Date: 8th April 2007 at 11:40am
Written by:

Rovers were terrible in every way imaginable, clearly concentrating on next weeks big game. They just didn`t turn up, allowing an average Villa side to stroll to victory. This horrendous display means that dreams of qualifying for Europe through the league are all but over.
Villa started the game brightly and Brad Friedel was forced into a number of smart saves early on to keep the score in tact.
An effort from distance by Wilfred Bouma had Friedel scurrying. Rovers didn`t threaten until the 16 minute and that was through the aid of a large deflection off a Villa defender.
However, Rovers did manage to break the deadlock in the 24 minute. A long and hopeful punt over the top eventually found its way to Morten Gamst Pedersen. He tried to jink his way past Phil Bradsley but the young Englishman tripped the Norwegian, leaving referee, Martin Atkinson with little choice but to point to the spot.
This presented Benni McCarthy with a chance to end his goal draught, a chance he duly dispatched, drilling the ball past Thomas Sorenson.
This only served to rally Villa as they hit back with endeavour and drive and it wasn`t long until they were on level terms.
Rovers allowed Villa to casually switch play from left to right before delivering a ball into the box that found Patrick Berger totally unmarked. He took his time to slot the ball past a stranded Friedel to bring the scores level.
Rovers` response was less than emphatic as Villa ended the half strongly, again Friedel being called on to make a number of saves.
Mr. Atkinson brought the half to a close with the majority of the bumper 24, 211 crowd expecting more from the lads in blue and white.
However, it was Villa who re-surfaced re-galvanised and they were awarded a penalty just 90 seconds after the re-start following a dubious call of handball against Ryan Nelsen.
Gareth Barry, normally so emphatic from the spot this time saw his powerful drive repelled by Friedel who had learnt after being beaten by Barry earlier in the campaign.
That incident brought the game to life, more importantly, inspiring Rovers into action. Stephen Warnock showed exceptional control and skill before unleashing a rasping drive from distance whereas Villa continued to open up the Rovers defence.
The game became more stretched and both sides continued to go close but it was Villa who found the back of the net next and tellingly so.
Berger latched onto a loose ball in the middle of the park by sub, David Dunn before rolling a pass into the path of Gabriel Agbonlahor who strode clear of a static Rovers defence.
With just Brad Friedel to beat, Agbonlahor coolly fired into the bottom corner to lift Villa`s relegation hopes.
Rovers inevitably threw the kitchen sink at goal with Nonda forcing Sorenson into a smart save and David Bentley whipping a vicious free-kick past Sorenson but onto the bar.
It was an uninspiring display from Rovers and everything now depends on next Sunday. It is going to be a tough game against Chelsea but one can only hope that the players will be able to give 150% in that game seeing as they only afforded 50% against Villa.

Player Ratings

Friedel 7
Warnock 6
Emerton 6
Nelsen 6
Samba 6
Gamst 5
Bentley 6
Tugay 5
Mokoena 5
McCarthy 6
Derbyshire 5
Dunn 4
Nonda 4


17 Replies to “Rovers 1.v.2 Villa”

  • Simply unacceptable!!! You can to an extent understand having one eye on Chelsea next week but it will take a great effort to overcome them. Our failure to turn up for this must win game has all but cost us (as James says in his report) a European place via the League. We now simply HAVE to beat Chelsea, and this will be far from easy to salvage what proved to again be a highly promising season just some weeks ago.

  • Yeah it was terribly poor which was a shame because it was a game there to be won. I really hope that we can over-turn Mourinho’s men next week. We are due a result against them and one in a semi-final, maybe this could be our year.

  • I guess you kind of expected this, I just hoped we wouldn’t see it. We REALLY have to win next week don’t we roversman, our season will ultimately be a failure if we don’t. It promised so much but will deliver little really when all is said and done if we don’t beat Chelsea!!! The lads will put this, and recent games behind them but I’d feel FAR more confident if we could have gone into the Semi Final off the back of a (much needed!) victory in the League, maybe not even victory but a good performance.

  • Didn’t expect this. You guys, if nothing else put yourselves about and are usually no push-overs. An average Villa team, with players out, bossed the midfield. Are you guys missing Savage (who is a complete t****er)?

  • Guys I’m not even going to bother replying to people’s thoughts on Sav anymore, people have made up their minds on him so what’s the point in arguing any different anymore!!!

  • EvertonMike – If you’re old enough to remember the Clough Forest team who were compiled of players that complemented each other rather than individual world-class, you would know that teams are assembled to do certain jobs and bring out the best in each other. When Alf Ramsey called an old Jackie Charlton into his squad, Jackie asked why because he knew he wasn’t the best. Alf replied that he would fit into the system he had in mind. I’m not saying Savage is a world-beater but I was wondering if was missed at all?

  • The bext XI don’t always win do they Gazvilla you are spot on. Sav isn’t a world-class player or world beater but he does a job for us, and HAS for EVERY team he’s played for. We are certainly missing him but this hasn’t cost us defeats recently, slackness and focus elsewhere has.

  • HDM- For some reason I can’t see the player ratings. Can you?

    As for Savage- a GREAT player to have in your side. Not a great player to play against. Would’nt trade him for any other CM in England, simply because he does the work no other CM would agree to do….

  • Couldn’t agree more Israeli. I can’t see them either, it’s not just you. I’ll get them sorted. You gonna join the debate (well with myself currently LOL!) in Walkerbout?!?!

  • IsraeliRover-Obviously you havent watched Didier Zokora who is fast turning into the best defensive midfielder in the Premiership.As for Chelsea,Blackburn are MORE than capable of turning them over.We beat them in November,drew 3-3 last month when we battered them & suffered 2 very unfortunate defeats in the past fortnight.There has been nothing to choose between the 2 sides.Our reserve side should of got a point on saturday at the Bridge & there”s no reason why you cant brush them aside.Fingers crossed for extra time in Valancia midweek methinks..!!Good Luck,hope you whip them 10-0..!!Chalky76

  • If we turn up you are right we are more than capable, but on recent performances we’ll have to show A LOT more than we have. Even though I’m disappointed that we have done just that, if we win I’ll be obviously delighted and this will make up for the lackluster showings of late and will justify the back off approach to our League form. I’ll settle for 1-0 chalky!!!

  • chalky76- Zokora is so good that the spurs manager leaves him on the bench more than half of his games?!?!

  • Actually IsraeliRover-Zokora has been one of the first names on the team sheet for the last 15/20 games..!!Have you seen him play recently..??He admittedly took some time to adjust to English football but adjust he has..!!

Your Comment