What a debut

Last updated : 23 January 2011 By Stateside Villa

Villa 1 Man City 0


A super gritty performance by Villa's defence and a goal from debutant Darren Bent gave the claret and blue side of Birmingham reason to celebrate on a cold Saturday evening match.

In the first half Villa restricted Manchester City's dream team all star line up to about 4 chances. Tevez spurned a dangerous corner that Friedel didn't go for, mis -iming a simple tap in. Barry had a header just wide and Kompany and Toure came close.

It was a frustrating opening 5 minutes for the Villa fans as the player they came to watch couldn't get close to the ball. His first involvement was winning a 6th minute header.  But, they didn't have to wait much longer to see the thing they hoped for....their new star celebrating his first Villa goal.

Villa grabbed their goal in the 18th minute. Agbonlahor received a good pass and held the ball up well on the left. He slipped a nice pass in front of Ashley Young who took the ball into the area and sent a low shot on goal. The shot wasn't particularly hard, but, it was well placed and Joe Hart had to stretch to get at the ball. He could only palm the ball away. The ball fell to the debutant striker who did what he does so well. Bury the rebound.

Villa had 3 other strikes at goal in the half. The best was a cannon from Young, straight at Hart who gathered well.

In the second half, Villa had to weather a torrent of City pressure, especially in the last 20 minutes. City unleashed around 24 shots at Villa's goal all together. Most were high or wide as Villa's defence forced Manchester to just play around the perimeter of the area. City had no new ideas except to bring on Adam Johnson and move the ineffective Silva to a more roaming role. Johnson tormented Clarke, who was scared to tackle after horribly mis-timing two in the first half and was on a yellow. Johnson, couldn't find the quality in his crosses, however.

Villa's biggest let offs were a shot, blocked by Clarke onto the foot of the post and to safety. A shot from the right back that had so much pace, that the normally sure handed Friedel, could only parry. It fell safely to Dunne and another rocket, possibly from the left back that deflected off both Collins one way and Cuellar the other way and went across the goal for a corner.

With Villa seemingly in all out panic mode, an unlikely player popped up in injury time, to show Villa the way to victory. When Darren Bent received a ball on a rare breakaway  from defence, instead of trying to aid in the quick attack, he held it up like an old fashioned centre forward. Then, laid a pass off and Villa were forced to make their attack much slower.

The calmness he showed seemed to filter through the entire side and suddenly Villa had the ball in City's half and could do what they wanted and suddenly it was City in panic mode, giving away silly free kicks. Even when City went forward for one more foray, the nerves were gone from the crowd and as Villa  moved the ball forward,  the time on the clock was now not a factor, but, then Howard Webb, blew his whistle and the roar went up and Villa have given Man Utd a huge bonus at the top and themselves a huge boost in the standings.

Darren Bent got man of the match, but, really Collins and Petrov were immense out there.