stop Villa from taking the lead after six minutes with a Pat McMahon header from a cross by Ray Graydon. Graydon himself made it 2-0 with just under an hour gone, scoring from a penalty after Bruce Rioch had been fouled. In the 72nd minute Edu showed a piece of typical Brazilian genius when pulling a goal back with a brilliant curling free-kick from 25 yards out.
The result didn't really matter. Villa could say that they had beaten arguably the world's best team. 54,437 people could say that they'd seen Pele in the flesh. And the greatest footballer in history could say that he'd played at the game's greatest arena.
1976/77: 15th December, 1976, FL Division 1: v. Liverpool, 5-1
was Villa’s second season back in the top tier and were showing great
potential. In this match, Villa thrilled a near 43,000 crowd with 45 minutes
of breath-taking, football which completely annihilated the mighty Liverpool
of the Kevin Keegan era. Villa were 5-1 ahead by the interval, and the
Birmingham Post said: "League leaders
1983/84: 27th August, 1983, FL Division 1: v. West Bromwich A. 4-3
Team details and scorers provided by Jorgen Bolin , with many thanks. An unusually high-scoring and (as usual!) hard-fought Baggies 'derby', with Evans, Walters, Shaw and Ormsby grabbing Villa's goals.
Team: Spink; Williams, Evans, Ormsby, Gibson; Curbishley, Mortimer, McMahon, Walters; Shaw, Withe.
1989/90: 5th November, 1989, FL Division 1: v. Everton 6-2
Everton had had quite a successful run in the 1980s, and they came to Villa Park with a good start to the season and expecting to come away from this game with at least a point. They included Martin Keown (signed from Villa) who was expected to become a significant cog in their defence. Everton were in for a big surprise that night! The match was live on television and it was bonfire night; what a cracker it turned out to be! Gordon 'Sidney' Cowans scored in the first couple of minutes and Olney and Platt added two more for a good half time lead. Second half we added three more; Platt and Olney again and Kent Nielsen. There was even time for a Paul McGrath own goal! From this result, Villa's performances improved and the team eventually finished as runners-up in the championship race that season. Everton? They seemed to go downhill after this match, and it was not too long before Keown went back to his first club (Arsenal)!
Team: Spink; Price, Gage, McGrath, Mountfield, Nielsen, Daley, Platt, Olney, Cowans, Ormondroyd, Heath.
1990/91: 24th October, 1990, UEFA Cup Round 2 (first leg) v. Inter-Milan 2-0
Another televised match which had us all on the edge of our seats with Villa playing with great composure against this great Italian side that included Jurgen Klinsmann. Villa were without McGrath, but it seemed to make little difference! The first half was ignited by a thunderous drive from distance by Kent Nielsen that gave Villa the lead. The second goal (in the second half) was created by Gordon Cowans with a sublime chip over the defence that David Platt fastened on to and put the team 2-0 up! Villa did not really look like losing that night (and might have scored more), but the second leg went to Inter's favour and Villa bowed out of that year's EUFA Cup on a 2-3 deficit.
Team: Spink; Price, Gray, Comyn, Mountfield, Nielsen, Daley, Platt, Birch, Cowans, Cascarino.
1991/92: 24th August, 1991, FL Division 1: v. Arsenal 3-1
THIS was a sweet victory for
Ron Atkinson's team - and it came against the reigning League Champions, who
had lost only five of their previous 50 First Division matches, suffering
just one defeat during the whole 1990-91 campaign.
1992/93: 19th September, 1992, Premier League: v. Liverpool 4-2
Acknowledgements to Wayne Homer.
1993/94: 27th February, 1994, FL Cup (Semi-Final, second leg): v. Tranmere Rovers, 3-1
(Villa went through after extra time and
5-4 on penalties).
Team: Bosnich; Cox(Ehiogu), Barrett, Teale, McGrath, Richardson, Houghton(Fenton), Townsend, Saunders, Atkinson, Daley.
