Let’s start with the important thing here: yes Aston Villa dropped points from a winning position, but a 1-1 draw in the Second City Derby at St. Andrew’s is a good result. While you can be upset with individual performances and moments, there’s no reason to be irritated with this result.
The match started with Birmingham City dominating play for the first 10 or so minutes. They looked ready to play, and Villa looked eager to let them. Comfortingly, for all of their attacking, City weren’t getting any good chances, and eventually Villa managed to grow into the match. There was a brief scare when Clayton Donaldson nearly put it in the goal, but the linesman (correctly) ruled that it never finished crossing the line.
In the 29th minute, though, Aston Villa took the lead on Gary Gardner’s header. It was Gardner’s first competitive goal for Aston Villa and it was absolutely brilliant. The header had curve. It curled into the net. It looked like a well-struck free-kick. It was beautiful:
The second half was another story. Villa were not ready for City’s renewed attack, and did that thing where they look shell shocked for a good chunk of the last 45 minutes. It almost came apart when Alan Hutton gave the ball to Jacques Maghoma, but Pierluigi Gollini managed to stop the one-on-one and Villa retained the lead.
It wouldn’t hold, though, as in the 71st minute, David Davis took a low shot that skidded into the net to equalize. Gollini was in the right place, but the ball deflected off of the Mile Jedinak’s calf and the keeper was left watching as the ball went in. Hard to fault Gollini there, better to send the anger to the Villa defense that let it happen in the first place.
From there, it was just a matter of seeing things out. Gabby Agbonlahor made his first appearance since March and looked... better than expected? He looked decent! But it wasn’t enough. The match finally ended 1-1, and both teams got to walk away thinking they’d gotten something where they might have gotten nothing.
Onto Blackburn. Let’s start winning again. UTV.