Aston Villa 2 Bolton Wanderers 0
Both founder members of the Football League these two old clubs now find themselves playing their football in the second tier after a few years of very poor results.
A Friday night game (2nd November 2018) to accommodate Sky TV, the crowd was only just over 30000 against the full house of 42000 the previous match, a Saturday.
The ground looked magnificent and it seemed strange to see the pitch being watered in November. Pre-match there was a tribute to remember those who have fallen in war and also to commemorate the life and tragic death of the five people killed in the helicopter accident at Leicester City FC. The crowd were completely quiet to hear the ‘Last Post’ played.
The match couldn’t have started so well for Villa scoring in only the 4th minute when Tammy Abraham showed some skilful footwork and then put Jack Grealish through and although pushed wide slotted the ball along the ground into the far corner. Villa fans reacted with good voice and expected the flood gates to open but were silenced as Villa huffed and puffed creating chances that were not taken. Kodjia wasted the easiest chance when trying to dramatically scissor kick a ball that would have been easier to nod in with the goal wide open. Villa did get the ball in the net from an inch perfect free kick by Hourihane but Chester’s effort was ruled offside.
Villa’s keeper Nyland was giving his defence the jitters with some handling which could have let Bolton back in the game. The game was over on 57 minutes when Hourihane again floated another inch perfect free kick for Chester to head in. There were other near misses for both teams but the game and crowd had lost interest long ago. A late substitution saw Yannick Bolasie create some excitement with some clever flicks and runs that brought some cheer to the fans.
Villa do look a much better team under Dean Smith’s charge, there seems more energy and attacking flair. James Chester had a great game but Axel Tuanzebe alongside him was never flustered all night, you can see he is more comfortable in this central position.
The ‘Chips are Down’ at Villa who have difficult games coming up against teams above them in the league. If they are to get through to January when some reinforcements may be signed and the playing philosophies of Dean Smith and his team will have worked through they will need to show true character and value.
The chips were also down for Villa in scoring nil in my chip league. taking a seat in the North Stand instead of the Holte, to try to get rid of the jinx of poor results form recent visits, we found that they do not serve chips. Instead a pie and a coffee for £5.90. you realise the benefit of all of those unpaid helpers at Non-League grounds who give you great service, value and chips.