• Date: Sun 25 April 2010
  • Venue: Villa Park
  • Ref: Atkinson, M
  • Attendance: 42,788

Aston Villa vs Birmingham City

Team Lineups

Aston Villa

Brad Friedel
Richard Dunne
Carlos Cuellar
Stephen Warnock
James Collins
Stewart Downing
Ashley Young, A
James Milner
Stiliyan Petrov
John Carew (Emile Heskey, 70)
Gabriel Agbonlahor

Birmingham City

Joe Hart
Stephen Carr
Liam Ridgewell
Roger Johnson
Gregory Vignal (Stuart Parnaby, 76)
Craig Gardner (Kevin Phillips, 86)
Lee Bowyer
Sebastian Larsson (Keith Fahey, 76)
Barry Ferguson
Cameron Jerome
James McFadden

Match Report
James Milner kept alive Aston Villa's hopes of Champions League football next season with a controversial 82nd minute penalty which clinched a 1-0 derby win over Birmingham City. It was Villa's sixth successive win over the Blues in the local derby clashes, but they had to work hard for this win. They had previously been denied by a superb display from Birmingham's goalkeeper, Joe Hart, who certainly enhanced his prospects of going to South Africa in England's World Cup squad with an outstanding performance. The win has placed them level on points with fourth placed Tottenham, but they have now played one game more than the London club. For long spells it appeared as if the game would end goalless until the 82nd minute when Gabby Agbonlahor was brought down by Roger Johnson in the area. As expected, the early exchanges involved some strong tackling particularly from a City side determined not to find themselves on the end of a heavy defeat like the 5-1 reverse they suffered when the teams last met at Villa Park. There were no real clear-cut chances from either side in the early stages, although Villa enjoyed most of the attacking play. Craig Gardner returned to Villa for the first time since his move in January and occupied his favoured midfield attacking role. Gregory Vignal was a late inclusion for the injured Scott Dann and the Frenchman coped well with the threat of Ashley Young. But it was goalkeeper Hart who really rose to the occasion and enhanced his growing reputation with two smart saves in quick succession from Stiliyan Petrov and Stewart Downing. Some slack play between Brad Friedel and Richard Dunne very nearly handed Birmingham a goal on a plate. Fortunately Friedel recovered to make a good save from Seb Larsson and seconds later he kept out a good effort from Gardner. Hart, who will not be recalled by Manchester City despite Shay Given's injury, again distinguished himself with a fantastic save to keep out a rasping shot from James Collins. Battling Birmingham kept at their task and the industrious Barry Ferguson put Jerome Cameron clear only for Friedel to save with his head. Following the rebound James McFadden's shot was deflected wide and from the corner Downing cleared Liam Ridgewell's header off the line. Not to be outdone Friedel again came to Villa's rescue to push away a Lee Bowyer effort as Birmingham surprisingly stepped up the pace in the second half. Villa manager Martin O'Neill sent on Emile Heskey for John Carew in an effort to liven up a goal-shy attack, but he too was thwarted by a save from Hart. The stalemate was finally broken by Milner's penalty when Hart, watched by England manager, Fabio Capello, and his goalkeeping coach, Ray Clemence, had no chance of saving the shot.
Live Text Commentary
Full time

Full Time: Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham. The final whistle goes and the bragging rights go the way of the fans in Claret. Milner's late spot kick gives Villa the three points despite a superb performance from Birmingham.


Time ticks away at Villa Park as Young holds the ball in the corner before winning his side a free-kick.


Four minutes of stoppage time. Birmingham still have time!


Villa seem to be on course for another derby win as we move into stoppage time but Birmingham will feel hard done by if they come away with this for nothing.


Stephen Carr gets to the byline and stands the ball up to the back post, its over the head of Phillips but Fahey meets it at the far post but he can only nod over the top.


Alex McLeish brings on his 'go-to guy' Kevin Phillips as he comes on for Craig Gardner.


ASTON VILLA 1-0 BIRMINHAM. Milner steps up with confidence and strikes the ball cleanly into the corner to put Villa ahead.

Yellow Card

Carr is also booked for trying to put off James Milner.

Yellow Card

Johnson is cautioned.


Agbonlahor skips into the box and goes past Johnson who dives in, perhaps gets a chunk of the ball but the referee still gives the penalty despite furious Birmingham protests.


Young whips the corner in and again Dunne meets it with a powerful header but it flies just over the top. Villa are all of a sudden alive.


Agbonlahor and Heskey link up and Heskey is free in the box and he lifts the ball over Hart but the keeper gets something on it and it somehow squirts wide of the post. What a chance and plenty on show to impress Capello in the stands.


Parnaby comes on to replace the verteran Vignal.


Fahey is on for Larsson who is clearly frustrated at being withdrawn.


A free-kick is awarded to Birmingham for a handball by Cuellar and Larsson whips it in but McFadden is just beaten to the ball by an outstretched Villa leg.


Aston Villa probe the Birmingham defence with a decent spell of possession in midfield but the visitor's defence holds firm and they twice clear downfield.


Carew comes off for Heskey in a like for like swap in the Villa attack.


Young delivers a free-kick from the right hand side and picks out Dunne arriving in the box but his header only finds the roof of the net.


Gardner's cross is headed down by Johnson at the back post and the ball breaks for Bowyer who seems to have the whole goal to aim at but Friedel scampers back across goal to make a stunning save.


Young skips away from two players in the midfield and looks to find Carew in the box but the cross is just too far infront of the Nowegian and the chance goes begging.


