Game #3587

Season | 1979-80 |

Matchday | #2 |
League Match-week | #2 |
Manager Game | #263 |

Wednesday, 22 August 1979

Football League | Division One | Home | Brighton & Hove Albion | Villa Park | 28,803 |

Game Summary

Manager | Ron Saunders |

FT Result | Won |

FT Score | 2-1 |
Last 5 Games | LLWDW |

Scorers | Allan Evans | 14' (pen) | Tony Morley | 66' |

Line Up |

GK Jimmy Rimmer |

RB Kenny Swain |

D Allan Evans | GOAL | 14' |

CB Ken McNaught |

M Colin Gibson |

M Gordon Cowans |

M Tony Morley | GOAL | 66' |

M Alex Cropley | SUB OFF | 9' | FINAL |

M Gary Shelton |

F John Deehan |

F Brian Little |

Substitute |

M Lee Jenkins FINAL | for M Alex Cropley | 9' |

Unavailable |

M Dennis Mortimer |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 24.52 | 

Oldest Player | GK Jimmy Rimmer | 31.55 |

Youngest Player | M Colin Gibson | 19.39 |

On this day 22 August 1979

Midfielder Alex Cropley made his final appearance for Villa aged 28 before moving on to Portsmouth on a free transfer in September 1981. Villa had signed Cropley from Arsenal in September 1976 for a fee of £125,000 and he went on to play for Villa between 1976-77 and 1979-80 making 84 appearances and scoring 7 goals.
18 year old Midfielder Lee Jenkins made his 3rd and final appearance for Villa before moving on to Port Vale in November 1980.

Match Report


*Thursday 23 August 1979*
*Birmingham Daily Post*


Morley puts Brighton on the rocks

Tony Morley, Aston Villa's new £200,000 winger from Burnley, marked his Villa Park debut by scoring the winning goal against First Division newcomers Brighton last night to clinch a closely fought battle.


Morley scored his decisive goal in the 66th minute to take Villa through to a somewhat fortuitous victory after they had been thoroughly tested by their lively opponents.


For long periods Brighton played the more dangerous and inventive football without being quite able to take advantage of Villa's often indecisive defensive work.


But Morley, the crowd pleasing and speedy individual, settled the issue with a superbly struck right-foot shot from Gordon Cowans' quickly taken free kick after Brian Little had been floored on the edge of the penalty area by centre-half Andy Rollings.


Villa, who had earlier taken the lead with a 14th minute penalty from Allan Evans after Little had been chopped down by Mark Lawrenson, found the lively Brighton side a rare handful.


Teddy Maybank hit a smart equaliser seconds before the interval after Villa's defensive offside tap had been exposed by John Gregory to even the first-half affairs.


In fact, Villa might well have been adrift at the interval, but for some superb goalkeeping by Jimmy Rimmer as Brighton threatened to outplay them with their determined running and sharp-shooting.


Rimmer twice had to make diving saves to tip away tierce shots from Peter Sayer and Peter O'Sullivan with his defence at full stretch.


Villa, who had again left out their transfer-seeking internationals, Andy Gray and John Gidman, often struggled as Brighton endeavoured to make an impact in their first season in the First Division.


The South coast side were clearly determined to forget the memory of their 4-0 defeat by Arsenal last Saturday and they played with purpose and decision.


Villa were seldom allowed to express any positive ideas and they took the lead somewhat luckily after Lawrenson had indiscreetly moved across the penalty area to bring down the darting Little.


It was a clear penalty and Evans made no mistake with his spot kick. But apart from one flashing header from John Deehan. this was the only time that Villa really posed a threat to the Brighton goal.


Brighton's equaliser came as Villa's back four failed to compose its offside trap efficiently and Maybank scored quite comfortably from an acute angle.


The second-half saw Villa playing with slightly more authority although their midfield was again found to be wanting in ideas. Their plans were clearly upset by an early injury to Alex Cropley who had to leave the field after only nine minutes with a jarred ankle.


They missed the experience and influence of skipper Dennis Mortimer. who had failed a fitness check shortly before the game. But there was no definite rhythm to Villa's overall play and they showed an alarming tendency to panic before a very well drilled Brighton side.