Villa v Southampton memory match: Vassell/Cole at the double
Villa really were a team in a hurry, Gareth Barry and new loan signing Carlton Cole both going close before Darius Vassell opening the scoring in the 12th minute.
And if the club's first goal of the campaign was never going to win any awards for artistic interpretation, it was just what we needed.
Lee Hendrie's shot was charged down in a crowded goalmouth after Barry had hooked the ball back from the byline and England international Vassell displayed razor-sharp reactions, prodding the ball over the line from six yards.
Even the 22nd minute departure of Hendrie with an arm injury failed to disrupt Villa's flow, substitute Peter Whittingham having a goalbound drive turned aside by goalkeeper Antti Niemi before Thomas Sorensen had his first taste of action, blocking a shot from Mikael Nilsson.
That let-off spurned Villa to greater efforts and give minutes later the issue was effectively settled, Cole beating the advancing Niemi with the outside of his right-foot following Vassell's defence-splitting throughball.
Date: Saturday August 14, 2004
VILLA: Sorensen, Delaney, Samuel, Mellberg, Laursen, Barry, Hendrie [Whittingham, De La Cruz], McCann, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Vassell [L Moore]. Unused subs: Postma, Berson.
SOUTHAMPTON: Niemi, Dodd, Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Prutton, Fernandes, Folly, Nilsson [Svensson], Ormerod [Crouch], Phillips. Unused subs: Smith, Kenton.
Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.