One of the UK’s most famous and iconic stadiums, Villa Park, hosted our annual Aston Villa game on the morning of Wed 25th May and our Villa fans certainly lived up to their grand surroundings, serving up a hugely entertaining 4-4 draw played out in a mixture of weather conditions throughout the afternoon.
Date: Monday 9th May 2016
Venue: Villa Park
Aston Villa (Home) vs Aston Villa (Away)
Kick Off: 15:00 pm
Legend/Manager: Martin Laursen
Match Officials: Stuart Haden, Gary Dolphin, Kiran Dolphin & Barry Darvell
The Away team got us underway in blustery conditions at Villa Park but that didn’t stop the sides from attacking early on.
We didn’t have to wait long for our 1st goal, the Away side taking the lead when a fine solo effort from Away No 8 Harrison Armitage, including beating defenders and step-overs, found the back of the net in the 5th min (0-1).
It was the younger legs of the Away No 6 Greg Whitehouse and Harrison Armitage who were causing the real attacking problems. Some nice combination play between the two found Away No 11 Adam Waters whose shot was well saved by Home GK Matthew O’Regan who got down very quickly to prevent a rebound going in.
The Away team were more dominant but they couldn’t find their way through a strong defence led by legend Martin Laursen. Home No 1 Matthew O’Regan was kept busy as well, and another quick acrobatic save saw him tip the ball wide from an effort from Greg Whitehouse.
Our Home side were finding their rhythm though and they were rewarded in the 27th min when legend Martin Laursen showed his class by striking a great shot low into the bottom corner (1-1).
It didn’t take long for the Home side to make it 2-1, the energetic Home No 11 Steven Diggory scoring with a powerful drive from just inside the box in the 31st minute (2-1).
Trying to find a way back into the game, the Away side kept pushing forward. Centre mid Greg Whitehouse managed to sneak a shot under the keeper but Home No 4 and Captain Ashley Phipps led by example and stopped the potentially goal-bound effort.
The Away side kept pushing and found themselves back on level terms in the 40th min when Away No 6 Greg Whitehouse managed to speed past the Home defence and slot the ball in with his right foot (2-2).
We even saw some acrobatic skills from the Home team, which wouldn’t look out of place at the upcoming Olympic games in Rio! Home No 1 Matthew O’Regan tipped a fierce strike from Away No 7 Richard Leeson onto the crossbar whilst in the air before Home No 5 Robert Thorpe produced an overhead kick in his own box to stop any rebounds.
That was the last action of a very tight 1st half, with both sides producing solid displays and the extremely even nature of the contest meant the scores stayed level at the break.
Half Time: Aston Villa (Home) 2 - 2 Aston Villa (Away)
Sporting the club’s famous claret and blue kit, the Home side restarted the 2nd half but it was the Away side that got the first goal of the 2nd half.
Away No 8 Harrison Armitage produced a skilful step-over to confuse his defender before striking the ball into the bottom left hand corner in the 47th minute, making it (2-3) to the Away side.
Next there was a big chance for the Away team to expand their lead, the ever dangerous Harrison Armitage aiming a free-kick right on the edge of the box, however he couldn’t keep the ball underneath the crossbar.
The Home side then had a chance to score themselves, Home No 7 Adam Tarver found himself free at the back post but Away No 1 Darren Whittle smartly saved his header. Another chance for the Home side came when an excellent effort from distance from No 14 Andrew Balmforth forced Away No 1 Darren Whittle to back-track desperately and tip the ball over the bar.
Home No 1 Matthew O’Regan continued to showcase his goalkeeping talents, this time it was a quick double save, firstly from Away No 11 Adam Waters’ powerful volley, before jumping to save Away No 9 Mark Clyne’s left footed effort from the rebound.
The Home side were having the better possession in the 2nd half and this became apparent, and to their advantage, when Home striker Steven Diggory found himself one-on-one with the keeper and powerfully struck the ball past the keeper to make the scores all level again at (3-3).
The Away team hit back quickly though and Harrison Armitage continued his hugely successful day in front of goal by clinching his hat-trick in the 80th min! The left mid turned expertly and found the top left hand corner of the net, to put his team ahead with time running out (3-4).
However the Home side didn’t give up though and they managed to salvage a draw right at the death when Home No 17 Sean Jackson took advantage of some tired legs and calmly finished past the keeper to make it (4-4).
And that was the last action of the game, the Home team managed to grab the draw in a tightly fought battle against an Away team who showed great attacking prowess throughout the game.
A huge thanks you to all the players and spectators for a fantastic day at Villa Park living the dream. Also a massive thank you to Aston Villa FC and our legend Martin Laursen who travelled from Denmark with his family just for the event, making the day for all our players that bit extra special.
Full Time: Aston Villa (Home) 4 - 4 Aston Villa (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Matthew O’Regan
Man of the Match Away: Harrison Armitage
Moment of the Match: Robert Thorpe
Home Team: Matthew O'Regan, Robert Gerrard, Martin Laursen, Ashley Phipps (C), Robert Thorpe, Andy Fisher, Adam Tarver, Wayne Batsford, Steven Howkins, Paul Line, Steven Diggory, Andrew Balmforth, Jack Brotherston, Sean Jackson
Home Mascot: Zach Cunningham
Away Team: Darren Whittle, Neil Geeson, Nathan Rogers, Ben Leeson, Greg Whitehouse, Richard Leeson, Harrison Armitage, Mark Clyne, James Gasson, Adam Waters, David Traynor (C), Richard Metcalfe, Robert Green
Away Mascot: Robyn Metcalfe
Match Report written by Matt Annis