Saturday, 14 February 2009

Kilmarnock 1 - 1 Hibernian

2008/09 Scottish Premier League
3pm kick-off
Saturday 14th February 2009
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock 1 -
Hamill (76)
Hibs 1 - Riordan (45)

Att: 4649

This was a pretty entertaining 1-1 draw however, Hibs will feel a bit disappointed they didn't take the three points after taking the lead right on half time - and as far as I could see they had Mixu Paatelainen to blame.

This scrappy game was lit up by a moment of genius right on half-time. Derek Riordan flicked the ball over a Killie player's head and unleashed a stunning volley from 30 yards. The ball took a big deflection off of Manuel Pascali and flew past Alan Combe in the Killie goal.

By the time Killie equalised in the 76th minute it was obvious to anyone that Hibs needed to make changes. They had a proven goalscorer of international standing on the bench in Steven Fletcher but Paatelainen refused to make changes and was punished for his hesitancy. Hibs' Scotland under-21 internationalist left-back Paul Hanlon - who I didn't think much of - too long to clear and was dispossessed by Hamill who took a few steps before curling a beautiful left footed shot into Grzegorz Szamotulski's top right hand corner.

Rob Jones was a stand out in this one. The big defender was colossal and it was no coincidence that Killie came back into the match after he was subbed at half-time due to injury. Oppositely I wasn't very impressed with Hibs youngsters Hanlon and Darren McCormack while Killie's Connor Sammon was absolutely woeful and missed a few glorious opportunities - much to the consternation of the Killie fans around me.

My Pictures

Kilmarnock: 1. Combe, 15. Murray, 3. Hay, 4. Lilley, 6. Ford, 7. Bryson, 17. Gibson, 19. Skelton, 29. Pascali, 23. Hamill, 28. Sammon

Subs Not Used: 27. Rascle, 8. Locke, 12.Johnston, 22. Clancy, 25. Flannigan, 31. Anson, 33. Nolan.

Hibernian: 13. Szamotulski, 25.McCormack, 4. Hogg, 5. Jones (23. Chisholm - 46 mins), 20. Hanlon, 16. Stevenson, 26. Bamba, 32. Rosa, 18.Rankin, 10. Nish, 01. Riordan

Subs Not Used: 21. McNeil, 8. Yantorno, 9. Fletcher, 11. O'Brien, 14. Keenan, 31. Johansson .

Booked: Chisholm.

My man of the match: Rob Jones (Hibs)

Sponsor's man of the match: Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

BBC match report - match report

The Daily Record match report

The Scottish Sun match report

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Blackburn Rovers 0 - 2 Aston Villa

2008/09 English Premier League
3pm kick-off
Saturday 7th February 2009
Ewood Park, Blackburn

Blackburn 0 -

Aston Villa 2 - Milner (27), Agbonlahor (90)

Att: 24,267

This was my second trip to watch Aston Villa play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. In the first game Villa won 4-0 and they made it two out of two after a fairly decent performance in which they soaked up Blackburn's attacks - most of which failed to produce decent efforts on goal - and attacked on the counter.

The first goal was a cracker. Gareth Barry caught Rovers out with a quick short corner to James Milner, who utilised the space the sleepy Blackburn defence had given him by curling a superb left footed shot round Paul Robinson into the far corner. For some reason Milner weasn't popular with a few fans sitting behind me who constantly chanted: "Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner". When he was celebrating his goal (pictured, below) they actually raised the decibels in a sort of ironic cover up of their embarrassment.

Another unpopular player was Gabby Agbonlahor. The pacy England striker comes to life when he's got the ball but is one of the most lazy players I've ever seen off the ball - something you don't really notice until you are at a match because, on T.V., the camera is always focused on the ball and not what's happening off it. There was a growing sense of frustration at his lackadaisical attitude and a few fans - including myself - were voicing their frustrations. However, Gabby had the last laugh when his deflected shot trickled into the net in injury time to secure the win and send the travelling Villa fans wild.

i've never been a fan of Emile Heskey but he was absolutely collossal in this one. He lead the line superbly and his link up play was exceptional - a big reason why he earned an England recall. However the most impressive feature of his game was his ability in the air. I've seen quite a few games and top players over the years but I have never seen a player so dominant in the air. Heskey leaps were Michael Jordan-esque (pictured, top left) and not only did he win every single header but he would actually get up so high above his opponents that he could twist and adjust his body in such a way that every header went exactly where he wanted it to; he wasn't just flicking them on. James Milner was also excellent and played a huge part in earning his side the three points by scoring the opening goal.

My Pictures

Aston Villa (4-4-2):

1. Friedel
24. Cuellar (26. Gardner - 46 mins)
2. L. Young
15. Davies
16. Knight
8. Milner
19. Petrov
6. Barry
7. A. Young
11. Agbonlahor
18. Heskey (10. Carew - 70 mins)

Subs Not Used: 22. Guzan, 4. Sidwell, 14. Delfouneso, 17. Salifou, 21. Shorey.

Cuellar Knight Davies L. Young
Milner Petrov Barry A. Young
Heskey Agbonlahor

Blackburn: 1. Robinson, 2. Ooijer, 4. Samba, 6. Nelsen, 3. Warnock, 12. Pedersen, 11. Grella, 17. Andrews (5. Tugay - 46), 8. Dunn (18. Diouf - 46), 10. McCarthy, 30. Roberts (9. Roque Santa Cruz - 74).

Subs Not Used: 38. Bunn, 13. Khizanishvili, 19. Villanueva, 21. Givet .

Booked: McCarthy, Tugay.

My man of the match: Emile Heskey (Villa)

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket (click to enlarge)

Heroes And Villans Fanzine [Feb 2009]

BBC match report - match report - match report

The Sun match report