Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday March 4 2007
I guess a fixture between the two draw specialists in the Premiership was always going to end up as a draw, wasn`t it?
Unfortunately, I felt, for the second match running that we deserved more, thankfully Aston Villa didn`t nick it at the end like Manchester United had the previous week, that would have been too much to live with. Thankfully, when the opportunity arose, Niemi was equal to the task and pulled off a great save from John Carew.
Any qualms about it not being our day appeared to be justified just past the twenty minute work when the referee assisted Aston Villa with the opening goal of the game. Lee Mason blocked a shot from Maloney and then performed a perfect obstruction move to prevent Smertin from making a clearance.
The ball was picked up by Barry and when he fed the giant striker, Carew, the finish was exceptional and the visitors were 1-0 up. Surprisingly, Coleman had no real gripes about the goal remarking,
"I can`t blame the referee; it was just one of those things."
"I don`t think it was bad positioning from him, we were just unlucky."
"It was a good through ball and a good finish from Carew after the referee`s mistake so I`ve no complaints."
I guess if I had the verbal clout I`d have been a lot stronger with my words. Thankfully, the deficit lasted only a couple of minutes. Fulham won a free kick and a superb delivery from Queudrue saw Bocanegra left alone at the far post. The defender made no mistake with his header and the score, as you`d expect it between the two teams, was 1-1.
The two quick goals should have provided a spring board for a classic match after all Michael Brown had already hit the bar from some twenty yards early on. Unfortunately, it wasn`t to be and Coleman summed it up perfectly in his after match interview, explaining,
"Villa made it hard for us, we wanted the three points to move up in the league but once they got the first goal it wasn`t going to be easy."
"We hit back in the best possible fashion within two minutes and I honestly thought we would then go on to win it."
"Michael Brown hit the post and Thomas Sorensen pulled off a few great saves."
However, after all the bluster that followed the early brace of goals, Villa could quite easily have snatched it late on but Niemi, playing his second game after the neck injury he suffered, produced a great save to deny Carew.
So with one point out of six at home, its hard to remain too optimistic about what lies ahead, thankfully, Coleman still has that faith and finished his post match interview by proclaiming,
"We`re still looking at 10th place in the league and, with a few good wins, I think we can do it."
I hope so Chris, I hope so!
Date:Sunday March 4 2007
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