Game #3609

Season | 1979-80 |

Matchday | #24 |
League Match-week | #20 |

Manager Game | #285 |
Wednesday, 19 December 1979

Football League | Division One | Home | Coventry City | Villa Park | 24,446 |

Game Summary

Manager | Ron Saunders |

Referee | Joe Worrall, Warrington |

FT Result | Won |
FT Score | 3-0 |

Last 5 Games | DDLWW |

Scorers | Terry Donovan | 8' | Brian Little | 51' | +1 |

Line Up |

GK Jimmy Rimmer |

RB Kenny Swain |

CB Ken McNaught |

CD Brendan Ormsby |

M Colin Gibson |

M Gordon Cowans |

M Des Bremner |

M Terry Bullivant |

F Brian Little | GOAL | 51' | GOAL |

F Gary Shaw |

F Terry Donovan | DEBUT | GOAL | 8' |

Unused Substitute |

W Tony Morley |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 23.76 | 

Oldest Player | GK Jimmy Rimmer | 31.88 |

Youngest Player | F Gary Shaw | 18.09 |

On this day 19 December 1979

Forward Terry Donovan made a goalscoring debut for Villa after moving from Grimsby Town in September 1979 for a fee of £90,000

Match Report


*Thursday 20 December 1979*
*Birmingham Daily Post*

Devastating Little floors Coventry 


Brian Little scored two magnificent second - half solo goals to carry Aston Villa through to a handsome victory over West Midland rivals Coventry City at Villa Park last night.


Little, whose £600,000 transfer to Birmingham City fell through in the summer because of a back complaint, was in devastating form.


He completely destroyed Coventry's square defence. running determinedly into the penalty area before finishing in the classical style.


Little might well have rounded off the evening with a hat-trick, producing a brilliant save from goalkeeper Les Sealey in the 72nd minute after yet another penetrating run.


His first goal, after 51 minutes, was a typically individual effort. He collected the ball from midfield after Terry Bullivant had won a challenge with Tommy Hutchison and he rifled his shot under Sealey's body as the 'keeper advanced off his line.


Little's second goal, which doubled his scoring tally over the last fourteen months, was even better.




Gordon Cowans beat Hutchison in an aerial challenge in the centre circle and the diminutive striker then raced clear for 45 yards before again hitting a right. foot shot past Sealey into net.


Villa, who moved into fifth place in the First Division table by virtue of this impressive win, had the best possible start against their local rivals with Terry Donovan scoring a smart eighth minute headed goal on his debut.


Donovan's goal. from a leftwing corner by Cowans, set the seal on a quite magical night for Villa - a night when they did everything right.


They might well have doubled the score, but for some inspired goalkeeping by Sealey, who somehow contrived to keep the score down when his side were in danger of being over-run.


The Sky Blues were just not in Villa's class, often looking very pedestrian as they were beaten to the ball in almost every incident.


The key to Villa's victory, forgetting Little's opportunism, was in midfield, where Bremner, Bullivant and Cowan! dictated the pattern of play. 

It was a game which Coventry will want to forget quickly. Young defender Gary Gillespie was the only player to emerge with any credit. He at least endeavoured to stem the tide, but his colleagues were hopelessly in disarray as Villa convincingly commanded the proceedings.


Late tackles


Steve Hunt and Jim Holton were both booked for late tackles and Holton's caution means that he will now have to race an F.A. disciplinary commission for exceeding 20 disciplinary points.


Villa could not be faulted in any department. The whole team played with purpose and positive determination which augers extremely well for the New Year. 

Donovan did exceptionally well on his First Division debut causing Coventry's defence all manner of problems with his powerful challenges.


It was difficult to pick out Villa's best player because all 11 played extremely well. But both full-backs, Colin Gibson and Ken Swain, contributed to Villa's all-out attacks to cause panic in the Coventry defence every time Villa had possession.


It was really Little's game, however, as the exciting Geordie turned in one of his best performances for at least three seasons.