RAMBLE: Villa 2-0 Wednesday
I was looking forward to this away day.
We always have a good time in Birmingham and visiting a new ground is always exciting.
The usual routine as I got up was followed, although I decided to have a small breakfast before leaving as I’d made the mistake at Forest away of not eating before officially going for breakfast after we got off the train.
I also opted for something healthy before having an artery filling breakfast in Birmingham. And all in good time, so with half decent weather I decided to walk to the station rather than jump in the taxi that James and Mark were getting.
I walked to the station listening to the same music (a Chopin CD that I’d borrowed off my mum) that I’d listened before the Norwich win.
Maybe it could be my lucky music?
I got to the station in good time and waited for Mark and James to appear from their taxi and sent a quick text to say I was there.
James replies that Mark is driving and they’re not getting a taxi, but Mark wasn’t there yet. That’s fine. The train isn’t for ages.
Suddenly the train was getting closer and closer.
It’s coming up to ten minutes to go and still no sign.
As I start to worry, there’s a text from James stating that they’re walking now. I pray that he means from the car park and not his house!
Thankfully they appear with enough time to get on the platform comfortably. Said platform is quite busy, so it’s clearly going to be squeeze. Kieran appears with an over sized coffee as the train pulls in.
Luckily we had booked seats and the doors to our carriage stopped right in front of us so it wasn’t quite the carnage that I had feared.
However, as I got there, there was a woman with two of the biggest dogs you’ve ever seen. They were huge and taking up most of the gangway, so we got split up on the way to our seats. Thankfully we were on soon reunited and on our way to the midlands.
As we arrived in Birmingham, we braced ourselves for navigating mass of New Street station and attempt to find the café for breakfast and our first pint.
We met Andy, with his mate Moz and it was Google maps at the ready! Once found we headed upstairs to find a table, where my superstition kicked in and insisted we couldn’t use the table in the corner, where we’d had breakfast before Birmingham away as it was clearly bad luck!
Breakfast ordered and I went for the strange combination of espresso and a pint as I wanted some kind of hot caffeine kick but didn’t wanted a pint straight after.
James had done the same and ordered a pint and in his words “the biggest tea you do”.
As we waited for breakfast, we started discussing the game and given it was our first meeting with a Steve Bruce team since May, the playoff final came up, with the hope that we don’t get a repeat today.
Villa are not nearly as good a team as Hull last season but does Steve Bruce know what to do to beat us? Still, I fancied us to get a win today with a good performance.
We’d shown against Norwich what we can do and Villa won’t be parking the bus like Burton did (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s what you do when you’re a bottom six team against a top six team).
The breakfast was excellent as ever with almost no full English faux pas. No ramekins, a perfectly cooked fried egg, a proper tomato and not just warmed up tinned tomatoes and good quality all round.
There’s few things worse on a breakfast than warmed up tinned tomatoes, who decided that was a good thing? It’s just cheap and nasty.
We headed out soon to explore more of Birmingham and get a few more pints before getting the train to Witton for the game.
We found a nice craft ale bar that we’d been in before the Birmingham City game and I somehow managed to get two excellent pints with change from a fiver.
I didn’t even hear the amount and just paid with a tenner, so I have no idea if it was an error or not but wasn’t complaining.
Five good points of ale and a pot of tea for one (Mark) later and we headed to The Wellington for somewhere with a little more atmosphere.
The Wellington has one of the best range of beers you could hope for and TV monitors that display what they have. This includes a letter system for what colour the beer is, A is pale and then it gets darker.
Some have two letters, so an A/B would be a darker pale but confusingly some had A/H – no idea what that means!
Just after we got pints a table freed up and lurched for it at top speed.
Soon enough Chris, his brother and Jordan showed up, so I diverted to catch up with them.
Chris, James and I also started to check train times for Witton, which turned into a round of synchronised National Rail Apps between the three of us. Although there was a random train that wasn’t showing on Chris’ phone, which clearly was because he didn’t have an iPhone, like a sensible person.
We picked a train, that would still give us time to get a pint next to the ground and relieve bladders etc. So we gave warnings and soon enough we were off back to New Street.
Then, just before we enter New Street, Andy stops still and points in one direction: OFF LICENCE. Somehow, he’d seen an off licence in the corner of his eye.
It must be a trained instinct. Sadly the offering in this off licence was lager, lager or lager. So I opted for Peroni.
We managed to navigate New Street in good time for the short train to Witton and soon enough we were there. The intervening time though was enough to make our bladders very very FULL.
It’s ok, we’ll head to that away pub next to the ground. We know it’ll be poor but they’ll have a toilet and maybe good beer?
