By Eamonn Smith
Aston Villa Away Days – Everton 3 Villa 0
Another trip to Merseyside started the same as many a away day usually would, on another London Midland train. After an early start, I began the two-hour trip North West to the blue side of Liverpool, to face Everton. The four carriage train, which was packed full of Villa fans, was the perfect place for the first can of the day, and as we arrived into Lime Street station, a flurry of claret and blue disembarked the train and dispersed into Liverpool city centre.
Myself and my travelling Villans made our way to the first destination of the day, The Leaf on Bond Street, a bar restaurant about 10 minutes away from the station.
As we tucked into a full English breakfast, at this point confidence was high, despite losing the previous three games, we though Goodison Park was the perfect place to bounce back judging by Everton’s less than impressive start to the season.
Next stop was The Philharmonic pub on Hope Street, home to oldest grade one toilet in the country. We like to take in a bit of history on our travels…
A very old fashioned and grand pub, it was a perfect setting to get a few more drinks in and get the pre match talk going. Who would start? Who would replace Delph? Would Christian Benteke play a part? This just built the tension up, and made us even more eager for the kick off.
As we were in Liverpool, we had to take our traditional trip to the Flat Iron, but unfortunately it was closed! So we found ourselves in The Sandon, for the final pre-match drink before making the stroll across Stanley Park.
The atmosphere was one of hopefulness, as news of the starting eleven surfaced, and we discovered that star man Benteke was starting, thus giving the travelling fans a big boost. We then set off for the stadium, passing by Anfield, hopeful of similar performance, and a repeat of the 1-0 winning result.
As 1000’s of villa fans made their way into the away end at Goodison, we found out our seats were about 6 rows from the front, making it difficult to see the pitch perfectly, but being so close to the pitch made it a very different but enjoyable atmosphere. The condition of the away end was reasonable good, and the seats were comfortable enough.
A mix of nerves, excitement and hope were felt, as the Villa team walked on to the turf, greeted by a standing ovation from their travelling faithful and with cries of ‘Villa, Villa, Villa’.
While we were hoping for a storming performance from the team, unfortunately this was not to be the case, and Villa went down to a Phil Jagielka header on 18 minutes, which really put a dampener on a promising start to the game. For the rest of the second half, the tie was fiercely contested, and the teams were quite even, heading into the dressing room.
The referee blew his whistle for the start of the second half, with the travelling support really getting behind the team, screams of, ‘We shall not be moved’, could be heard from all corners of a subdued Goodison Park.
This optimism was short lived as Everton scored their second on 48 minutes after a comedy of errors. Charles N’Zogbia lost the ball on halfway, just adding to a dire performance from the Frenchman, and Romelu Lukaku’s shot squirmed straight through Brad Guzan and somehow found itself in the back of the net. Not the USA number one’s best moment in a Villa shirt.
Then after a toothless end to the half, Villa were undone by a quick free kick and Seamus Coleman finished into an open goal at the back post for Everton’s third on 78 minutes, adding insult to injury for the Villa supporters. As the final whistle blew, the majority of fans stayed to the end, and the players thanked the supporters for their unconditional following, and left the pitch after a very disappointing performance against the Toffees.
Now we just have to hope for a much better showing back in the capital against bottom-of-the-table QPR to hopefully break a recent traumatic away day run.
Home Atmos Rating:
6/10 – the home atmosphere was very subdued until the home team scored. There were only a few renditions of Everton songs and overall quite disappointing.
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