In an early Sunday kickoff Aston Villa were up against local rivals Birmingham in what was sure to be a fierce and hard fought derby game. Birmingham have been on a terrible run of form recently whilst Aston Villa are still fighting for that fourth spot which is all but beyond their reach.
Neither sides are heavy goal-scorers and have offered up few goal-fests recently. Despite this, the exchanges seemed to be swaying in favour of goals (hoping for an open derby) which left the -2.5 Handicap bet ripe for the plucking.
The game was a fairly open affair as a few punters had hoped for but the goals didn’t start flying. Loanee Goalkeeper Joe Hart, recently expected to return to Man City, was a star in goal for Birmingham and played an impressive part in keeping Aston Villa out in the first half whilst Brad Friedel was also solid for Villa at the other end, with Birmingham on top in the second half.
Birmingham definitely deserved something from this game but with ten minutes to go, moments after another great Hart save from a Heskey chip, their hopes were smashed when Johnson brought down Agbonlahor in the box and a penalty was awarded – despite replays showing Johnson won the ball. James Milner stepped up confidentially and cooly converted the penalty to give Villa a late lead.
Birmingham mounted a late push but they couldn’t break Villa down and it was the Claret & Blue side of the city who won the bragging rights today.