Andy Munro gives a Blueseye view of Sunday’s showdown.
After this match, it could be perhaps be legitimately asked, what have the Great Train Robbers, the Brinks Matt Gang and the Villa got in common? Certainly, at the end of a fairly pulsating second period we should have been home and dry. However, either way, it was great to see the second city derby resume. All the more so as it seemed there was little trouble despite an extremely large welcoming party from the Tilton jostling outside the gated entrance to the away end. Incidentally, it was also interesting to note the incredible number of coaches in the away car park given that it was a local match between two Brummie teams.
Blues elected to bring back Kuscak, a sensible move when Legdizes has never fully convinced (although unfortunately their kicking ability is on a par!). Dave Davis came in to allow Che Adams to partner Clayton D although this led to a rather narrow set up . Early on there was little in it with Blues arguably having the edge with some feisty tackling about. They should have taken the lead but Clayton D’s ‘goal’ was disallowed although I have to say, from my spot in the Tilton (!), it looked well over the line.
Yet it was Villa who scored through Gary Gardner who was given the freedom of the park by Clayton D to score with, in fairness, an excellent header. This set Blues back and they struggled to maintain a rhythm with some wayward passing very noticeable.
Gary Rowett kept things the same for the start of the second period and Blues started to gain some ascendancy backed by a noisy crowd and this increased when GR made a couple of changes. Jutkiewicz (who incidentally went on to win almost every aerial duel) and Cotterill to give us more width. This allowed Clayton more freedom to use his pace as a substitute for the ineffective Adams who is still a promising but unfinished article. Cotterill made an instant impression when he darted down the wing and his partially cleared cross was clinically buried by Davies….to his and the home crowd’s delirious delight.
Fourteen shots to Villa’s two tells its own story and the fact that Villa’s side has cost around twenty times more than Blues has to be credit to Rowett. In fairness, Villa have signed some top talent but personality and character is something that Brucie will need to overlay on that talent. One final word on Shotton who I’ve oft berated. He was outstanding and if he continues in that mode then I will need to eat indigestible portions of humble pie.