Poor game, poor ref, but as bad as Stoke were the Potters had a little more quality in every position and that was enough to undo Villa.
In the first half Stoke’s passing was abysmal as it racked up a catalogue of wayward passes. Villa’s passing was off as well, especially Delph who seemed to think the ballboy behind the Stoke goal was a Villa player and that he was onside. Overall, though Villa was the better first half side and the ball was played in the home sides 3rd for a greater portion of the game.
The match was getting more and more niggly and the ref in his 5th game could not keep a lid on it. Albrighton was shoved hard into the advertising boards without any punishment, then seconds later the adjudged the Erdington lad to be looking for retribution when he went into a challenge on Pietters. Replays showed that he went for the ball and right back milked it.
Weimann was through on goal and lining up to shoot when his legs were taken away by Wilson, but the ref was too gutless to make the correct decision of a straight red, deciding on a lame yellow.
Stoke made a change at the half, bringing Charlie Adam in to the midfield, which immediately made him the best midfielder on the pitch. Within 5 minutes he had scored.
Clarke gave away a poor free kick on the tepid Walters and Crouch headed on to ADAM who out-muscled a very poorly positioned Nathan Baker who should be embarrassed about that moment and struck for 1-0.
Villa went into seemingly a panic mode and Stoke who was now passing at a good 50% better than the first half started getting Villa players to lose their heads and the free-kicks started coming and soon the Delph inevitable booking followed. 59 minutes 13 seconds for the Delph booking contests.
Minutes later Delph should have been sent off for a trip on Adam after sloppy play on the edge of the area, Herd was booked instead for kicking the ball away.
Villa fans were thrilled to see Bowery lining up to come on as a sub, because his track record meant we would surely see Villa back into the match. Really, it just showed how little quality Villa really has.
But, before he could come on, Villa went level. It came from Villa’s only type of build-up it has in its arsenal. Long clearance from Guzan, Kozak loses out on the header, we’ve seen it play out all season, then Pietters inexplicably headed back to Begovich and Kozak was still up there beat the Bosnian to the ball and slipped it past him.
The fans had barely finished singing its all gone quiet over there to the Stoke faithful when Stoke got a hand on the game. Herd and Guzan both went for a cross, Herd mis-kicked and the ball fell to Crouch who bundled the ball in with his hand and leg, with Couch it is usually a bit of everything.
Kozak saw a snap shot well saved by Begovic but that was it.
Players: Guzan. Good save from a cross, took crosses well, but really need to see a couple of world class saves, of the last 7 goals he’s allowed in I would have like to have seen 1 or 2 of them be denied because of an incredible save.
Clarke. Played okay again, silly foul led to first goal, great block on a first half shot from Crouch.
Lowton, played okay, wish he and Herd had switched with Herd at RB and he in the middle.
Herd. Poor performance from a kid I do like. I think he would be better at RB, but he is a midfielder. Responsible for winning goal.
Baker. Great block on a first half shot, brave header at goal, but all undone by a poor defensive effort on the first goal.
Westwood. Poor shooting, poor passing, poor tackling. Looked like he should play for Crewe. Second thought, the would drop him.
Delph. Worst game I have seen him play this season. Looked more like the Delph of old
Tonev. 1 minute in he is already trying to kill Stoke fans with his shooting. Begovic made an error on a punch out, with nobody in goal he overhits a cross to nobody.
Albrighton. Another solid game, Stoke addressed him after he exposed them early on and negated him.
Weimann. He should have been in on goal but for Wilson’s foul and he had a decent run from midfield in the second half, at least he has proof he played.
Kozak. The best Villa performer??? Okay with the ball at his feet and a good aggressiveness, but won nothing in air. Only player looking likely to score.
Bowery. Nothing again.
Bacuna. Nothing there either.
LAST CHANCE IS JANUARY.