Not all clarets are of vintage quality, as Aston Villa and Burnley proved in this Carling Cup third-round tie last night. David O'Leary's side had Kevin Phillips to thank for scoring the winner in a mind-numbing affair.
Any watching neutrals in Villa Park would have wanted to shake Phillips' hand too, since extra time would have been too much to bear.
"Kevin is a match-winner," said Villa's assistant manager, Roy Aitken. "That is why we brought him here. When you have Kevin in that situation, you know that nine times out of 10 it will lead to a goal."
Steve Cotterill, the Burnley manager, lamented: "We gave the wrong person the chance to score."
The Villa manager, O'Leary, brought Juan Pablo Angel Gavin McCann and Mark Delaney into the side as Villa looked to avenge last season's 3-1 Carling Cup defeat. Micah Hyde, suspended, was missing for Burnley. The Midlanders made a positive start - Angel was crowded out then Steven Davis glanced a header just off target.
The Championship side made life difficult for Villa with massed ranks behind the ball - "We had to be tactical in the first half," Cotterill said - but after 22 minutes Phillips scored his third goal of the season. Angel released the 32-year-old who exchanged passes with Milner before slotting a low shot past Brian Jensen into the corner of the net.
Into the second half, Phillips had a shot on the turn saved by Jensen before the unimpressive Angel - a target for fans' criticism - made way for Luke Moore with 15 minutes left. The youngster then produced a strong run that ended with Jensen parrying his drive.
Burnley had just one shot on target, a tame overhead kick from Akinbiyi. Yet they staged a grandstand - though several of them were half-empty - finish and substitute Daniel Karbassiyoon had a close-range shot deflected for a corner, but Villa held on to book their place in the last 16.
Aston Villa: Sorensen; Delaney, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Milner, McCann, Davis, Barry, Angel (Moore 78), Phillips. Substitutes not used: Taylor (gk), Djemba-Djemba, De la Cruz, Berger.
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Sinclair, Lowe, Harley, Elliott (Karbassiyoon 78), James O'Connor, Gareth O'Connor, Spicer (Noel-Williams 74), McCann (Courtney 90), Akinbiyi. Substitutes not used: Crossley (gk), Pugh.
Referee: U Rennie (Yorkshire)Reuse content