1994/95: 11th February, 1995, Premier League v. Wimbledon 7-1
Brian Little was less than 3
months into his reign as manager, and was gradually pulling the team into
shape. But with Wimbledon in 9th place and Villa in 14th, no-one guessed that
the outcome could be so emphatically in Villa's favour!
And after Wimbledon had taken an early lead, it was thought that Villa would
have to fight their way through this! Tommy Johnson scored a hat-trick, and
Saunders 2 goals, though some thought he should also have been awarded a
Team: Bosnich; Charles, Small, McGrath, Teale, Staunton, Taylor, Townsend, Johnson, Yorke, Saunders.
1994/95: 22nd February, 1995, Premier League v. Leicester City 4-4
Team: Bosnich; Charles, Staunton, Ehiogu, McGrath, Teale, Taylor, Townsend, Johnson, Yorke, Saunders.
1998/99: 7th November, 1998, Premier League v. Spurs 3-2
Dion Dublin, a £5.75million midweek capture
from Coventry, made a dream debut for Premiership leaders Aston Villa with a two-goal
blast which helped his new side re-write the record books. Villa created an
unbeaten start in the Premiership to 11 matches - their best opening to a
campaign for 65 years.
Team: Oakes, Wright, Southgate, Ehiogu, Watson, Taylor, Collymore, Merson, Dublin (Draper 82), Barry, Hendrie.
1998/99: 13th December, 1998, Premier League v. Arsenal 3-2
This contribution was
provided by VillaTalk regular John Lewis, with many
Team: Oakes, Wright, Southgate, Ehiogu, Watson, Taylor, Thompson, Joachim (Grayson 86), Dublin, Barry (Collymore 54), Hendrie.
1998/99: 8th May, 1999, Premier League v. Charlton A. 3-4
side showed fantastic fighting qualities all through this penultimate match
of the season, but at 3-3 the game finally looked up with Petterson
given his marching orders after bringing down Julian Joachim. It was a game
that will live in the memory for a long time and even the Villa fans joined
in the applause at the final whistle in recognition of Charlton's
Oakes, Watson, Calderwood (Vassell 61),
1999/00: 30th January, 2000, FA Cup 5th Round v. Leeds 3-2
This contribution was provided by VillaTalk regular John Lewis, with many thanks.
David O’Leary’s high-flying Leeds side came to Villa Park confident of continuing their FA Cup run at our expense. But, Benito Carbone, giving his best performance in a Villa shirt, had other ideas, and he produced a hat-trick of memorable quality to power Villa into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in front of a 30,000+ crowd.
Villa went behind twice in the opening 45 minutes and looked to be struggling to keep a purposeful and motivated Leeds side within reach. Leeds had gained midfield control, looked dangerous on the break and appeared untroubled by what Villa had to offer up front. But a remarkable turnaround after the break saw Villa camped in the Leeds half for much of the rest of the game and David O'Leary's side were left to defend desperately.
Leeds started strongly and Ian Harte hit their first after 13 minutes. Stephen McPhail floated in an inswinging corner which Eirik Bakke headed downwards. Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu were unable to clear and the ball found Ian Harte on the edge of the penalty area. The ever-dangerous Irish defender hit a first-time effort which found the left-hand corner of the net.
Villa continued to struggle to make any impression up front. But against the run of play Villa got back on level terms with Carbones first of the game. A punt into the penalty area found Steve Watson who headed back across goal and Carbone took one touch to get the ball under control and volleyed a measured low and hard shot past Martyn and into the corner of the net.
Villa brought on Mark Delaney for Watson at half-time, pushed more bodies forward and began to get behind the back of the Leeds defence. On 58 minutes Carbone scored a fabulous second. He received the ball some 40 yards from goal and, spotting that Martyn was off his line, hit a dipping effort into the corner of the net leaving the keeper well beaten. Leeds were now on the back foot, the crowd were right behind Villa and after 69 minutes we went in front for the first time as Carbone completed his hat-trick. The goal was made by the bravery and skill of Paul Merson, who having received the ball from Joachim ran into the box, flicking the ball over Leeds defenders twice before meeting his second flick and heading the ball back across goal despite a desperate lunge by Duberry to find Carbone who put away a close-range header. Carbone pulled his shirt off and went wheeling away in delight to celebrate in front of the Holte End. Merse left the field with blood gushing from his head after his clash of heads with Duberry. Leeds staged a late rally and referee Graham Barber added on five minutes injury time but Villa were not to be denied and after such a vibrant game, Villa fans began to feel that this just could be the season they again made an FA Cup Final appearance.
