Villa fall to Derby dream
Derby County 2 Rowett 21, Van der Laan 36 Aston Villa 1 Joach im 84 Attendance: 18,071
Sunday 13 April 1997
A test of Villa's resilience was always on the cards. Their eyes are firmly fixed on Europe but they faced a Derby team whose recent form has not been that of a side looking over its shoulder at the other end of the division, a fact to which Manchester United will testify.
Furthermore, Derby had beaten Villa as convincingly as any this season when they met in the FA Cup in January, a memory Derby brought home forcibly by establishing their superiority within the opening 35 minutes.
Both their goals were created by Dean Sturridge, a player of growing stature who demonstrated that there is more to his game then simply putting the ball in the net, even though he is Derby's leading goal scorer.
The striker carved out the first by cleverly beating Villa's Fernando Nelson on the left before delivering a perfect cut-back to Gary Rowett at the far post. Derby's wing-back had not scored previously but put his chance away as if he does so every week.
The second brought even more praise for Sturridge, who dispossessed Gareth Southgate deep in his own half and then, repelling the England defender's attempts to win the ball back, had the vision to see Robin Van der Laan taking up a good position on the right, supplying his colleague with a precision pass.
The Derby captain did not waste his opportunity, cutting inside one defender before placing the ball beyond Michael Oakes's reach with a fine left- foot strike.
Had Villa made more of their openings, of which Dwight Yorke missed two and Savo Milosevic another, Derby's wings might have been clipped. In truth, however, the result was an entirely just one and substitute Julian Joachim's late reply little more than consolation.
To make the day worse for Villa, the Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich earned himself a likely fine after his reaction to his manager Brian Little's decision to keep faith with understudy Oakes, despite Bosnich's return to fitness after injury. Little confirmed that Bosnich left the ground without watching the match.
Latest in Sport
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Chelsea make £16m bid for Douglas Costa, Fabian Delph to join Liverpool or Spurs, Sergio Ramos latest
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? And full card
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista fee agreed as Gunners make £13.5m bid to sign Villarreal defender - reports
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...