He has bled the club dry they said. He doesn’t care they said. Step up Gabriel Agbonlahor. Once again 30-year-old Agbonlahor guides Aston Villa to success over bitter rivals Birmingham City in the second city derby.
Aston Villa hasn’t been great of late and with the appointment of Harry Redknapp at St Andrew’s some fans began to worry. I am not sure why but yesterday had something about it. A sense of excitement. Villa fans (and I am sure Blues fans also) were in pubs at 8 am across Aston and surrounding areas as the sun shone over a glorious Villa Park.
From the Trinity Road side of the stadium, it was quite a peaceful upon approach to the game. There was no overkill by the police but their presence was there for all to be seen. Fans seem confident without feeling the pressure.
Prior to kick-off, there was a rousing minute applause in memory of Ugo Ehiogu as Villa fans chanted ‘Ugo, Ugo, Ugo.’ It set the tone for a high intense game which was short on quality and chances.
The only half chance in the opening half hour come from the boys in Blue when Jacques Maghoma’s cross the from the left was just too high for Lukas Jutkiewicz.
The visitors then come close when Che Adams hooked over a cross, this time from Jutkiewicz.
The fight and commitment were there from Villa but the front three didn’t look a threat for Birmingham. Agbonlahor was introduced on the hour mark to a rapturous reception and immediately looked like a man on a mission.
The striker raised the volume on the ground when he was booked for some pushing and shoving with Ryan Shotton after a foul on Henri Lansbury. James Chester headed the resulting free-kick just over the bar.
Eight minutes after his introduction Agbonlahor sent the home support into raptures when he scored the only goal of the game.
Lansbury took a corner which was met by Nathan Baker at the near post and the ball fell perfectly for Agbonlahor to hit the ball on the turn. The goal sent the home support into frenzy with a few supporters running onto the pitch.
Birmingham tried to push but they couldnt break down the Villa back four. The day belonged to the Aston Villa supporters and of course Gabriel Agbonlahor.