Team: James, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Watson (Delaney 45), Stone, Boateng, Merson (Hendrie 72), Wright, Joachim, Carbone.
2001/02: 6th January, 2002, FA Cup 3rd Round v. Man United, 2-3
Villa crashed out of the FA
Cup in a pulsating tie that would surely have graced the Millennium Stadium
in May. John Gregory made three changes to the starting line-up from the New
Year's Day draw at Sunderland, with Paul Merson,
George Boateng and Juan Pablo Angel all returning
to the 11. Out went Steve Stone, Dion Dublin and Hassan Kachloul.
Stone was named on the bench, the other two failing to make the 16.
Scorers: Villa: Taylor 51, Neville 54 (og). Man U: Solskjaer 77, van Nistelrooy 80, 82
Team (starting): Schmeichal; Samuel, Wright, Mellberg, Staunton, Boeteng, Merson, Taylor, Angel, Vassell, Hendrie. Subs used: Barry, Hadji, Stone.
2002/03: 18th December, 2002, FL Cup (Quarter-Final) v. Liverpool 3-4
Villa, who fought all the way, took a 22nd minute lead when Darius Vassell converted a penalty but this advantage was cancelled out within five minutes when fellow England international, Danny Murphy, slotted home a free-kick.
Villa, who were without their injured skipper, Steve Staunton, suffered a further setback during the delay before kick-off when Ronny Johnson dropped out of the side with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Mustapha Hadji. It was the former Coventry City player's first start of the season.
were far from outplayed at the start and
But Liverpool's quality emerged brightly when Danny Murphy slotted home a 27th minute free kick after Oyvind Leonhardsen had brought down Milan Baros.
Leonhardsen should have made amends but he wasted a fine opportunity after being set up by the industrious Gareth Barry.
Michael Owen was a handful but the versatile J Lloyd Samuel gave a masterly display to earn top marks for Villa.
But in the 54th minute Baros demonstrated his own class when he collected a John-Arne Riise pass and drilled home a low right-foot shot.
Baros set up Steven Gerrard for Liverpool's third goal in the 66th minute but Villa refused to lie down and Thomas Hitzlsperger pulled back a 72nd minute goal with another of his left-foot specials which whistled past Chris Kirkland.
It set up an explosive finish with Dion Dublin notching an 84th minute equaliser only for the industrious Murphy to complete a seven-goal thriller with Liverpool's winner following a pass from Gerrard.
Team: Enckelman, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Samuel, Barry, Hendrie, Hitzlsperger, Leonhardsen, Hadji, Vassell, Dublin. Subs: Postma, Allback, Angel, Kinsella, Edwards.
2003/04: 17th December, 2003, FL Cup (Quarter-Final) v. Chelsea 2-1
This match proved to be a
defining moment for Villa! After having 15 months of very average
performances apart from the odd game, Villa went into this match being in the
lower reaches of the Premiership and up against a team that this very season
had been injected with more than £100,000,000 of investment from its new
Russian chairman. The Chelsea 'all-stars', though, had just had a league
'blip' of dropping 5 points in two matches, but everyone thought that Chelsea
would be back up for this one with the semi-final the prize. Chelsea (in this
match) were subsequently described as the team of the arts, whilst Villa were
labelled the team of grit, as they held Chelsea at bay with good performances
from all Villa players on view, notably Sorenson, McCann and Angel, ably
supported by Mellberg, Johnsen
and Barry. There were no weak players, however, although Vassell
still did not meet his standard of a year or two before.
