Aston Villa started their pre-season amidst uncertainty behind the scenes, with games against Kidderminster Harriers and Telford United respectively. You can read our match report for the Telford game here.
Villa lined up with a starting eleven of Mark Bunn in goal, Neil Taylor, Tommy Elphick, Easah Suliman and Alan Hutton in defence, Gary Gardner, Henri Lansbury, and Jack Clarke, and Jack Grealish, Harvey Knibbs and Albert Adomah rounding up what looked to be a 4-3-3.
The Aston Villa boys appeared to be wearing their white away shirt, claret shorts and blue socks.
Alan Hutton won an early free kick for Villa, which local lad Gary Gardner stepped up to take – pushing it just wide of the post.
Just a minute or two later, Kidderminster Harriers won a free-kick which Villa uninspiringly failed to clear – leaving defender Fraser Horsfall to prod it past Mark Bunn.
Aston Villa responded almost immediately, with a quick break spearheaded by Jack Grealish – who dribbled his way into the Kidderminster box before laying off 19-year-old Harvey Knibbs, who managed a beautiful finish to bring it level.
The game quietened for a bit, allowing both teams to come back into the game a little after a quick set of goals for both sides. Young defender Easah Suliman had a decent chance after he got his head to a free-kick, but it ended up flying right at the keeper.
Around the half hour mark, Gary Gardner had another relatively close chance, hitting the post.
Aston Villa’s Second Half
In the second half, the first chance for Villa game from Jack Grealish – who darted into the box on his left foot and would have realistically scored if it was not for some brave defending from Kidderminster.
Around twelve minutes later, a trialist for Kidderminster came very close to giving the non-league outfor the lead – with left back Neil Taylor heading the ball off of the line and behind for a corner.
The first substitutions for Aston Villa were Solihull-born Alex Prosser coming on to the pitch for Albert Adomah, and Jack Grealish being substituted off for Jordan Cox.
More came in the 75th minute, with Alan Hutton and Henri Lansbury and Gary Gardner being replaced by Lewis Brunt, Jake Walker and Jacob Ramsey.
Neil Taylor and goal-scorer Harvey Knibbs were subbed off with 8 minutes remaining, with highly-rated American Indiana Vassilev and Charlie McConnachie coming onto the pitch.
Overall, the second half wasn’t an exciting affair – but it allowed some exciting youth prospects to get some minutes alongside more experienced players. Easah Suliman and Tommy Elphick looked to be teaching and tutoring each other throughout the game, which is great to see, and the incredibly tall Alex Prosser was a literal wall in the middle of the field.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)