since 1878

Aston Villa (0) 2 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Saturday, March 10, 2001

Referee: R Styles

Manager: Unknown

Villa Park

Attendance: 28,216

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2893























Match Report

Joachim steals the points

Not to sure how we lost this one, but it did have something to do with a player called Julian Joachim.

Do I not like Birmingham. Both Aston Villa and Birmingham have both proved to be somewhat bogey teams in recent years. Not for the first time this season, we have a fruitless journey to balti capital, this time going down 2-1 to Aston Villa. It could have been so different, after Town had taken a deserved goal lead in the first half, through a scrambled effort from Alun Armstrong. But the opposite of last week happened, and it was Ipswich who were the victim of a second half comeback. Slack defending allowed Villa, and in particular the impressive Julian Joachim, to score two goals and snatch victory. A 2-1 defeat away to Villa is by no means a disgraceful result, but what is so frustrating, is that this game was clearly there for the taking. Once again, Town were guilty of giving their opposition far too much respect. This was a poor Villa team, one that often looked second best, and one we should have easily beaten. After taking the lead, we should have never looked back. But Town have had an annoying habit of taking the lead away from home, only to cave in, and they did it yet again. In a very new look formation Ipswich had Clapham, Jermaine Wright, Holland and Reuser in midfield together for the first time. Burley decided to give new boy Chris Makin an Ipswich debut at left back, with Hriedarsson switching to central defence in place of the banned Bramble. This meant it was Jim Magilton who was dropped to the bench, and Alun Armstrong was preferred up front instead of Mark Burchill. Another good following had made their way along the M6 to Villa Park, and were in good voice, as Town made most the early running. However, Julian Joachim gave Town early indications of his form, producing a couple of testing shots. One earned a corner that saw Chris Makin clear off the goal line. But it was Town who were having the majority of possession as the game wore on, and knitted together some nice moves. Jamma had a good shot saved, while Reuser looked to be continuing his good form, constantly probing the Villa defence whenever he could. The breakthrough for Town came on the half hour mark, when Armstrong scored his 3rd goal in a Town shirt. After racing past Steve Stone, the battling Armstrong collided with Southgate as the Villa defender tried to clear the ball. The ball appeared to ricochet off Armstrong's knee, and past David James. It was not the prettiest of goals, but it was another piece of determined play by Armstrong, and he fully deserved his bit of luck. For rest of the half Ipswich never looked like surrendering their lead, and should really have extended it. Reuser again cut in from the left and fired in a good shot, but James saved well. A number of crosses then rained in the Villa penalty area, but came to nothing. The second half began and Town showed no signs that they were going to ‘do a Bradford'. They actually came out and passed the ball around better than they had in the first. However, out of the blue, Villa were handed their first lifeline. In the 52nd minute, McGreal and Hreidarsson both gave the blistering Joachim too much space, and he beat them both to crack in a shot that skimmed the post as it went in. The goal awoke a very sleepy and subdued Villa Park, and that man Joachim was soon at it again. A long pass from Merson should really have been Hreidarsson's ball, but Joachim again sped in to score off the post. Now Hreidarsson is not exactly a slouch himself, and I'm not sure if he underestimated Joachim, or was just too slow. Town huffed and puffed for the final twenty minutes, but after being stunned by the two goals, were unable to find anything like their best form, and never really looked like equalising. In fact Joachim nearly claimed his hat trick, but debutant Makin put in a cracking tackle. It seems typical, that Julian Joachim, who has virtually done nothing since his big money move from Leicester, decides to have one of those games. He's always had the talent, but doesn't use it very often. He probably won't score again for another two years. But fair play to the lad, he almost single handily won the game for Villa, and deserves the plaudits. He outpaced McGreal and Hreidarsson so often, and not many strikers have been able to that this season. You can summarise this match rather simply, by saying we blew it. We had the opportunity to cement our 3rd position in the league, but ended up chucking away three points. While I never thought this was going to be an easy game, in reality, it was, and we lost it. Normally after a Town defeat this season, home or away, it is easy to put it in terms of proportion, and accept that we have already exceeded everyone's expectations. We are going to have defeats in the Premier League, against opposition with vastly superior resources. However, it is a little less easy to take that attitude after this defeat, and we will have to do better in our next away game. After such an unbelievable season, it seems harsh to criticize Burley, but for once, his tactical decisions came into question. I'm not too sure playing Makin from the start was the best decision, although to be fair to him, he did battle and show glimpses of quality. Town were looking comfortable at 1-0, when Burley brought on Magilton in place of Clapham. But the change appeared detrimental, as the players struggled to adapt to the new system. Soon after the switch, Villa were level. It seemed a strange decision, and the old saying ‘if it's not broke, why fix it?' seemed very apt. But what really began to annoy some Town fans was Burley's reluctance to bring on Mark Burchill. It was somewhat surprising the livewire was left out from the start, as he has the lightning pace (ironically similar to Joachim's) to outstrip any defence. When we went 2-1 down, the general consensus was that he should have been brought into the fray straight away, but Burley sent him on less than 5 minutes from time, not long enough to make an impact. On a positive note, the general disappointment generated from this defeat is an example of how expectations have recently changed, and Town are now being judged by their new standards. But it was a makeshift team at Villa, and we can now look forward to the return of Marcus Stewart, Titus Bramble and Mark Venus.

From The Terrace

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