Well how good does that feel?
With a couple of minutes to go, I’d got it in my head that the title for this post was going to read something like “Gutted, but better”, as I thought Villa were superb in the first half.
There was a lot more graft from the midfielders and more importantly we played with a much higher tempo, something I and probably many of us have been calling for, for most of the season.
When you consider Gabby could have had a hat trick in the first half hour and then Delph was unlucky when he hit the post, we really could have gone in at half time 4-0 up.
The performance really was that good.
In reality though, we were only 1-0 up at half time, where I was asking myself why we haven’t put that sort of effort in prior to this game? Particularly Gabby, who I’ve criticised a lot lately. Fair play to him though, he worked his proverbials off.
Likewise, Charles N’Zogbia, who was quite effective until he was subbed, no doubt down to a lack of match fitness.
Anyway, onto the second half and Albion, who previously looked pretty lacklustre, came out much more fired up, no doubt after some choice words from Tony Pulis. And we started to struggle somewhat; something that had me questioning if we might have a bit of a fitness problem? Indeed, Sherwood hinted that the players were possibly fatigued from the way they’ve been training.
And then came Albion, goal, where the defence were poor yet again, with Berahino allowed another free header. He wasn’t the only player not marked either, which was disappointing, given that Okore and Clark had handled Albion’s typical Pulis type tactics of the long ball up to the strikers pretty well.
One each then and things got quite worrying, with Albion possibly looking the more likely to nick it, to give us a repeat of the Stoke game.
And then in the very last minute, Foster, who had already looked very much the dodgy goalie, fumbled the ball and took out Lowton to earn us a penalty.
I was on the edge of my seat now and had a feeling Foster might save, given our recent bad luck, but Benteke, who also seemed to put a fair bit more work in tonight, very cooled trundled the ball into the net, after sending the goalie the wrong way.
Cue massive celebrations from the fans and myself, with the players joining in after the whistle.
Loads of bonuses today, for me. As Sherwood said, we’ve looked better in each game. The team worked their guts out and showed some fighting spirit. We beat an Albion side who have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 7. We played really well today. And most importantly, we’re out of the bottom three.
It actually feels great to be a Villa fan today and if we can keep that sort of performance up, you have to feel our chances of staying up are majorly improved.