Oh and Weimann is through, a slip of the defence, IT’S GOING TO BE 3-2 ASTON VILLA! YES, IT IS!
John Motson, ‘Match Of The Day’, commentating on Villa against Manchester City at Villa Park.
This will go down as one of the best Villa quotes in history. Watching the footage from BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ is still giving me goosebumps. There are still one or two haters amongst the Villa faithful but a large proportion of fans are now seeing what the youngest team in the Premier League can do, even against the so-called big boys.
The match was made a little more special for me, as it was my father’s first game since breaking his ankle back in June. As we entered the Aston Hotel, many were watching the action at White Hart Lane between Spurs and Chelsea. Others were discussing how many goals we would lose by. Yes, I know that is a negative thing but we were up against one of the best teams in the league and City spent over £80 million on signings during the summer transfer window.
Trying to be optimistic about the scoreline, my view was that the game would end in a draw or 2-1 to either side. With City losing away to Cardiff, there was a little bit of me that was hoping for a shock victory. Looking back at the fact we’d previously only won six home games over the course of two years, even I had a few little doubts in my mind. When news of Gabby being injured filtered through from fans getting updates via their Twitter feeds, those doubts loomed larger.
The club had kindly moved myself and my dad into the corner of the Doug Ellis Stand, next to the Holte End. Being a North Ender, I had forgotten how loud that stand could be even before kick off.
Villa looked cagey, if I’m being honest, and just before half time we were a goal down.
At the break, my heart sank quicker than a lead balloon and I was fearing the worse. My old man, ever the optimistic, patted me on the back and said, “Don’t worry, son, we can get something out of this game.”
Boy, he wasn’t wrong! El Ahmadi scored following a slotted pass from Bacuna, which, truth be told, did look to be offside by a yard. But I wasn’t complaining. It had been a very long time since decisions last went our way.
That euphoria wasn’t to last as City went ahead again after a Nasri corner hit the back of Dzeko and went in. Just after the goal, one fan decided to walk to the front of the Holte End and throw his season ticket in the direction of the pitch. Not focusing on the game, I was shocked by this supposed fan’s reaction. Credit has to be given to the officers who calmed the individual down and told him to get on his bike. After the stewards had returned his season ticket to him, the individual slowly made his way to the exit while fans who had seen what had happened gave him what I can only call ‘death stares’.
Fast forward to 72 minutes, when Andi Weimann kept the ball up and went on a crazy run at the City defence before being blocked by defender Nastasic. Play continued but referee Mike Jones chose to pull the play back for the foul on Weimann.
What happened next was just world class: as Vlaar and Bacuna stood over the dead ball, many were expecting Vlaar to smash it but Bacuna stepped up and it went over the wall and into the top corner of the net. Even a keeper of Joe Hart’s stature was not stopping that ball. If Ronaldo or Bale had scored that, it would be all over YouTube and social media sites.
After 75 minutes, Kolarov had a shot outside the box and Guzan managed to get a hold of it. Looking up quickly, he put his foot right through the ball up field to Kozak and Weimann, who had Kompany and Nastasic just in front of them.
What happened next will go down as one of the most memorable goals in Villa’s recent history. Where I was sitting, Kozak seemed to get the slightest of touches on the ball before it bounced through the middle of the defenders. Weimann was through on goal. Hart ran out to stop the advancing Austrian but Andi flicked it round Hart and the ball rolled into the back of an empty net. The Holte End, North Stand and the rest of the stadium went crazy! That goal earned the loudest cheer I can recall in recent years. The noise was deafening and so many Villa fans came together after a bit of brilliance from Guzan, Kozak and Weimann. Brad Guzan became the first keeper to collect an assist this season for Andi Weimann’s winning goal!
Hearts were in throats for the rest of the game and the North Stand (where I would normally be sitting/standing) started doing the The Poznan. The whistle blew and cheers roared from the stands at Villa Park. I was shouting at the top of my voice while jumping in the air with delight outside the stadium.
The result, to me, proved a small number of Villa fans wrong after some were calling for Paul Lambert to be sacked after defeats to Newcastle in the league and Spurs in the League Cup. It also proved to critics around the world that Aston Villa is not a one man team, that the team need not be reliant on Benteke for getting goals. I believe the re-introduction of Sylla had a big part to play in the result. This is a team game though and credit has to go to the team on the day as well as manager Paul Lambert. I can’t help but wonder what he said at half-time; it must have been one hell of a speech!