Team (4-4-2): Sorensen; Delaney, Mellberg, Johnsen, Samuel; Hendrie (Hitzlsperger, 70), McCann, Whittingham, Barry; Vassell (S Moore, 52), Angel (Crouch, 83).
2003/04: 12th April, 2004, Premier League v. Chelsea 3-2
Chelsea came to get revenge after being tipped out of the League Cup the previous December, but Aston Villa's three goalscorers Darius Vassell, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Lee Hendrie, did not cost Villa a single penny in transfer fees in sharp contrast to the millions spent by Chelsea who suffered a rare setback.
The measure of Villa's outstanding win was a true reflection of their finishing power as they raced in sixth spot and another step closer to European football next season.
Chelsea's surprise defeat opened the door for Manchester United to move closer to the runners-up spot and was due in the main to their indifferent finishing. The result hardly justified Claudio Ranieri including only three players from the side held to a draw by Middlesbrough on Saturday but there was no dramatic improvement in a game of contrasting fortunes.
The Champions League favourites made a blistering start and threatened to over-run Villa when Hernan Crespo put them ahead after only nine minutes when Adrian Mutu's shot hit the post and bounced back into the path of the Chelsea striker. Villa, to their credit, held on grimly in this period to produce their best result of the season.
The game, however, effectively changed direction as a result of a 36th minute penalty when Mario Melchiot needlessly fouled Gareth Barry. Vassell converted the spot-kick to immediately raise Villa's hopes. But Villa's purple patch occurred in a three minute spell at the start of the second half when shell-shocked Chelsea were completely destroyed as a result of some uncharacteristic weak defensive work.
Unlike Chelsea and their star-studded squad Villa are down to the bare bones after releasing 12 players during the season. But they surprised a lot of people by enjoying a better than expected season. This was exemplified with their unlikely success over a Chelsea side which conceded only three goals for the second time this season.
Chelsea, beaten for only the sixth time this term, had no excuse as they were caught cold at the start of the second half.
The Londoners failed to heed the warning when Vassell had a shot parried by Marco Ambrosio when the ball rebounded into the path of Peter Crouch who amazingly shot wide of an open goal. But this was all forgotten two minutes later when Vassell put a short pass into the path of Hitzlsperger.
Much to the delight of the Villa fans the German hammered in a powerful left-footed low drive past Ambrosio. Before a shell-shocked Chelsea had any time to recover they found themselves deeper in trouble in the 51st minute. A throw-in to the near post by Jlloyd Samuel was flicked on by Crouch to Hendrie who swivelled and shot from close range for the third goal.
Ranieri used his three substitutions but Villa
were in no mood to allow
Team: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Johnsen, Samuel, Hendrie (Whittingham 55), McCann, Hitzlsperger, Barry, Vassell (Dublin 88), Crouch (Luke Moore 82). Subs not used: Postma, Ridgewell.
2004/05: 28th August, 2004, Premier League v. Newcastle Utd 4-2
Juan Pablo Angel helped to turn up the pressure on Newcastle United boss Sir Bobby Robson as Aston Villa pulled off a stunning victory in a six-goal thriller at Villa Park. Sir Bobby's position was at the centre of intense speculation after a winless start to the campaign and Angel's 82nd minute strike to seal Villa's win only added to his problems.
Robson gambled on dropping the United legend Alan Shearer to the bench for only the second time in five years to try and spark a change in fortunes for his team and the move almost paid dividends. Patrick Kluivert, who was called up in place of Shearer, scored his first goal for the club since his arrival from Barcelona.
Kluivert's 27th minute equaliser cancelled out Villa's fourth minute opener from skipper Olof Mellberg. Central defender Andrew O'Brien then looked to have put United on course for a badly needed success.
It was Carlton Cole who dragged David O'Leary's side level in the 53rd minute before Gareth Barry fired Villa in front after 71 minutes. Substitute Angel, who is on the comeback trail after knee surgery, sealed the success eight minutes from time as Villa secured only their second home win against United in 12 attempts. Robson did send on Shearer in the 76th minute but by then the damage had been done - leaving United with just two points from their opening four games. In contrast, Villa can boast a 100 per cent home record and the success was just the response that O'Leary wanted after their 3-0 defeat at Charlton in midweek.
