A young Aston Villa eleven faced their first pre-season friendly of the season against Kidderminster Harriers last night.
Words by Simon Lines | @simonlines
Aston Villa’s Under 23’s began their pre-season preparations with a short trip to Kidderminster Harriers on Wednesday night.
Kidderminster Harriers, founded in 1886, shortly after the formation of Aston Villa, ply their trade in the National League North division and are led by new manager John Pemberton after his appointment in May 2019.
Kidderminster had an average season last term, finishing mid-table in 10th position and have been in the National League North since relegation in 2016. They would prove stern opposition for Villa’s young lions as they kicked off their pre-season preparations.
For Aston Villa’s young side, it remains to be a pre-season of transition. Mark Delaney remains the coach but there remains a lot of work to do to build the squad back up following departures of some senior Under 23 players this summer. The team is currently littered with stars from the Under 18’s and Villa will be hoping to add to that prior to the season getting underway with them battling on three fronts this year, Premier League 2, Premier League Cup and pitting their wits against League One and Two clubs in the EFL trophy, due to be drawn this Friday.
Villa XI: Sinisalo, Walker, Rowe, Suliman, Bridge, Clarke (C), Vassilev, Brunt, Hepburn-Murphy, Doyle-Hayes, Cox.
Subs: Bazeley-Graham, Trialist A, Revan, Birch, Guy, Tait, Hooper, Sea, Odutayo, Burton, Trialist B
The game started brightly for Kidderminster as their Trialist B fed the ball into Chambers on 3 minutes who shot on the angle and hit the side netting. Aston Villa were trying to find their passing game but at times were being bullied off the ball by the more senior Kidderminster side. On 7 minutes, Harriers broke promisingly after pouncing on a loose ball, however, the cross was poor and Sinisalo was able to collect. A minute later, Harriers almost took the lead. A well-delivered corner, met by the head of Johnson who diverted it on target and Sinisalo could only tip it over the bar.
On 13 minutes, Harriers took the lead. Trialist B’s cross finding Chambers on the edge of the box who finished calmly. On 23 minutes Villa had a strong case for a penalty; Jordan Cox being outmuscled to the ground by Austin but the referee waved away any appeals. On 36 minutes, it was 2-0. Williams spinning on the edge of the area looks up, picks his spot and fires past Sinisalo into the top corner. A very good goal.
In the 43rd minute, Villa had their best chance of the game, Clarke’s shot tipped onto the bar by Trialist A (who was luckily for Kidderminster, a goalkeeper). From the resulting corner, Hepburn-Murphy met the cross to finish into the bottom corner.
Half-Time saw an entire team change for Aston Villa. They started brightly with pace but couldn’t reduce the deficit and on 63 minutes it was 3-1. Scott’s shot fired off the post but Dutton’s resulting low cross was diverted in by Scott. There was a 10-minute long stoppage in the 72nd minute as Bazeley-Graham was taken off on a stretcher for Aston Villa. Villa looked to reduce the deficit in the 81st minute but Kidderminster’s Trialist A made a good stop from close range and on 88 minutes Hooper looked certain to score for Villa after a good break but slipped and the ball rolled away. Aston Villa’s Trialist B made a good save for Villa in 90+6 minutes after a super run by Taylor-Randle.
A tough workout for the Aston Villa Under 23 side but at this stage of the season, it is all about the fitness. Work to do for Mark Delaney and the whole academy set up at Villa following the recent arrival of Mark Harrison from West Brom as Academy Manager.
However, news surfaced following the game that U18’s coach David Hughes is leaving Villa to join Southampton as their Head of Academy Player Development. Another void for Villa to fill as they embark upon another season.
Next Up: Tamworth FC.
We send our good wishes to Isaiah Bazeley-Graham and hope he is okay.