A Little Bit Of History Repeating

Last updated : 18 January 2009 By Tom Vickers
Surely you wouldn't be surprised to hear that Villa won a game with a goal in the last ten minutes - again?

Well maybe you would be if you heard that Ashley Young had been sent off with 72 minutes gone and with the scores level at 1-1.

But, yet again Villa came up with the most unlikely of victories which simply epitomised their will to win and 'never say die' attitude.

Sunderland are not the easiest side to play against at the best of times and with Villa so often lethargic in the North East, a home win looked distinctly possible.

After Martin Laursen was deemed unfit to play and Danny Collins rose highest to head the Black Cats ahead after just ten minutes, it seemed like it may be a long day for the Villans.

But, James Milner equalised, possibly with the use of an arm, and Barry smashed in a penalty to keep the Claret and Blue in the top four of the Premier League.

Villa fans who have travelled away must really be pinching themselves as at times this season their side have performed miracles right in front of their very eyes.


At Everton, Villa looked to have thrown away three points with the Toffees equalising in injury time, only for Young to intervene and claim his side the win.

And at Hull, Villa played poorly to say the least and snatched a late win via a Kamil Zayatte own goal.

Now, they have won with ten men despite looking overawed during the first half and lacking the presence of their captain marvel.

Sunderland could have been more than one goal ahead during the opening 45 minutes as Dean Whitehead and Anton Ferdinand failed to hit the net when presented with good chances.

Carlos Cuellar, deputising for Laursen had already been beaten by Collins in the air for the first goal of the game and the Black Cats looked set to strike again.

But after the break it was a different story as Young broke down the right and pulled the ball back for Milner who bundled the ball into the back of the net.

Ricky Sbragia and his players questioned the goal as Milner appeared to handball, but referee Mike Dean turned a deaf ear to the complaints.

Dean was then involved in more controversy as Young dived in on Whitehead and was shown a red card by the referee.


Villa looked set to shut up shop and play for a point but with such a lethal counter attacking style at their disposal the Villans continued to play on the break.

The focal point of that dynamic system, Gabby Agbonlahor, chased a ball over the top and found himself in between two Sunderland defenders.
Paul McShane was one of those rushing back to stop the striker and he was adjudged to have committed a foul.

Dean pointed to the spot and Barry duly obliged by hammering home in front of the travelling fans.

Villa then survived a late penalty shout from the men in red and white and went on to claim a vital victory.

It was all reminiscent of the away win at Middlesbrough in 2004 as Villa came back from a goal behind, had a man sent off and won via a late goal.

Barry also scored on that occasion with Peter Crouch netting a winner in the 89th minute.

Villa were chasing the Champions League dream during that campaign under David O'Leary but narrowly missed out at the end of the season.

Hopefully that is one part of history that won't repeat itself.