Aston Villa’s youthful outfit played their second pre-season friendly against Tamworth yesterday evening.
Words by Simon Lines | @simonlines
Villa XI: Searle, Walker, Rowe, Suliman, Bridge, Doyle-Hayes, Odutayo, Guy, Sea, Vassilev, Hooper.
Subs: Sinisalo, Birch, Tait, Burton, Archer, Sohna, Farr, Philogene-Bidace, Revan, Kesler.
Tamworth FC welcomed Aston Villa’s Under 23 side to The Lamb on Tuesday evening in Villa’s second pre-season game as they step up preparations for the Premier League 2 campaign. Tamworth compete in England’s 7th tier of division football and last season finished 12th position in the League.
Aston Villa’s team was once again represented by a whole host of youth team players with some of the senior Under 23’s such as Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Jack Clarke currently with the first-team squad in Minnesota.
Aston Villa started brightly in the game and in nine minutes found themselves ahead. A low ball into the box from the left hand side was met by Sea who’s shot deceived Singh in the Tamworth goal and snuck inside the far post to give Villa the lead.
A few moments later, a corner from the left-hand side from Beswick was met by Magunda with a header towards goal but his effort was cleared away and the follow up from Waite was deflected to safety.
On 18 minutes, a strike from Clement tested Searle in the Villa goal with a low strike. Tamworth created numerous half chances following this with chances for Clement, Clifton and Magunda however it was the visitors’ power and pace in midfield which was dominating the game.
Aston Villa reaped the rewards for a strong and paced opening 40 minutes by doubling their lead on 42 minutes. Suliman meeting a right-sided corner with a bullet header at the far post. Less than 3 minutes later, Obeng was bundled over inside the penalty area following a through ball from Clement. Waite stepped up but his shot to the right-hand corner was saved by Searle and the keeper managed to get back up and tip the rebound over the bar to ensure Villa’s two-goal lead remained intact at the break.
Two changes for Aston Villa at half time with Tait and Revan replacing Rowe and Hooper respectively.
It didn’t take long for Villa to pick up where they left off. Tamworth’s mistake in the backline allowed Tate to run through and slot home from 8 yards to make it 3-0 to the Villa.
On 51 minutes, Hoenes hit a powerful shot which Searle parried and when he tried to recover the rebound he was upended for a second penalty of the game for Tamworth. Beswick stepped up this time but was once again denied by the save of Searle in the Villa goal.
Searle was in top form as he denied Hoenes on 55 with a save to his right. Villa made six further substitutions and one of them, Cameron Archer slotted home on 66 minutes to make it 4-0. Creaney managed to pull one back for Tamworth in the 79th minute. Suliman went off in the 81st minute meaning Villa played the final 10 minutes with ten men. Tamworth tested Villa during this period with a few headed opportunities and Sinisalo making 2 decent saves low to his right. In the final moment of the game, Magunda finished a Beswick free-kick into the net however the assistant had already flagged for offside.
Overall, a good run out for Aston Villa’s Under 23’s. A much better performance than the one shown at Kidderminster last week with some senior members of the squad away with the first-team squad. Mark Delaney will be pleased with his side’s preparations as they continue ahead of Villa’s season competing on three fronts, Premier League 2, the Premier League Cup and the EFL Trophy.
Man of the Match: Jamie Searle – Hard to give it to anyone else. Searle kept out two penalties during the game and his big commanding figure gave Villa’s backline confidence as they manoeuvred through the game. One to keep an eye on.