Goodison Gaffes

By Dave Woodhall.

I’ve got a theory about this season. I think Villa have been so preoccupied with putting a long-term strategy into place they’ve taken their eye off the immediate dangers of relegation. The appalling defeat at home to Wolves two weeks ago has focused minds and since then there have been regular declarations of unity and determination to avoid the drop coming out of Villa Park, together with a siege mentality from most supporters.

The test, of course, was whether this would improve performances on the pitch away to Everton, in form but with a host of players missing.

Kyle Walker did his best to help the home side with his worst performance since joining the Villa. After nine minutes Walker gave the ball away and Brad Friedel had to make a good save then another mistake from the full-back gave Everton the lead at half-time.

However, to the surprise of everyone in the ground Villa were not only level a couple of minutes after the re-start, they went on to go 2-1 up just seconds after Everton claimed the ball had crossed the line from Beckford’s shot which had cannoned down after hitting the bar. Darren Bent, that £18 million panic buy, hit both goals. How many have the £85millions-worth of wise investment Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll scored?

Unfortunately, the referee made up for Villa’s earlier good fortune by awarding Everton a hotly-disputed penalty following Jean Makoun’s challenge on Phil Jagielka and we promptly let in another late equaliser.

It may have been two points dropped and, with this season’s bizarre set of results continuing, two more places dropped, taking us near the relegation zone. But we can take heart from the fact that Villa played well in the second half, Bent’s goalscoring run continues and most important of all, the team are still playing as though they believe.

Newcastle on Sunday is a big game. If the team show the same belief and desire they did at Goodison the three points will see us edging closer to safety. Anything less is unthinkable.

Onto one of my many pointless obsessions…..

Why was it yet again cheaper to buy two singles than a return, and first class to Lime Street cost less than standard? To the train manager on the way home – if the toilets not working is so rare, how come it’s happened on four of the last six times I’ve been travelling between Birmingham and Liverpool?

More seriously – I thought the inconsistent treatment of home and away supporters was a thing of the past, so it was disappointing to witness a stream of ejections from the away end while all around us were allowed to get away with threatening gestures and behaviour throughout. I like travelling to games in Liverpool but this sort of thing makes you realise there are still some attitudes that need to change.