Game #4838 

Season | 2003-04 |

Matchday | #36 |
League Game | #29 |
Premier League Match-week | #28 |  
Manager Game | #36 |
Saturday, 20 March 2004
Premier League | Home | Blackburn Rovers | Villa Park | 37,532 | 

Game Summary

Manager | David O’Leary | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Andy D’ Urso | 

HT Score | 0-2 |
FT Score | 0-2 |

FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | WDLWL | 

League Position | 8th | - |

Line Up |

GK Thomas Sörensen |
RB Ulises de la Cruz |
CB Olof Mellberg |
CB Liam Ridgewell |
FB Jlloyd Samuel |
M Gareth Barry |
SUB OFF | 29' |
M Lee Hendrie |
M Thomas Hitzlsperger |
F Darius Vassell | 
SUB OFF | 81' |
W Nolberto Solano | SUB OFF | 46' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel |

Substitutes |

W Peter Whittingham for M Gareth Barry | 29’ |
F Luke Moore for W Nolberto Solano | 46’ | 
CF Peter Crouch for F Darius Vassell | 81’ | 

Unused Substitutes |

GK Stefan Postma 
CF Dion Dublin

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 25.45 | 

Oldest Player | RB Ulises de la Cruz | 29.64 |

Youngest Player | CB Liam Ridgewell | 19.68 |

Match Report

The Guardian

Monday, 22 March, 2004

Match report by Adrian Milledge

Rovers are Souness mended

Graeme Souness eating humble pie and a prestigious trophy bearing claret-and-blue ribbons were just two ingredients in a cocktail of wonders at Villa Park on Saturday. 

Almost as unlikely before kick-off had been the prospect of a Blackburn side riven with internecine strife and threatened with relegation beating a buoyant Aston Villa who had the whiff of Europe in their nostrils.

The Rovers strikers Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke had arrived in the wake of some very public criticism of Souness’s management methods. Yet at the end, after Rovers had completed an untroubled win to strengthen their Premiership foothold, the pair were left to restore their toys to the pram after Souness reclaimed the high ground with an apology. “I am far from blameless in terms of what has gone on in the last seven days,” he said. 

If that was an unlikely occurrence, then how about the name of the Rovers striker Jonathan Stead alongside those of Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer at the top of the Premiership’s scoring charts? 

Stead has scored 21 goals this season, 18 of them for Third Division Huddersfield Town before he moved to Rovers in January. 

“The goalscoring charts do look good from my point of view,” he said. “It’s a bit surreal really. At the moment it is going well but I won’t get carried away, however nice it looks. Obviously I want to be up there on merit one day.” 

The seamless transition Stead has made to life in the Premiership suggests he may well be: his expertly executed goal following Gary Flitcroft’s opener took his tally to three in four games for Rovers. 

For the home side not even the sight of Jim Lewis, the Villa-supporting owner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate, parading the trophy at half-time could inspire a line-up shorn of experience and supplemented by colts. 

Villa were already missing Gavin McCann, Ronnie Johnsen and Mark Delaney when Gareth Barry went off because he was unwell and then Nobby Solano pulled a hamstring. 

It left Villa’s manager David O’Leary with no option but to turn to his youngsters, with Liam Ridgewell making his full debut and Luke Moore and Peter Whittingham later pitched into a largely one-sided contest. 

“You saw the formation by the end of the match,” said the Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel. “We had a lot of youngsters on the pitch and the midfield hardly had a player over the age of 21. We have got some good youngsters but we need more experienced players to come in if you want to be in the top six.” 

In the meantime Angel is prepared to try to lessen the problem by asking Colombia to let him play in next Saturday’s game against Charlton Athletic. 

Colombia are due to play a World Cup qualifier against Peru on Wednesday week and Angel hopes to be given permission to report a day late. 

“I plan to speak to the Colombian coach and persuade him that I need to play against Charlton and then catch a plane on Sunday,” added Angel.