Sorry it has taken me a little while to write up this review. It has have literally been the only time I have had free all week. That’s what a demanding child and a busy work life does to you!
I don’t get to go to Villa Park often, in part due to the expense and in part due to the time it takes to make the round trip. Let’s face it, Villa have hardly been in the best form in recent seasons to actually inspire any one to make the trip. Needless to say. I decided upon making this fixture a few weeks back and found a good seat and the decent priced train tickets from London Euston was enough to persuade me to make the trip.
My train was booked for 12:20pm from Euston. I left home from Essex just before 11am to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to juggle any London underground routes that may have had any service delays. No such issues but what I didn’t account for was just how cold it was going to be. I had my new “Villafans” T-shirt which I was desperate to wear. I just had to make sure It was worn over my jumper. I was slightly delayed at the changeover from New street to Witton which meant I arrived only a few minutes before kick-off.
Despite the delay and the cold, it was actually a pleasant looking day at Villa park. The pitch looked immaculate, and the fans were in good voice. Though that did not last for long. As the first half went on, the fans became very quiet and frustrated by the lack of opportunities created. In fact, twice in the 1st half it was Blackburn who went closest to scoring, only for Gollini to pull off a couple of decent saves. Villa appeared to control the pace of the game without creating much themselves in terms of chances. The 2nd half began with a little more purpose and for the first 8 Minutes Villa must have had at least 80% possession. Yet, it was Blackburn that opened the scoring with a header to the far corner. At this point, I began to wonder whether this was a wasted trip. I actually tried to remember the last match I went to where Villa had actually won. It had been at least 7 or 8 visits since we had come away with all the points.
Blackburn going a goal up sprung Villa into life and within a few minutes of going a goal down were awarded a penalty. Grealish was tripped and Kodjia placed the penalty to the Blackburn keeper’s left giving him no chance with the accuracy of the spot kick. Villa were now sniffing blood and after their earlier body blow were looking for the win. The introduction of Agbonlahor played a part in Villa grabbing the win when on 70 minutes the striker dropped deep to knock the ball to Jedinak whose lovely pass set Kodjia on his way to stroke home his 2nd goal of the game and earn Villa their 3rd win in 5 games and remain unbeaten under Bruce.
The time I got back to New Street, I still had an hour before my train was due to leave but given what I just had witnessed for the first time in a few seasons (a win) I would have been happy to wait 12 hours. Totally worth it.
2nd placed Brighton are next up for Villa, Will happily take the draw here but If and it’s a big if we can grab the win, it would really show how far Villa have come as well as their aspirations for the rest of the season!