Gema Lilley is our next writer in the From the Stands series. She brings us this report from the C6 block in the Trinity Road stand.
So here we go then. The atmosphere around the ground is buzzing, and for the first time in a long time I can't hear anyone moaning!!! It seems to me that since I became a Villa season card holder about five years ago, no matter how well we are doing some Villa fans love to moan! No, there's none of that here today. It's more "you driving down to Wembley or going on the coach?" Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!
So yes, the atmosphere around the ground is great. As the teams come out everyone is in good spirits, cheering and clapping. We kick off and both managers are up in the technical area, and both managers seem to stay there all game. You can defo see the sherwood effect on the way we are playing now, we are pushing forward more and when we don't get forward Sherwood is soon shouting his orders out for them to do so! I think Mr. Sherwood is trying to build the team's confidence up in saying attacking is the best form of defence (even more so at the moment, as we have a nightmare amount of defenders injured!).
About twenty minutes into the game Jack Grealish, Carlos Sanchez, and Lewis Kinsella went up the side of the pitch to warm up. Grealish had a spot of bib trouble when his head got a bit tangled and he asked Lewis to help his get it on over his big Villa coat. "Bless them," I remember saying to myself. Then, moments after, Tom Cleverley goes down injured but carries on up the pitch to the dugout and is struggling while holding his groin area. He seems to want to carry on but with instructions from the bench he goes down on the ground and signals to the ref for medics to come on and off he goes and Carlos Sanchez replaces him.
We had a few half-cut chances during the first half but I think we still have to believe in ourselves a bit more. I was surprised to hear some Villa fans booing at half time! Hate it when they boo the team off at half time like that's going to help!!
Out the teams come for the second half. Sherwood walks to the dugout looking like he's in tunnel vision with his hands in his pockets, and his head down. Second half we seem to have more energy we are pushing forward even more. A few bad passes from Sanchez, and I don't think he knows where he should be at times during the match. Delph is working as hard as usual and omg I'm actually seeing Benteke moving around the pitch more. In recent matches he only seemed to stay in his forward position and come up to help defend set pieces, but not today. He's helping out more in midfield. I'm very impressed as I think that's the kind of striker we need.
Bacuna and N'Zogbia worked good together and think this will get better as they play more. Then on a counter attack we are punished by an 87th minute goal from Gomis. Totally gutted, and think we at the very least deserved a point! But we did fight like lions and had a good few chances during the second half and even after the Gomis goal we still kept trying to get forward till the full time whistle blew! All in all it was a good showing and I think we have every hope in staying in the prem next season!
Thanks, Gema! As much as I thought the Grealish bib story would be the highlight, I was particularly intrigued by the fact that you thought the boos were directed towards the players as well. Plenty of us at home had the same idea and we were quickly shouted down by fans on twitter informing us they were directed at the officials. If you couldn't tell from the stands, I can't imagine it was any different for the players!