Newcastle were caught cold after just four minutes as Mellberg produced a carbon copy of the goal he scored in last Sunday's local derby at West Bromwich Albion. Ironically, that goal was also a fourth minute header. The only difference was that this time Mellberg converted a corner from Nolberto Solano. At The Hawthorns he had headed home a free-kick from Thomas Hitzlsperger.
The shock of conceding so soon rocked Newcastle and they were fortunate not to fall further behind two minutes later when Cole headed just wide. But Newcastle proved to be made of stern stuff as they worked their way into the game and the only real surprise was that it took them until the 27th minute to equalise.
Laurent Robert caused chaos in the Villa area after 11 minutes with a centre that fell to Jermaine Jenas whose shot was then hacked to safety by Mellberg. Jenas then headed a Robert centre inches over the bar eight minutes later before Nicky Butt forced goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen into a smart save after 19 minutes.
Despite all their pressure, United were still fortunate not to fall further behind when goalkeeper Shay Given did well to turn away a shot from Darius Vassell with his feet in the 25th minute. It proved to be a vital save by the Republic of Ireland international as United were able to draw level two minutes later when Kluivert finished off a classy move. The Dutchman was picked out by a neat pass from Butt. Kluivert was closely marked by central defender Mark Delaney, but he skilfully turned the Welsh international before beating Sorensen with a low drive from 12 yards. That goal really sparked Kluivert into life and it needed a stunning save from Sorensen to stop him scoring his second.
Danish international Sorensen had to be at full stretch in the 35th minute to tip an 18-yard drive from Kluivert over the bar. But that save only served to frustrate United for 60 seconds. When Villa failed to fully clear a corner from Robert, Craig Bellamy fired in a second centre that O'Brien deftly headed home from six yards.
Having seen their advantage taken away, Villa made a determined bid to try and draw level before half-time and almost succeeded when Solano crashed a 39th minute close-range header against the bar. While they managed to escape on that occasion, their luck failed to hold and they were pegged back nine minutes into the second half.
United were undone after a powerful run and shot by Barry. Given was unable to hold his low drive and the rebound fell kindly for Cole who forced the ball over the line with his chest from a yard. Villa had noticeably stepped up a gear at the start of the second half and they were able to pen United back for long spells.
While Sorensen did have to beat away a 56th minute free-kick from Robert, Villa always looked the more threatening side in attack. That proved to be the case when Solano whipped in a pin-point cross 19 minutes from time. It whistled across the face of the United goal and flew straight to Barry who headed home at the far post.
The introduction of talisman Shearer came too late to save United and Angel ended their comeback hopes when his shot from 20 yards bounced off O'Brien and looped over the stranded Given to sum up the Magpies' dismal day.
Team: Sorensen, Delaney, Mellberg, Barry, Samuel, De la Cruz, McCann, Solano, Hitzlsperger (Hendrie 60), Cole (Angel 70), Vassell (Moore 86). Subs not used: Postma, Whittingham.
2008/09: 26th December, 2008, Premier League v. Arsenal 2-2
Only a few weeks before, the Villa had scored a magnificent and unexpected 2-0 win at Arsenal, and since then had been undefeated in the League, the last three games having been won. Villa went into this match in fourth place, three points ahead of the Arsenal and threatening take-over of Arsenal's claim to be the fourth of the top-4.
Villa and Arsenal went into the game with absentee problems. For Arsenal, Adebayor and Fabregas were unavailable, and Johann Djourou was replaced at late notice by Kolo Toure, after pulling up in the warm-up. Arsenals other change was the appearance of utility man Diaby in place of French full-back Gael Clichy, who was among the substitutes.
In front of a capacity 42,000+ crowd, Villa had both captain Laursen and fellow-defender Cuellar out through injury, causing Villa to play two full-backs out of their natural positions, and the usually susceptible Knight as Davis' partner. Carew remained unavailable after several weeks absence with a back injury.
