Having described last season’s Capital One Cup semi-final exit to Bradford as the ‘lowest point’ in his tenure, Lambert took no chances tonight and fielded a strong team against Rotherham United to ensure Villa’s safe passage to the third round.
The visiting Millers began brightly and had their chances in the first half, when Revell had the opportunity not once but twice to give the visitors the lead. Steve Evans’ side gave Lambert’s lions a fright after thirteen minutes when Frecklington’s cross from the left looked set to be converted but Revell was unable to connect with it. Agard then sent in a cracking cross from the right but it too went to waste, much to the relief of the quivering lions.
In the 19th minute, claret and blue nerves settled somewhat as Villa broke. Arnason did well to block Weimann’s initial cross but the Austrian moved on the loose ball and his effort from 20 yards out was well-taken and found its way into the far corner of the net.
Twenty-one minutes later, Benteke got his head on a fine cross from Agbonlahor to make it 2-0, and four goals from four games for the ‘Belgian Beast’, before Villa cruised towards the break.
Agbonlahor was unlucky not to score himself just before the break, as his shot from 20 yards went narrowly wide.
At the other end of the pitch, Pringle’s shot from just outside the area flashed wide of the post.
Eight minutes after the restart, Delph made it 3-0, scoring what was an excellent team goal, and his first in a year, as he bolted towards Benteke’s pass and finished in some style.
With the pressure off and Villa’s creative juices flowing, Bacuna crossed for Westwood, whose header was parried at the far post by Shearer.
Rotherham never looked particularly threatening but the North Stand went wild when the travelling fans thought O’Connor’s spiralling free-kick had secured a consolation goal but it was just over the bar.
Sealing another good performance with an all too rare goal meant Delph was named tonight’s ‘man of the match’.
Villa’s victory was a welcome one, exorcising the ghost of Bradford, and, just as importantly, saw the team’s first clean sheet in a staggering thirty-one games.
Unsurprisingly, Lambert was upbeat when asked about the team’s performance, saying “some of the football was excellent” before heaping particular praise on Delph for his “top class” strike.
The draw for the third round followed tonight’s Morecambe – Newcastle game and Villa were drawn at home to Tottenham Hotspur. The third round fixture will be played at Villa Park in the week beginning September 23rd.
Good write up there-thsnks. From a quick look all 3 goals were great and the 3rd was a brilliant team effort as your writer points out, 5 of the players involved in the buld up by my reckoning. How nice was it to see us come away with a clean sheet even if it was Jed Steer in goal and league 1 opponents? Didn’t realise it had been 31 GAMES since the last shut out- that is crazy! Tough draw for 3rd round but we’ll just have to keep the faith and look at what happened away to Man City last year. Lambert knows this competetion is our only real chance to get back in to Europe so he’ll take it more seriously than some of the ‘big’ teams like Tottenham.
Easy win in the end and goals were brill, pleased for Delph that he got 1 when he’s working so hard. Man of the match, no question and totally deserved player of the month aswell IMO. Could of scored even more if we’d really gone at them 2nd half but good result to send lads off for internationals and into the break for the rest. I still think Ron Vlaar looks sort of shaky at times, alot of the time TBH. Anyone else think that? Doubt we’ll see him on international duty way he’s playing.