This one still hangs in the balance. Birmingham have certianly threatened more since the break but the pace of the dynamic Villa attack will always provide a threat on the break.


Petrov shows his class with some tidy footwork in the middle of the park and wins a free-kick that Villa take quickly but thye concede possession cheaply once again.


Excellent determination and hard work from Agbonlahor as he hassles Joe Hart after a back pass and forces the young keeper to concede a throw-in.

Yellow Card

Vignal is cautioned after a fairly reckless challenge on Milner. Petrov tries the spectacular from the free-kick with a long range effort but the strike whistles over the bar.


The subsequent free-kick is tossed into the danger area by Larsson but Friedel comes off his line to punch it clear and the attack comes to nothing.

Yellow Card

Cuellar is forced to bring down Jerome as the striker has him beaten down the flank. Birmingham are the dominant force since the break and Villa will have to do something to get back into the game.


The corner comes in and Ridgewell leaps to meet it and heads it down towards the corner, Friedel is well beaten but Downing does his job and clears off the post.


Gardner fizzes the ball across the box and finds Jerome but his low shot is stopped by Friedel. The rebound drops to McFadden who works the ball onto his left and squeezes it towards the corner but it is cleared off the line for a corner.


I'm pleased to say that the tempo of the game has not dropped since the break and both sides have come out on the attack.

Second half

The second half is underway. Surely its only a matter of time until the first goal comes.

Half time

Halftime: Aston Villa 0-0 Birmingham. An entertaining first half comes to a close and remains goalless largely thanks to outstanding performances from the two keepers. This derby is balanced on a knife edge!


Warnock is chopped down by Larsson but the Swede avoids a booking and its fair to say Chris Foy has had an excellent game so far. The set-piece is tossed into the box but the Blues defence easily clear.


Another long range strike tests Friedel but once again the keeper is up to the challenge as he gets a strong hand to Bowyer's long range strike.


The goalkeepers are keeping the scores level so far and Mancini will no doubt do everything in his power to get Joe Hart back with Shey Given needing shoulder surgery.


Young's corner is cleared as far as Warnock who turns it back into the box. The ball drops for Collins who smashes the ball towards goal but Joe Hart makes another superb reflex stop.


Gardner finds half a yard of space just outside the area and strikes for goal but Friedel makes a fine save and Villa break away to win a corner.


Friedel throws the ball out to Dunne but the Irishman makes a mess of it and gifts possession to Jerome who looks to find the corner with his snap shot but Friedel saves.


Its been an encapsulating encounter so far at Villa Park and Downing again looks to test Hart with a long range effort from the left hand side but Hart is able to beat away the swerving the shot.


Cuellar picks up on a weak clearance and slips the ball into Petrov who crafts himself a yard of space and unleashes a fierce shot towards the bottom corner but Hart gets down to make a superb save and hold the ball.


Young beats Vignal all ends up and takes on Bowyer but the experienced midfielder blocks the tackle but concedes a corner. Downing's corner wins another on the other side but again the set-piece is wasted to the dismay of Martin O'Neill.


The resulting corner is cleared to Agbonlahor and he roars forward with pace and breaks into the box but Carr keeps his composure and makes a fine interception.


Larsson powers the resulting free-kick goalbound but it strikes Petrov in the face, while the midfileder is down the visitors continue and Vignal forces Friedel to turn the ball over.


Strong play from Carew as he holds the ball up on the right and finds Milner in the middle who looks to strike from range but is closed down by three Blues defenders. Jerome leads the counter and wins a free-kick from Cuellar to relieve the pressure.


Downing and Young link up on the left and side and the latter whips the ball in with venom but Hart cathces without any challenge.


Milner picks the ball up and slips the ball into Agbonlahor early but as he races into the channel he is shut down by a perfectly timed challenge by Ridgewell.


First real chance of the game goes the way of the visitors as Bowyer and Jerome play a neat one two before Bowyer slips in Larsson who rounds Friedel but then skews the ball wide from a tight angle on his weaker side. That's a wasted opportunity.


Every Villa fan's heart was in their mouth then as Collins' slip appeared to set Jerome through on goal but the striker is denied by the offside flag. That was a close call for the assistant but one he got right.


Both Gardner and Ridgewell have crossed from Claret to Blue sides of the city and the latter is involved as he shows his strength to usher the ball out of play under pressure from Carew.


Bowyer sets the tone with another crunching tackle but the ball ricochets in behind the Birmingham defence and Agbonlahor races to meet it but Hart gets there first.


First effort on goal comes from James Collins as the ball drops to him from a dinked Petrov set-piece. The effort is directed back across goal by the centre-half but Hart gathers comfortably.


The first Birmingham touch of the ball is met by a rapture of jeers from the home fans.


Chris Foy is the man in charge of this potentially firey encounter and he gets us underway.

Awaiting Kickoff

Birmingham are without a win in seven, a run which has seen them slip down the table to ninth but they are still on for a top half finish with a few decent results. Jerome is partnered by McFadden but Scott Dann is missing replaced by VIgnal.

Awaiting Kickoff

Villa are in good form and with neither Spurs or City winning yesterday three points today could send them into a tie for fourth. Carew continues up front along side Agbonlahor in an unchanhged Villa side from the win over Pompey last time out.

Awaiting Kickoff

Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Johnson, Ridgewell, Vignal, Larsson, Gardner, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome

Awaiting Kickoff

Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Downing, Petrov, Milner, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Carew

Awaiting Kickoff

It's derby day! The Second City Derby is less than half an hour away and both sets of fans will be desperate for a victory over their rivals and the anticipation in the crowd is almost tangible.