Villa were happy to press forward from the off and saw a James Milner cross whistle inches above Ashley Youngs leap. And they nearly secured a sixth-minute lead when Steve Sidwell crashed a header from Gareth Barry against the woodwork. Martin O'Neill and Arsene Wenger were both seen prowling around their technical area like caged tigers - MON would be happier with his team's start.
On 11 mins, Curtis Davies gets his angles all wrong as he heads wide from a fantastic Gareth Barry centre from the left, and misses a very good chance. Minutes after, Zat Knight makes a wondrous last-ditch tackle to deny the onrushing Robin Van Persie, who looks ready to pull the trigger from close-range. Then Luke Young, not renowned for his attacking instincts, fires in a slightly-deflected 20-yard drive, which Manuel Almunia does well to tip over.
Villa again spurned a brilliant chance in the 20th minute. Agbonlahor produced a burst of pace to go beyond William Gallas but saw his bending effort saved by Almunia and as Sidwell ran in to convert the rebound, Gallas deflected his shot wide.
Luke Young had been here, there and everywhere in the opening stages of this clash. If only the supporters had a chant for him.
Alex Song was booked in the 25th minute for a cynical foul on Stiliyan Petrov as Villa, looking for a fourth successive league win, continued to press. 'Holte Enders In the Sky' reverberated around Villa Park - and rightly so!! Villa were excelling.
Almunia made another sublime save in the 34th minute when Milner beat the advancing Arsenal defence to slide in and connect with Luke Youngs cross from deep, only for the Spaniard to get down quickly and smother the ball as it came off the post.
Toure was next in the book for fouling Agbonlahor. From the resulting free-kick Davies found himself in space and hooked a brilliant chip-shot goalwards only to see it hit the bar. Barry then saved Villa as he made a crucial tackle inside the box but somehow Arsenal hit them with a sucker punch in the 39th minute. Denilson collected the ball near the half-way line and burst forward. When his pass to Eboue broke loose inside the box, following Reo-Coker's error in not clearing first-time, the Brazilian kept sprinting forward and reached it first to fire home an unlikely opener.
Wenger then sent youngster Aaron Ramsey on for fellow midfielder Song shortly before the break while Villa again came agonisingly close. Nigel Reo-Cokers launched ball forward was met by Agbonlahor and with Almunia beaten, it needed Bacary Sagnas acrobatic clearance to keep their lead intact as the ball came close to looping over the line.
The Villa had dominated the first-half, but reached half-time a goal down. And, amazingly and against all odds, Villa were two goals down barely three minutes into the second half. Diaby won the ball near the half-way line on the right touchline and did brilliantly to break forward quickly. He fed Eboue on the edge of the box but continued his run to collect the return ball and fire past the despairing Brad Friedel.
On 55 mins Villa finally get some luck of their own as Robin Van Persie's close-range drive fires into Brad Friedel's right-hand post. The Dutch forward should really have scored. Five minutes later, Curtis Davies does brilliantly to block Samir Nasri's goalbound shot.
Villa were still fighting, however, and they got a lifeline in the 64th minute when referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty. James Milner released Agbonlahor down the right with a simple ball and when Gallas made a clumsy challenge, the England striker went down. Stand-in captain Barry stepped up to send Almunia the wrong way, while the two managers exchanged heated words on the touchline.
Villas hopes of an equaliser looked slim but were boosted by the awarding of four minutes of added time and their prayers were soon answered. The ball came to Barry from Petrov's cross into the box and when the ball landed in the path of stand-in defender Knight, the centre-back smashed home a late left-footed equaliser from around 12 yards, showing excellent finishing skills.
The closing stats revealed the extent of Villa's superiority.
Villa: 12 shots on target, 5 off target; 3 attempts had hit the woodwork.
Arsenal: 6 shots on target, 2 off target; 1 attempt had hit the woodwork.
Team: Friedel; Reo-Coker, Davies, Knight, Luke Young; Ashley Young, Sidwell, Barry, Petrov, Milner; Agbonlahor.
