By Charlene Cole
Sunday 13 Apr 2008 17:28:02
Browse all Aston Villa FansOnline articles
On an afternoon in the East Midlands it was Villa who were the pride of Pride Park hammering a rock bottom Derby United in front of 33,036 fans.
Following on from last weeks sweet 4-0 victory over Bolton and in the run up to next Sunday's Derby with the Blues, Villa looked on top form and remain contenders for Europe.
The monumental Saturday game saw the Reds mark the day by bagging their most memorable and successful away win in the league in 37 years. Not since a 1971 victory in Division Three at Oldham Athletic have Villa celebrated such a big win away from home.
Six corners from Ashley Young, John Carew, Stiliyan Petrov, Gareth Barry. Gabriel Agbonlahor and last but not least Marlon Harewood added to the Rams nightmare who must have been relieved when the final whistle went.
Though Villa chief Martin O'Neill did praise the opposition when speaking to Setanta Sports in a post match interview saying: "We were great interestingly enough we probably had a bit of a stodgy start. Derby had nothing to lose and played some nice football early on."
In an unarguably one sided affair Villa dominated from kick off. Carew tested Roy Carroll after four minutes firing his effort at the former Man United keeper after meeting Young's low cross on the left.
Disaster nearly struck for Derby when Carroll brought goal wards Young's low cross on seven then Carew flicked towards goal Olof Mellberg's long ball.
Another attempt arose when Swedish international Mellberg headed straight at the keeper after connecting a Barry corner.
A rare chance for a down but not out Derby came on 12 when Laursen was left to clear a Lewis cross from the left which Jones then shot past the post.
Fighting on, a Bouma challenge was needed to deny Ghaly from just outside the box on 18. Villa were one up on 25 as a right wing free kick from Young escaped Carroll's clutches and found the back of the net.
The score sheet doubled only a minute later as Derby failed to clear Barry's cross from the left flank and Carew slotted a low drive from the edge of the box.
Petrov was the man to make it a treble on 36 with what's being touted as the goal of the season and made O'Neill comment: "Stiliyan Petrov's goal deserves a special mention. He was masterful all afternoon and his goal was just different class."
Petrov was there to pounce on Carroll's poor clearance, firing home from the edge of the centre circle.
Three minutes later Carew's low drive was cleared off the line as Derby's defence looked more and more endangered. In a rare role reversal Moore headed onto the roof of the net from Lewis' corner on the right wing on 43 wrapping up first half proceedings.
Ghaly wasted Derby's best chance to get off the mark after the break his low right footed shot from just out of the box went just wide of the post on 50.
Carroll did well to deny Barry increasing Villa's scoreline on 53 but it was second time lucky for the captain five minutes later netting as Carroll could not intercept Agbonlahors angled drive.
Down the opposing end Robert Earnshaw shot low from outside the box to an untroubled Carson on 59.
After the hour on 64 Laursen's header shot over the net as he rose to meet Young's corner on 64.
Carson superbly saw off Earnshaws threat on 75 as he masterfully dived to the right to intercept a potentially deadly 25 yard drive.
Villa were five ahead a minute later as Agbonlahor charged down the pitch to latch onto Carson's long clearance and slot home. As Villa were on the hunt to torment Derby more Agbonlahor back heeled inside the box straight to Carroll's possession.
On 83 Villa sub Berger fired marginally wide from the edge of the box. It was left to Harewood to add Villa's sixth and last and his second goal of the season when he met Bergers through ball and slotted past Carroll put the last nail in the coffin for the crushed homeside.
Salifou went in search of the magnificent seven to round up a memorable match but fired over the bar before full time. Soon after the ref put an end to an afternoon to forget for a defeated and relegated Derby side.
Derby manager Paul Jewell said of the match when speaking to BBC Sports: "It is difficult to accept a performance like this. We played well for the first 20 minutes but as soon as we concede a goal it is like a pack of cards and we just collapse.

It is a horrible situation we are in and it is uncomfortable. As soon as we face a bit of adversity we have not got enough leaders or men to get us through it." He added: "Once they scored the difference in class was huge." 

Whereas O'Neill said: "We played very well today. Derby started very brightly and we were playing second fiddle. But we got the goal and the whole game changed. There was plenty of confidence about the side but we had to work hard and try to get the ball back. Petrov played very well last week and recreated that today.

He concluded by saying: "We have got everything to play for still this season, but we can't make any mistakes. We need to give ourselves a chance."


Derby: Carroll, Todd (Earnshaw 54), Moore (Leacock 54), Stubbs, Lewis, Mears, Ghaly, Savage, Jones (McEveley 59), Villa, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Price, Feilhaber.


Aston Villa: Carson, Mellberg, Laursen, Knight, Bouma, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Barry (Salifou 80), Young (Berger 80), Carew (Harewood 73), Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Routledge.


Goals: Young 25, Carew 26, Petrov 36, Barry 58, Agbonlahor 76, Harewood 85.

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

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