Aston Villa 3 Portsmouth 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 06 November 2004

Aston Villa made light of their injury problems to hammer Pompey into submission and inflict Portsmouth's first defeat in six games with an impressive display of finishing power.

Villa produced only their second win in eight games but there was little doubt about the outcome after Peter Whittingham opened his goalscoring account in the 18th minute.

Portsmouth were seemingly deflated by this goal and slowly crumpled as Villa, in turn, gained in confidence to destroy the South Coast club.

Juan Pablo Angel, who is now back to his best form, added a spectacular second goal after 25 minutes to give Villa the upper hand as Portsmouth struggled to get into contention.

But the killer blow so far as Portsmouth was concerned occurred five minutes before the break when Nobby Solano notched a third goal to put the game out of the reach of their opposition.

Villa manager, David O'Leary, said: "I would have liked to have seen more goals in the second half instead of seeing the side just sail through the second half.

"We started well and the passing and movement was really good. I was delighted with how we played and it is a win which has pushed us up the table." Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, was philosophical about the defeat. He admitted: "Villa were the better team and they deserved their win.

Villa Park has not been one of Portsmouth's happy hunting grounds over the years with Pompey losing nine of the previous ten games in the West Midlands.

But on the back of their impressive win over Manchester United at Fratton Park a week ago they were in a confident mood at the start of their latest encounter but they were effectively snuffed out by emphatic Villa.

Villa's attacking policy, which is always encouraged by O'Leary, was to be a telling factor in a crucial seven minute spell midway through the first half.

With Gavin McCann strong in midfield Villa were always potentially the more dangerous and this was duly reflected when their persistence play was justifiably rewarded with two quick goals which killed off any hopes of Portsmouth winning their first away game of the season.

The turning point occurred in the 18th minute when Villa's strong attack finally won its reward. Carlton Cole produced a right-wing cross which enabled Angel to cleverly out-fox the Portsmouth defence by stepping over the ball.

As a result the pass eluded all the Portsmouth defenders and Whittingham, running in from the left, had a simple task of tapping the ball home from close range for his first goal of the season.

This goal definitely lifted Villa's morale and they suddenly played with more confidence and assurance which was reflected when they increased their well merited lead in the 25th minute through Angel.

The Colombian international turned the bemused Dejan Stefanovic and fired an accurate cross shot into the far corner of the net for his fifth goal in eight games.

Portsmouth were then chasing the game and appeared to have little answer to the Villa's attacking pressure as was observed in the 40th minute when the unfortunate Stefanovic deflected a Cole pass into the path of Solano.

The former Newcastle winger quickly capitalised upon the gift by cleverly lobbing the ball into the far corner from an identical position which Angel scored his goal.

This goal forced Redknapp to retreat to the dug-out for five minutes to gather his thoughts on the complete domination of his team.

Their plight could have been even worse just before the break when Lee Hendrie, who had scored four times in five league games, fired in a long-range shot which Shaka Hislop hurriedly saved.

Leading by three goals enabled Villa to relax their grip and they were not so dominant as in the first period.

However, Portsmouth were unable to lift their own game and were always kept well at bay by a solid Villa backline.

Man of the Match: Nobby Solano - Played with quiet efficiency to mastermind the win, was always a major threat besides scoring the third goal which put the game out of Portsmouth's reach.

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