Game #4753

Season | 2001-02 |

Matchday | #47 |

League Game | #36 |
Premier League Match-week | #35 |  

Manager Game | #11 |

Saturday, 20 April 2002

Premier League | Away | Leicester City | Filbert Street | 18,125 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Graham Taylor | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Graham Poll | 

HT Score | 2-1 |
FT Score | 2-2 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | LDLLD | 

Scorers | Darius Vassell | 22’ | Thomas Hitzlsperger | 27’ |
Assists | Peter Crouch | 22’ | Steve Staunton 27’ |

League Position | 10th | - |

Line Up |

GK Peter Enckelman | 
FB Jlloyd Samuel |
 SUB OFF | 80' |
FB Mark Delaney | 
LB Steve Staunton | 
ASSIST | 27' |
CB Olof Mellberg | 
M Thomas Hitzlsperger | 
GOAL | 27' |
M George Boateng | 
M Gareth Barry | 
M Steve Stone | 
F Darius Vassell |
GOAL | 22' | SUB OFF | 80' |
CF Peter Crouch | ASSIST | 22' |

Substitutes |

M Hassan Kachloul for F Darius Vassell | 80’ | 

F Boško Balaban FINAL | for FB Jlloyd Samuel | 80’ |

Unused Substitutes |

M Lee Hendrie
CF Juan Pablo Ángel 
GK Boaz Myhill

 On this day 20 April 2002 

The career of one of the strangest signings in Villa's history came to an end. Bert Kingaby (1905-06) and Gary Penrice (1991-92) had been odd signings but Boško Balaban took this to another level. What made the Balaban case more concerning than curious were allegations about fees and funds not tying up and claims of mystery beneficiaries of a transfer that was as ill-suited as it was overpriced. Three signings of this ilk in 115 years was probably not bad going but in a surprising turn of events they became a far more regular occurrence over the following decade. Graham Taylor and his successors David O'Leary, Martin O'Neill and Paul Lambert all made signings - some more than once - who rivalled Balaban in mystifying observers and who were clearly out of their depth in the top flight. Over the following decade Michael Boulding (Taylor), Eric Djemba Djemba (O'Leary), Moustapha Salifou and Habib Beye (O'Neill) and Joe Bennett and Jordan Bowery (Lambert) confounded the footballing world and led many to question the judgement of successive Villa bosses.

Match Report

The Guardian

Monday, 22 April, 2002

Match report by Adrian Milledge

Crouch happy as Villa’s tallest story 

Typical. Even with Leicester City already consigned to the Nationwide League, Aston Villa were unable to record their first victory at Filbert Street for 15 years.

Coincidentally that success had proved the first win of Graham Taylor’s first spell as Villa manager. That this latest and last visit to a ground that awaits the demolition ball this summer did not produce the second of his second coming was not for the want of trying by Peter Crouch

Before kick-off the Leicester manager Micky Adams pondered how his defence would counter the aerial threat posed by the 6ft 7in striker. In the event it was Crouch’s ability to keep the ball in check at the end of his mightily effective legs that taxed the home defence. That he did not crown an excellent display with a goal was due only to a blinding save by Leicester’s Ian Walker in the dying minutes. 

Clearly, and unlike his fellow Villa strikers Juan Pablo Angel and Bosko Balaban, Crouch has had little difficulty in adjusting to the Premiership or settling in at the club. “I love it here and have had no problems in getting to know my team-mates or playing in the Premiership,” he said. 

Taylor will no doubt hope that the same will be true for the Swedish international striker Marcus Allback, who yesterday said he was likely to move to Villa from the Dutch club Heerenveen next month for £2m. 

Villa twice took the lead on Saturday. Walker was first beaten when Crouch set up Darius Vassell to guide a right-footed cross inside the far post. Then Villa’s second proved that Thomas Hitzlsperger, an impressive and primarily left-footed teenage midfielder, can also use his right to good effect. 

And just as Crouch and Hitzlsperger augur well for Villa’s future, Matthew Piper, Jon Stevenson and Jon Ashton promise much for Leicester. “They are the future and we’re very excited about them,” said Adams. 

Piper continued to impress as did the even less experienced Jon Stevenson, who, despite looking like the City mascot when standing alongside Crouch, scored the hosts’ second equaliser. 

The more experienced Muzzy Izzet had been responsible for the first, converting the penalty after Jlloyd Samuel had fouled Lee Marshall. And it was two who should have known better - Villa’s George Boateng and Paul Dickov of City - who ensured a keenly but fairly fought game ended on an unacceptable note. 

Dickov’s challenge on Boateng after the final whistle resulted in the City forward losing a boot and the aggrieved Dutch midfielder tossing the footwear towards a stand. Mirroring much of Villa’s finishing, Boateng’s throw hit the roof but that is unlikely to prevent the FA from taking action against him. 

*Man of the match* : Peter Crouch (Aston Villa).