THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: STOKE CITY 2 – ASTON VILLA 1

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The travelling Villa fans didn’t have much to cheer about in the first half, despite Villa’s dominance.

Baker came close to scoring after the disorganised opening spell when he dived to meet Westwood’s cross from the left but Begovic was on hand to save at the near post.

The visitors soon thought they had another chance to open the scoring when Kozak tried to connect with Albrighton’s cross but the linesman had already raised his flag.

Tonev’s volley was held by Begovic before Albrighton went crashing into the advertising board – and the referee’s book – after a late challenge on Pieters.

At the other end of the pitch, Clark did well to head a cracker of a cross from Assaidi clear.

The biggest talking point of the first half, however, was Wilson’s yellow card after twenty-six minutes, which should have been red, as he sent Weimann flying to deny the Austrian a clear goal-scoring opportunity just outside the penalty area.

After thirty-seven minutes, Guzan, wearing the captain’s armband, had to make a fine save as Cameron’s shot seemed set to dip under his bar.

Seven minutes later, Clark came to Villa’s rescue once again as his sliding tackle stopped Crouch from scoring.

In the second half, Villa fans were forced to face the ghost of Christmas past when former Villan Crouch’s knockdown allowed substitute Adam to score after fifty-one minutes.

Begovic’s failure to clear the ball properly offered hope to the Lions but Baker passed to Tonev when he should have taken the shot himself and the ball went out for a throw-in.

Weimann looked more lively than he has done of late and an Albrighton free-kick allowed him a shot on goal, which went just wide. He then attempted a fierce drive but Wilson was able to get a block in.

A defensive error then led to the equaliser: as Shawcross failed to clear the ball, Pieters attempted to head it back to his keeper but Kozak nipped in and fired home from close range, much to the delight of the Villa fans.

Villa, however, repaid their hosts with a defensive mix-up of their own. Guzan and Herd could not deal with Cameron’s cross and foolishly left Crouch to shoot into an unguarded goal.

Minutes later, Crouch hit the post.

As Kozak’s rising shot was tipped over by Begovic, it really was game over.

2 COMMENTS

  1. a disgrace we cant take any points from a team that played man united on wednesday we had all week to prepare for this game and should of being a lot fresher than them our form is terrible

  2. Another match that proves that Guzan needs to be replaced, PL has never been able to pick quality keepers and if we really want the club to progress we need someone good between the posts. Guzan good at doing the spectacular but rubbish at doing the basics

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