Aston Villa (a) Premier Reserve League
3 mins Ramage header 1-0
Half time: Aston Villa 3 Newcastle 1
Full time: Aston Villa 3 Newcastle 1
Tommy Craig said about the sending off:
"The incident was unfortunate to say the least. Yet there was no signs of any bad feeling or animosity between any of the players before that."
Villa went 11 points clear after this win:
"As long as we are up there we will try and keep chipping away at their lead. There is still half the season to go and we certainly haven't given up the ghost.
"To be fair, Villa were clearly the better side but I was still pleased with our work-rate."
Villa keeper Stefan Postma said this:"The run has been unbelievable. We’ve got some outstanding players at that level and they showed that once again last night.
"As well as the young players, we have the odd experienced player and Mous [Hadji] was amazing.
"I think it shows a lot of character for him to produce the goods in the reserves, because he’s used to playing in front of big crowds. That just shows his quality.
"It was a big game, they are second in the league and now we can see where we stand. It was a very good game.
"I think we started very well and then gave the goal away, but then we came back and I think we should have scored five or six.
"We’ve been behind before and we’re just so strong mentally at the moment that we just pull together if we go a goal down."
Andy Griffin and Mark Kinsella re-enacted a scene from the 1970's, as Premier reserve league leaders Villa extended their unbeaten league record to fifteen matches at Walsall's Bescot Stadium on Tuesday night.
Memories of Franny Lee and Norman Hunter exchanging blows came flooding back as Griff and Kinsella let fly with fists flailing on the far touchline.
It's to be hoped that the man dressed as a downhill skier behind the camera lens at the back of the stand was able to capture the moment for future generations of .cock subscribers to savour.
This has to be in some doubt as the camera operator juggled his mobile, made notes and tried to operate the camera with whatever appendage he had spare....
The night had got off to a good start for Tommy Craig's lads when Peter Ramage headed home a 3rd minute corner to give United the lead.
Moustapha Hadji ensured that the advantage was short-lived with a stunning free-kick just five minutes later after Gary Caldwell had been penalised.
Then up stepped Jamie McClen to be this year's Santa Claus, bearing many gifts as he first gave the ball away in midfield for Luke Moore to give Villa the lead after being played in on the left side of the box by Steven Foley.
Then a McClen miscue from a corner almost gave Villa a third but the goal was chalked off for an infringement in the box. But not to be denied Jamie once again made a mess of a flick in midfield to enable Peter Hynes to run into the box and finish powerfully.
This all happened in the first 35 minutes of an entertaining and high quality first half.
Things quietened down a little after the break that was until the 64th minute when Andy Griffin reacted fiercely to a challenge by Villa full-back James O'Connor. In stepped Kinsella and all hell broke loose as the two slugged it out like a pair of bare-knuckle backstreet brawlers.
Players from both sides got involved and some seemed to be trying to do a little more than part the sparring duo. The duellists were inevitably both red-carded although ref M.Russell seemed happy enough not to wave any further cards at the other protagonists.
Thankfully the Lee/Hunter similarities didn't continue as each departed separately but panto season came early; Kinsella left the pitch removing his shirt Bremner/Keegan style while Griffin departed with Villa keeper Stefan Postma circling his temple with a forefinger in a 'crazy' gesture to Griffin. Postma had himself charged 60 yards out of his goal to join in the altercations....
Both sides went close to adding to the score with Hadji hitting the bar and racing half the pitch only for Adam Bartlett to smother at his feet.
At the other end Carl Cort missed from five yards out and substitute Richard Offiong wasted a good opportunity in the final minute of normal time.