YNWA takes a look back at past memorable away League meetings as we visit Aston Villa for the 87th time in the League on Sunday. Our all-time League record in the Midlands is fairly good, reading 27 wins, 21 draws and 38 defeats to date.
We lost in our final game of the season last May, with future red Stewart Downing netting the only goal. In December 2009, Fernando Torres struck the only goal of our game in injury time, his fiftieth League goal, in his 72nd game, a new club record. David N'Gog made his reds bow as a substitute for the injured Torres in a goalless draw in August 2008, with Robbie Keane again drawing a blank.
Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin all made their first-class reds bows in our season opener in August 2007 as a late Steven Gerrard free-kick secured a 2-1 win. This ensured that we became the fourth team to pass a thousand points in the Premier League, reaching 1,002, and was the first ever live Premiership match shown on Setanta Sports. We had taken the lead through a Martin Laursen own goal before Jamie Carragher gave away a penalty that Gareth Barry converted.
Pepe Reina kept his fiftieth clean sheet for the reds in March 2007, in his 93rd outing, as we were held to a goalless draw in a lifeless match. Steven Gerrard played his 300th reds game in November 2005, converting a late penalty with Xabi Alonso then also scoring as we won 2-0.
Other recent reds debutants
Nicolas Anelka made his reds debut on Boxing Day 2001 as we won 2-1, with goals from Jari Litmanen, gifted to him by Peter Schmeichel, and Vladimír Šmicer. Jari also hit a spot-kick against the post. Torben Piechnik debuted in September 1992 as we lost 4-2, with ex-Villain Mark Walters and Ronnie Rosenthal on target as ex-red Dean Saunders struck twice on his home debut.
Brad Friedel made his reds bow in a 2-1 defeat in February 1998, as an early Michael Owen penalty was cancelled out by ex-red Stan Collymore's brace in John Gregory's first game as Villa boss. Eleven years earlier, John Aldridge debuted in our 2-2 draw as a substitute for goalscorer Craig Johnston, with Paul Walsh also netting and Mark Lawrenson putting through his own net. Winger Jimmy Carter made his reds bow as a substitute for Ronnie Rosenthal in our goalless draw in January 1991.
Trebles for and against
Robbie Fowler bagged a hat-trick in our 4-2 win over Villa in November 1998, who were unbeaten in their opening twelve League fixtures, their most successful ever start to a League campaign, to secure Gérard Houllier's first win in sole charge. Dion Dublin scored twice and had a penalty saved by David James, with Stan Collymore sent off for shoving Michael Owen. Inside-left Ronald Orr scored on his reds debut in April 1908, but could not prevent us succumbing 5-1, with Joe Bache grabbing a hat-trick.
Ian Rush scored a hat-trick past the young Nigel Spink on a frozen pitch in January 1984 as we came from behind to win 3-1 in a live Friday night BBC game, in front of just 19,566 hardy fans. 52 years earlier, George Brown scored four goals for Villa in their 6-1 thrashing of the reds. Centre-forward Harold Barton scored our consolation.
Harry Hampton scored the first of his club-record fourteen hat-tricks for Aston Villa in their 5-0 trouncing of the reds in September 1905, when left-half George Fleming played his 82nd and last reds game. He netted his final one for the club in their 6-2 victory in April 1915, when defender Phil Bratley played his thirteenth and final reds game. Jackie Sheldon converted a penalty with Tom Miller bagging our other goal. Debutant Harry Nash also bagged a treble for Villa in the same game. The 5-0 thrashing left us without a point and with a goal difference of -9 after three games, although we still went on to claim the title, becoming the first side to do so having won promotion the previous season.
Other recent meetings
Michael Owen had a penalty saved by Peter Enckleman in August 2002 after John Arne Riise had scored the only goal of the game, our first League fixture of the season. Ulisses De La Cruz made his Villa debut. In October 1999, Steve Staunton was laughably sent off by Rob Harris for a second bookable offence after half an hour, having been wrongly adjudged not to have retreated ten yards at a free-kick. Steven Gerrard then slotted in as our emergency left-back as we held out for a goalless draw.
Terry McDermott struck on his 28th birthday as we won 3-1 in December 1979, with Ray Kennedy and Alan Hansen also netting. Three years earlier, Villa inflicted on us our biggest defeat in ten years as we lost 5-1. Andy Gray and John Deehan both struck twice, and Brian Little also netted with Ray Kennedy grabbing our consolation. Ian Callaghan made his 600th League appearance. Winger Jackie Sheldon netted our consolation from the spot as we lost 2-1 in December 1913, the first of his twenty reds goals.
The last game in front of the standing Holte End was played in May 1994, with Robbie Fowler on target in our last game of the season as we lost 2-1, with Julian Dicks playing his 28th and final reds game. Alan A'Court played his 354th and final reds League game as we lost 2-0 in May 1963. Back in April 1899, centre-forward George Allan made his 96th and last reds appearance in our second 5-0 defeat in this fixture. In February 1939, forward George Patterson played his third and final reds game as we lost 2-0.
More reds debutants
Louis Bimpson made his reds bow as we were thumped 4-0 in March 1953. Winger William Watkinson scored on his reds debut in our 2-1 win in April 1947, with Willie Fagan netting the other. Left-back Jack Tennant debuted as we lost 4-2 in September 1933, with Sam English and Gordon Hodgson on target. Eight months earlier, outside-left Alf Hanson made his reds bow as we suffered another heavy defeat, this time 5-2, with Gordon Hodgson and Syd Roberts on the scoresheet in the first half, as centre-forward Les Bruton played his eighth and last game for the club.
Centre-forward Hugh Henderson made his reds bow as we lost 5-0 in October 1894 on our first trip to Aston Villa, when they were still playing at their old Perry Barr ground. In December 1909, left-half John McConnell debuted in our 3-1 defeat, with Jack Parkinson netting from the spot.
Forward Jack Balmer grabbed his hundredth reds goal as we drew 1-1 in September 1950. We won 4-1 in January 1925 in our 500th away League game, with Jimmy Walsh bagging a brace. Harry Chambers and Danny Shone were also on the scoresheet. Bill Murray struck his only reds goal as we won 3-2 in November 1929. Jim Smith also netted with Tommy Mort putting through his own net for us. In September 1919, Dick Forshaw bagged the only goal of the game to hand us victory, the first of his 124 reds strikes. Harry Bradshaw struck his fiftieth reds goal in our 3-1 defeat back in October 1897. Seven months earlier, our first trip to Villa Park had ended goalless.
More ex-reds on target
Bert Goode bagged a brace as we lost 5-0 in December 1911, while Gordon Hodgson was on target as we lost 3-0 in February 1936.
We led 4-0 with just 24 minutes remaining of our Second Division fixture in March 1960, thanks to a brace from Dave Hickson and goals from Roger Hunt and John Molyneux. However, the home side struck three times inside nine minutes, and Bobby Thomson grabbed his second goal to equalise with five minutes remaining. Peter McParland missed a clear-cut chance in the last minute that nearly completed an amazing comeback for the Villains, although they went on to claim the title that season.
We lost 3-1 in April 1979, with David Johnson nabbing our consolation and Phil Thompson putting through his own net. We only conceded sixteen goals in the whole of that League campaign. Robert Done bagged his thirteenth and final reds goal with Syd Roberts also on target as we lost 3-2 in January 1934.