2009/10: 20th January, 2010, FL Cup (Semi-Final, second leg) v. Blackburn Rovers 6-4
Aston Villa battled back from a 30-minute horror show to reach the Carling Cup final after an extraordinary last-four, second leg with 10-man Blackburn.
Villa, 1-0 first-leg winners, were behind to a Nikola Kalinic brace before Stephen Warnock powered the ball home.
James Milner's penalty when Christopher Samba saw red, a Steven Nzonzi own goal, a touch by Gabriel Agbonlahor and an Emile Heskey strike seemed enough.
Then Martin Olsson and Brett Emerton gave Rovers hope before Ashley Young scored.
The goalkeeper, who has started all of Villa's cup ties this season, looked even more uncertain as the visitors took the lead.
David Dunn's corner tempted the American into an ill-advised attempt to punch the ball and Kalinic, who hit the post twice in the first leg, comfortably outmuscled Warnock to nod home.
Four of Kalinic's five goals since arriving at Ewood Park in the summer have now been in the League Cup and he forced James Collins into a lunging block after wriggling free down the left.
The Croatian then started and finished the move that put his side ahead for the first time in the tie. After laying the ball into the path of Pedersen, Kalinic continued his run into the box and was on hand to tap home after Guzan had done well to push away Olsson's header.
Villa needed an immediate response to lift their fans and Warnock provided it inside four minutes, ruthlessly dispatching a finish after Ashley Young's cross cleared a tumbling Ryan Nelsen.
The momentum was with O'Neill's side and the match swung decisively the hosts' way as Agbonlahor's pace took him clear of Samba in the race for a long ball over the top.
The defender's desperate sliding challenge only succeeded in earning him a straight red card and conceding a spot-kick. Milner confidently converted the penalty once Atkinson had waved away protests from Blackburn's players. With Carlos Cuellar and Warnock pushing forward, Villa soon had the depleted Blackburn rearguard stretched.
Samba's absence was notable as his team-mates failed to deal with Downing's inswinging corner and Ngonzi put the ball into his own net just before Richard Dunne could.
Five minutes later, Milner's fierce shot deflected off the arm of the cowering Agbonlahor to beat Robinson's dive and prompt the unfurling of the free flags distributed to the home supporters.
When Heskey was slipped in by Milner's cute pass and rounded Robinson to score, it appeared the tie would then turn into a procession but Olsson's strike kept the encounter competitive. The young Swede flung himself into the air to send a spectacular overhead volley past Guzan before loudly exhorting more of the same from his side.
Robinson made superb saves from Heskey and Agbonlahor before Emerton's apparently harmless volley found its way past Guzan to breathe life into Blackburn's faint hopes with six minutes remaining.
However, the required onslaught never came and Young curled a finish past the outstretched Robinson to put Villa into their first final since the 2000 FA Cup.
Team: Guzan; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing (Sidwell 86); Agbonlahor, Heskey
2010/11: 13th November, 2010, Premier League v. Man United 2-2
Villa's midfield injury list was of crisis proportions as Jonathan Hogg was called on as a third-choice option to make his debut. Already in the team were the youngsters Albrighton and Bannan, who had been building a reputation for some games before this one.
This was probably Villa's best performance against United since 1995 when goals from Taylor, Draper and Yorke gave Villa their last home league win against them. Their then bunch of kids would go on to dominate English football after that 3 1 defeat but Villa's own kids ran Fergies current team very, very close in this match! United looked shell-shocked by the way Villa had opened them up in the second half and went into a 2-0 lead in a four minute spell after 72 mins, making it appear (with 15 minutes play left) that Villa would win in this fixture for the first time in 15 years. Within a few minutes of that, Downing also went very close with a rasping effort from distance.
The first half gave little indication of what the second half had in store for us and Villa hit a lot of wayward passes in the first 20 minutes. Both teams cancelled each other out and there was a lack of action in both penalty areas. But the second half was so different and on 66 minutes Villa had a ten minute purple patch during which Villa were denied by the woodwork twice and scored two fine goals through Ashley Young (penalty, after a slicing move had ripped open United) and Albrighton (who again finished off a slicing move).
