RJ DEMELLO - Monday, September 15, 2014
Brad Guzan and the Aston Villa defense once again came up big, while Brek Shea started his loan to Birmingham off the right way over the weekend.
Nottingham Forest 1 - 1 Derby
Eric Lichaj and Forest let all three points slip through their fingers as Derby scored a late equalizer to share the points in this intense derby match.
Lichaj started yet again in defense and played the entire game.
The first half wasn't filled with goals but rather yellow cards as the two rivals challenged hard from the start.
Nottingham took the lead through summer signing Britt Assombalonga's shot from 12 yards out in the 72nd minute.
Derby threw everything forward and was rewarded eight minutes later when Leon Best scrambled the ball over the line to tie the game.
Despite a sending off of Derby's Jake Buxton in the 87th minute, Forest was unable to grab a winner and shared the points.
The tie keeps the team in sole possession of first place in the Championship with 14 points from six matches.
Up next is a visit on Wednesday from cellar-dwellers Fulham.
Birmingham City 1 - 1 Leeds United
Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, and Birmingham showed a lot of promise on Saturday, but in the end had to settle for the draw against Leeds.
Shea got the start and was very active in his 67 minutes on the field, even assisting on the Blues goal. Spector came off the bench in the 79th minute to try and calm things down after the Leeds equalizer.
It didn't take long for Shea to acclimate with his new team for the next three months, stinging the Leeds goalie Marco Silvestri's hands with a long distance shot in the eighth minute.
Birmingham deservedly went ahead in the 37th minute thanks to a cool finish from Wes Thomas. Shea got the ball on the left and drove a ball into the box hard and low that Thomas latched on to and with his second touch, fired the ball into the top right corner.
Leeds picked it up in the second half and grabbed the tying goal through Alex Mowatt in the 76th minute, thanks in large part to a Birmingham defensive blunder.
The draw for the Blues now sees the team on six points from six games so far this season, good enough for 20th place in the table.
A quick turnaround for Birmingham now as the team hosts Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday.
Aston Villa 1 - 0 Liverpool
It wasn't pretty, but Brad Guzan and Aston Villa went into Anfield and came out with all three points against last year's runners up Liverpool.
Guzan started, played 90 minutes, and only had to make one save in the victory.
Liverpool dominated the game with 74 percent possession and 18 shots, but in just a truly horrific strike rate only one of those shots was on target.
Aston Villa also only had one shot on target, but the team from Birmingham made it count. Gabriel Agbonlahor scuffed in a loose ball in the box off of a corner kick in the ninth minute to steal the win for Villa.
Now with 10 points from four games Aston Villa sits in second place in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Chelsea.
It doesn't get any easier for Guzan and company next week, as the club returns home to host Arsenal on Saturday.
Tim Howard started and went the distance for Everton in the club's 2-0 win over West Brom.
Jozy Altidore dressed but didn't play in Sunderland's 2-2 draw against Tottenham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes for Bolton in the team's 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
Emerson Hyndman started, played 45 minutes, and received a yellow card in Fulham's stinging 3-0 defeat to Reading.
Geoff Cameron missed out on Stoke's 1-0 loss to Leicester City due to a recent hernia operation that should see him out for some time.
Brad Friedel was not in the team for Tottenham's 2-2 tie with Sunderland as Michel Vorm looks to be the backup moving forward.
Duane Holmes didn't make the team in Huddersfield's 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough.
Danny Williams remains sidelined with a knee injury and thus played no part in Reading's 3-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday.