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David Dunn reminiscences on Blues derby day success at Villa Park

David Dunn in action at Villa Park in December 2004
David Dunn in action at Villa Park in December 2004

David Dunn scored what turned out to the be the decisive goal against Aston Villa in Blues last victory on their turf

It's been 14 years of hurt for Blues in the Second City derby.

That's how long - spanning seven visits - since Blues tasted victory away from home, at Villa Park.

In December, 2004, Blues went into the fixture as underdogs, having made a poor start to the season. They were on a run of just one win in 13 matches - Darren Anderton scoring the only goal at Liverpool at the beginning of November.

But that chilly Sunday, they dazzled in a brilliant first-half and played their hosts off the pitch.

Clinton Morrison scored after nine minutes - Thomas Sorensen fumbling his shot over his prone body - and David Dunn slammed in another (18 minutes).

Emile Heskey also hit the post in a blistering opening period and although Gareth Barry scored in added-time, it was too little, too late for Villa.

Steve Bruce had called Darren Carter back from loan at Sunderland and threw him straight back into the fray.

And alongside Robbie Savage, with Dunn cutting in from the flank - Stan Lazaridis behind him at left-back - and Damien Johnson on the other wing, Blues were just too good.

"Was it that game Blues last won there?" commented a surprised Dunn, to bcfc.com. "No pressure on, but that's too long, isn't it?

"Hopefully it will be a Blues victory on Sunday, that would be the ideal scenario.

"Some good days back then. We had a really good group of players and and a good team.

"Personally, though, my overriding feeling from my time at Blues was one of frustration (due to injuries). I didn't do myself justice, especially for the fee they paid for me and what Steve Bruce wanted from me.

"But there highlights and I remember in that game we played really, really well.

"Clinton scored the first goal and mine came when Damien Johnson crossed it over to me and I stuck it away.

"I always enjoyed the Villa derbies. The build up to it, the atmosphere, what it meant.

"And funnily enough, Villa Park always tended to be good for me: I scored my first ever league goal there, made my England debut there, won with Blues and scored - I probably should have signed for them instead!"

The 2-1 victory sparked a four-game winning run that helped correct the campaign, although Dunn unfortunately had a Boxing Day he doesn't particularly care to remember.

He came off after injuring his hamstring in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at St. Andrew's and ultimately the persistent problem he suffered resulted in spinal fusion surgery in the summer of 2005.

It therefore proved to be tough going for a talented attacking midfielder who came as the then record £5.5 million signing from Blackburn Rovers.

The Villa derby at St. Andrew's in October 2003 also provided a moment he doesn't always recall fondly, but is never allowed to forget - the failed rabona, a clip of which went viral.

"I came on as substitute at Villa Park when we were 2-0 down, did well, made an impact and we ended up drawing 2-2 (Stern John's stoppage-time equaliser).

"But the one at St. Andrew's, my first derby, is what everyone remembers, for that one thing. My little lad reminds me of it every single day!

"People don't recall the ones that did come off, or other stuff. But never mind, it was quite funny."

 

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