James Price gives us his second From the Stands report, yet another win over West Bromwich Albion. James comes to us from the P4 section of the Doug Ellis stand.
After Aston Villa beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Tuesday night there had been tension in the air with managers having pokes at each other, which I think is just blown out of proportion by the press as they like to do. The bragging rights have shone in claret and blue, but having worked with West Brom fans for a while I knew they were gunning for revenge on Saturday night.
As I made my way to the game the crowd had a completely different feel than it did Tuesday night. The atmosphere felt a lot more aggressive. As the Albion fans' coaches came to Villa Park the Villa fans were singing their new favourite Albion hate song as loud as they can and banging on the Albion coaches to intimidate the away fans right from the off. As I got to my seat the claret and blue flags and balloons filled the air with the stand-sized Villa flag rolling over the Holte End almost showing the Albion fans that the bragging rights would continue. The crowd was even louder than it was on Tuesday night and everybody was ready for Wembley, we just had to wait for the goals to flow!!
As the game started it turned out that everyone was ready for Wembley apart from the Villa players. Just as in the second half of Tuesday night, we started passing sideways trying to put as many passes together as possible before they reached the half way line and when they got there, pass back and start again. Albion found this very easy to deal with and were much the better side in the first half. Getting behind the back 4 at will with three out out of the back four having an absolute 'mare the first 20 minutes we were lucky to still be in the tie. Craig Gardner put chances on a plate for Berahino and Ideye who both should have scored but thanks to Shay Given we were still in it. It took till the 43rd minute for Villa to create a penetrating move together with Scott Sinclair committing players as he jinxed thru the box only to cross to the Albion goalkeeper Myhill.
As the second half started it was clear Tim Sherwood had had a few words, Villa came out of the blocks like a 100 meter sprinter being a lot more direct and making more penetrating runs and getting the two wingers on the ball who could (and would) change the game. With Scott Sinclair and Charles N'Zogbia using their pace and trickery the gaps started to open up. In the 51st minute a great move put together from our own half lead to a great run down the right from N'Zogbia. As he pulled inside Sinclair gave him an option by pulling five defenders to the right leaving Fabian Delph alone on the left. N'Zogbia laid the ball to him and Delph drilled it in the bottom left hand corner. 1-0 Villa: game on.
The second half was all Villa attack after attack as the time whittled down Albion had to push up looking for a goal inevitably leaving gaps at the the back and with the pace of N'Zogbia, Sinclair and Agbonlahor finding them the danger was there. After what seemed like the 4000th long ball by Albion in the second half Carlos Sanchez won a good header giving the ball Ashley Westwood who released young Jack Grealish who held onto the ball well and sent Sinclair to the races, streaming into the box as he turned inside to move past the final defender and placed it in the bottom right hand corner. Game, set, and Wembley!!!!
All in all lucky to still be in the game the first half but second half we took our chances. In Scott Sinclair we may have found our replacement to Ashley Young and Man of the Match Fabian Delph led the way with a great display. The two sending offs were a joke. In my opinion, a great FA Cup Quarter Final and we're of to Wembley I for one can't wait and hope for Bradford or Reading. Either way it will be a great day I'm sure!!
Thanks, again James, for both of the West Brom reports. You can follow James on twitter @jpcomplete_fit. We'll return with a new writer after the Swansea match!