Aston Villa 1 West Ham 1
Strangely, Nicola’s mum’s 70th birthday celebrations at Duck Cottage in Herts aren’t halted to watch Sky Sports News. But managing to sneak the TV on after chocolate cake, profiteroles, meringue, rhubarb fool and coffee, there’s the news that we’ve achieved an admirable away point at a ground where we traditionally lose. And all without Parker, Kovac, Spector, Collison, Behrami and Cole.
Match of the Day reveals it to have been an open game. Stanislas goes straight through their defence but Friedel saves his shot early on. After that it’s mainly Villa. Heskey scores from Milner’s cross and that usual defeat appears very likely. Barry heads inches wide, Young fires against the outside of the post, Green smothers from Heskey and after a terrible back pass from Noble, Heskey hits the inside of the post.
Yet we rally in the second half. Noble has an effort saved. A neat back-heel from Di Michele causes confusion in their box and Boa Morte’s shot is blocked by Friedal. In the 85th minute sub Kieron Dyer shoots from the edge of the box and the maligned Diego Tristan expertly twists to head the ball home with the assurance of a natural goal poacher.
According to Mike, enjoying a refreshing "kipper tie" in Birmingham with Big Jo and Smaller Jo, this resulted in the memorable chant of "You twats, you let Diego score!"
There’s still time for Noble’s deflected shot to be tipped over by the stretching Friedel and Villa to be denied a clear penalty when Tomkins plays basketball in our area but luckily the ref misses it.
Spurs are only one point behind, but we have to be happy with an away point. There’s something admirable about Zola’s reluctance to moan about injuries. Instead he talks up the opportunities for other players and it seems to be working. He's also picking up the Redkapp-esque art of managerspeak, declaring "We are down to our bare bones - much like a lot of this season - but I don't complain. At the end of the day perhaps I should be happy with a point."
Stanislas has played four games in a row, Boa is looking more confident, Tristan has had a run and a goal and Lucas Neill has become a midfield enforcer. Noble had a good game too, apart from that iffy back pass, and is benefiting from the extra responsibility. Five games to go and we’re still in contention for the Europa League. We’ll have to bring back Jimmy Walker to brush up on the Euro-banter.
Biomechanics - easy exercise?
4 days ago