City Remain Unbeaten at the Top
MCFC Reserves 1 – 1 AVFC Reserves
Ultimately a disappointing result from our second string against a very strong Villa side because there were many times when City found themselves in space but failed to capitalise further on Ishmael Miller’s fine opening goal that came from a good flowing move with many passes. Villa had equalized with a fine curling and dipping shot from Lee Hendrie five minutes after the interval.
Aston Villa decided to field an exceptional strong team, most probably due to the fact that their first team not twenty four hours earlier had not really shown up in their four nil defeat to West Ham at Upton Park.
Villa were the first to create a real opening in the game within seven minutes when Eirik Bakke was able to overlap the defence from a through ball and just held of Jihai Sun whilst going into the penalty area, but Bakke was unable to beat Geert De Vlieger who stood tall and forced a good save.
This woke City up as they upped the tempo of their play and three minutes late saw Ishmael Miller produce a trademark power strike on goal from the edge of the area which former Arsenal goalkeeper, Stuart Taylor, did well to save behind for City’s first corner of the match.
Antoine Sibierski wanted to get in on the striking bug by unleashing a good twenty five yard stinger that again Taylor did well to parry away. Unfortunately that would be Sibierski’s only quality effort on goal all match even though he was playing in his preferred forward role. He did however have a telling part in City’s goal just three minutes later when Miller held of the defender and flicked of the ball to his side for Lee Croft to run onto, Croft sent in a cross and Sibierski layed the ball back for Miller to come in and finish well into the bottom left corner.
A minute later City could have seen their lead taken away when a dubious penalty was awarded when J Lloyd Samuel fell between Yasser Hussein and Danny Warrender. City have become used to these decisions as it was the fourth such one this season. Fortunately for the justifiably jeering home fans, De Vlieger produced a fine save from Luke Moore, the younger and supposed better brother than Stephan, who recently signed for QPR, and City deservedly held onto their lead.
City were able to carve out just one more chance in the half as Stephen Ireland, still wearing a visible support for his fractured wrist, drove forward from midfield and sent a ball into the box for Miller to latch onto, but again Taylor produced a fine save as he spread his body.
The re-start saw Villa assert their experience on the game as they controlled most of the possession and brought the scores level within five minutes. City were unable to deal with Villa’s passing on the left side and eventually left Lee Hendrie with enough space to set of a fine dipping shot that swerve over the diving hands of De Vlieger and in of the underside of the bar.
City were being over-run in the centre of midfield and yet Steve Wigley failed to see this problem as City were releasing the ball down the flanks with pace when the defence was able to win back the ball time and again. So not seeing this problem, failed to make the correct change of bringing Micah Richards on to replace the largely ineffectual Hussein and give more control in the centre of play and allow Ireland the free role that most suits his play.
Having said that, City still created a few chances, but with Villa’s defence leaving bigger gaps than the Panama Canal I’m sure a more physical presence would have seen us create more chances.
Miller was the man that our two easier chances fell to, but he was unable to direct a header on target from an early Croft cross or beat Taylor with a one on one when Taylor produced a fine finger tip save to deny City the three points in the dying minutes.
Villa had their moments a well as De Vlieger saved well from a long range Djemba Djemba strike and was left stranded on a couple of occasions as he saw the ball whistle past his post and hit his post from one of Villa’s corners.
City now go into the third of their four match home match run against Newcastle next Monday 19th. We may look at this as a point gained or two points lost at the seasons end, but I suppose the main thing is that we still sit top of the reserve league with an unbeaten record that continues at all levels throughout the club. This non-losing habit can only be beneficial for the continued development at all levels of the playing staff.
MCFC(4-4-2): DeVlieger(GK), Warrender(capt.), Sun(Collins 58), Ireland, Onuoha, Sommeil, Croft, Sibierski, Miller, J D’Laryea, Hussein.
Subs: Schmeichel(GK), Richards, Laird, N D’Laryea.
AVFC(4-5-1): Taylor(GK), de la Cruz, Samuel, Cahill, Green, Djemba Djemba(Agbonlahor 81), Hendrie(capt.), Bakke(Kabeya 56), Moore, Whittingham, Berger(Ward 72).
Subs: Olejnik(GK), Williams.