As we approach, there’s’ a big sign saying “HOME fans only”.
This is not good.
We keep walking and there’s another half to the pub that says “AWAY fans only”.
So they somewhere split the pub between the two. It’s also £2 to get in, which is basically £2 to not piss myself, so I gladly pay!
As we make our way to the toilet, there’s only about 2 urinals and a queue URGH.
Finally, we all relieved ourselves and got a pint of Guinness (the only other options being Carling!). This was a strange that wasn’t really a pub as you’d normally expect.
It was basically a shell of a pub with some temporary bars and no tables or chairs or anything. We’d also got team news by this point and confirmation that Forestieri was out.
We just need to pray that the rumours of it being a cruciate ligament injury are wrong. Aside from being out for the season, if true, he might never be the same again!
We got into the ground to find a good view for an away game. We might have a lower allocation being shoved in the corner but it beats Row A in front of the goal!
Wednesday lined up with Reach coming in for Forestieri and in the shape of a more traditional 4-4-2 than we usually do. I assume McManaman is injured he wasn’t even on the bench, which is a shame as he’s deserved his chance.
We started the game well, dominating the ball and looked threatening. Winnall and Rhodes were linking up well, although I really struggle to tell them apart on the pitch.
At one point, I thought Rhodes broke through and forced their keeper into a good serve – it turns out that it was Winnall. We were creating more chances and I was confident that my pre-match prediction of a good performance and a win would come through.
Hunt challenges for the ball
Then after a corner came through for Wallace to cross, found a man to head the ball across the face of goal Sasso to score right in front of us!
YEEEEEAA …. The flag’s up – it’s offside. BOLLOCKS.
That could have been like the Wallace opener last week but it wasn’t meant to be. We kept the pressure up though and dominated possession. Unlike Bruce’s Hull team, we were the one controlling the game looked far more likely to score.
Another good ball but Rhodes just couldn’t get there. Come on Wednesday, it’ll come, it’ll come.
Then they a dubious looking corner (although it’s hard to judge from distance), they hit a good ball that wasn’t defended and headed in. 1-0 Villa. DOUBLE BOLLOCKS.
The Wednesday fans backed the team to get a quick reply.
And Wednesday attacked, Reach broke into the box and squared it to Wallace who looked set to smash it home … but he miscued it for a goal kick.
HALF TIME: Villa 1-0 Wednesday
What’s worse is yet again there was no beer at half time to look forward to. This was not going well.
I went down to use the toilet frustrated and not for the first time this season the toilets were FULL of cigarette smoke.
This is really starting to annoy me about away games, week after week clubs are allowing fans to smoke inside and turning a blind eye to it.
Most of the time this in in view of the stewards.
I went back up and asked a police officer how I got about reporting this. But nobody cares.
Right then, second half!
Sasso heads home from an offside position
Sadly we’d barely started by the time Sasso mis-controlled the ball and lunged into the Villa player.
Foul and red card!
Now we’re in trouble.
And then Carlos was sent to the stands, which seemed very unfair. Unless he swore, it’s hard to see why that was justified.
Our control and dominance of the game went with Carlos and Sasso’s departure. If anything they looked more likely to score than we were to equalise.
By this point I was starting to lose my temper and the seat in front of me was getting a battering. Although that’s minor compared to what I’d do to Sasso for a such a stupid sending off.
There were a few clear offsides that were being missed by the linesman in front of us and they nearly scored from it.
Carlos watches Wednesday warm up
Then we started to get back into the game.
Fox had moved to centre back and was playing well.
We were in the box and Hunt was taken down.
Clear penalty! Except it wasn’t given.
Soon after this Loovens went down injured and is replaced by Semedo. Cue “You’ll never get past Semedo…”
So that’s Lees, Lee, Hutchinson, Loovens, Forestieri and Hooper all out injured. Great.
Then their next attack, another clear offside and they’re one on and one with Westwood and it’s 2-0. Game over.
A dubious disallowed goal. A questionable sending off (although it probably was). A clear penalty denied. And then a clear offside goal given against us. This was 10 v 12!
Bad day at the office
We lasted until 85 minutes when we decided it was time to head back into Birmingham, get some food and another pint. When we got to the station, it was clear that we were to alone in leaving as the station was already full of angry Wednesdayites.
We got back to Birmingham with the intention of getting food and beer in the same café but there were no tables to be had. Thankfully the Brewdog was across the road, so we headed there for beer and some excellent chicken wings. Chicken and beer makes things better.
The extent of the recent injuries could define our season and with Fulham on the charge beating Newcastle, we could be 7th by Tuesday night. Oh and our last game of the season? Fulham at home.
This could get interesting.
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