Stung by United's wilingness to be torn apart, Ferguson sent on replacements, and one - Macheda (who created havoc for Villa at Old Trafford two years before) - took only 5 minutes to give United hope with a rasping shot from the edge of the area. Even Houllier admitted afterwards that he felt at that point United would get another - and they did. But though United were allowed 5 minutes of extra time for no reason, they could not turn the game round completely in their favour.
United's ability to get something from nothing at Villa Park (this time after an unbeaten record in the preceding 12 games of this season) again manifested itself. But Villa outplayed them for the majority of the second half and stopped them from having a scoring opportunity for all but the last 10 minutes of normal time except after the first 15 minutes. Villa came so close to being the first team to beat them this season and that they left with a point knowing they had got out of jail against a injury-hit team showed that Villa were getting better with each game. Villa's youngsters had done well, and could just form the nucleus of a trophy-winning future Villa team.
Team: Friedel; L.Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Albrighton, Ashley Young, Bannon, Hogg, Downing; Agbonlahor
2013/14: 28th September, 2013, Premier League v. Man City 3-2
Not having super-scorer Benteke nor Agbonlahor available (plus two other leading players unavailable) for the home league match versus high-flying Man City left Villa looking like a mosquito without a tail. Indeed, the manager chose a 3-man defence with the addition of 2 wing-backs, with City dominating the exchanges in the first-half and forcing back the two wing-backs to act purely as extra defenders. In this period the Villa managed to restrict City to one goal without putting any shots on goal themselves and enjoying only about 30% possession.
What happened in the second half was pure theatre, as Villa (still not keeping more than 34% possession) twice came back from behind and then actually took the lead with 15 minutes to go and won! City, despite all their possession and shots, still did not put enough pressure on Villa's keeper.
This win was the first time that Villa had won against a top side at home for quite a while, and also prevented a record as the worst home start of the season since 1946.
Villa's side had a marked difference to the team last reported (in 2010). No-one in the 2010 side played this time (Agbonlahor was injured this time, Albrighton was on the bench and all the other players had been transferred), and virtually all the players in 2010 were from the UK and Ireland. This time the team consisted of just 3 UK and Ireland players.
Team: Guzan; Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Clark, Luna; El Ahmadi, Weimann, Delph, Sylla; Kozak
2013/14: 29th January, 2014, Premier League v. West Bromwich A. 4-3
Villa had returned to a series of lackluster home performances, and when Albion went 2-0 ahead after 9 minutes, the first a cracking drive from distance on 3 minutes that surprised everyone, the second an unfortunate diversion by Delph to score an own goal. The worst was feared, but within 3 minutes Villa pulled one back.
Having restored equality within another 10 minutes, Villa amazingly went 3-2 up in the 36th minute when Delph received a nod on from Benteke, swept passed his marker and cracked in a thunderbolt off the bar. It was end-to-end stuff and though Albion soon after drew level again, and the second half had subsided in the entertainment stakes, a penalty was awarded to Villa, which Benteke put home with aplomb.
Both sides had other good opportunities to score and the result could have been 6-5.
Team: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bertrand; Bacuna, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Delph; Weimann, Benteke
2017/18: 10th March, 2018, Championship v Wolves 4-1
Villa were lying in 3rd place and had a good run since the beginning of the year. However, Cardiff were keeping Villa away from the second automatic promotion place as Villa came to play the league-leaders, Wolves. A game that really needed to be won to keep up the chance of auto-promotion, but Villa fans feared the worst against a skilful Wolves side.
Villa took an early but scrambled lead, but Wolves scored an almost similar scrambled equaliser 12 minutes later. The Villa had been slightly the better team at half-time in an energetic and fine match.
In the second half Villa were precise and successful, scoring three further goals, all well taken, particularly the last, scored by Bjarnason, who beat three players before stabbing home from outside the penalty area. Villa then relaxed a bit and Wolves might have pulled a goal or two back in the closing minutes.