Aston Villa’s U23 side – with the additions of James Chester and Orjan Nyland – dominated Manchester United’s U23 side at The Banks’ Stadium last night.

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Aston Villa U23 Starting XI: Orjan Nyland [GK], Jake Walker (C), James Chester, Easah Suliman, Callum Rowe, Jack Birch, Jack Clarke, Jacob Ramsey, Tyreik Wright, Michael Tait, Indiana Vassilev.

Subs: Viljami Sinisalo [GK], Lewis Brunt, Ben Guy, Dominic Revan, Colin Odutayo

Aston Villa’s U23’s got back to winning ways on a rainy evening at The Banks’ Stadium in Walsall last night, playing host to Manchester United who were looking to extend their unbeaten start to the season in the Premier League 2.

Amongst the starting players for Aston Villa were Orjan Nyland in goal and James Chester at centre-half, both getting valuable minutes under their belts as they return from injury – with this outing being Chester’s first since the Pre-Season win against Shrewsbury Town back in July.

Villa’s U23’s started the game brightly and looked to dominate from the off. After a quiet opening ten minutes in the way of chances, a neat passage of play in the middle threatened the United rearguard; Vassilev finding space down the right-hand side before cutting a cross back for Jacob Ramsey who fired over the bar from 14 yards out.

Only three minutes later, Aston Villa took the lead. The ball was worked out well to Indiana Vassilev, who was now occupying the left-wing space. The American youth international cut inside the United defence and finished low into the bottom right corner of the net to provide an early advantage.

Two minutes later, Tyreik Wright had two good opportunities to extend Aston Villa’s lead, the first chance fired over the bar after a good ball into the box, and the second a shot into the side netting after cutting in from the right.

In the 22nd minute, Manchester United finally tested Aston Villa’s goal. Elenga cut inside from the left, but dragged his shot well wide, before the same man forced a good save out of Orjan Nyland just four minutes later.

Moments after, a long ball down the right hand side for Tyreik Wright caused United problems. Wright was brought down by the United captain Di’Shon Bernard for a penalty, and the Red Devil received a somewhat harsh straight red. Manchester United’s night was made more difficult as Wright stepped up for the penalty and hit it low into the middle of the net to make it 2-0.

In the 33rd, a tidy ball in from Tait found Jacob Ramsey who almost got himself on the scoresheet, firing inches wide. James Chester almost got in on the act two minutes later, heading wide of the post following a free-kick from the left from Lewis Brunt.

As the 38th approached, Aston Villa U23’s made it 3-0. Some excellent work on the left from Indiana Vassilev as he weaved his way into the box before pulling the ball back for Jacob Ramsey to finish off the move.

On the stroke of half time, Manchester United were their own worst enemies, losing the ball on the edge of their own box. Tait threaded a through ball to Ramsey, who bagged his second of the game and ensured Aston Villa went into the break with a 4-0 lead.


Aston Villa had three excellent chances at the beginning of the second period.

A shot from Clarke from outside of the box went inches over, whilst Easah Suliman drove through the middle of the park before unleashing a shot from 20-yards-out, which was tipped wide by Kovar.

James Chester also headed inches wide from the resulting corner.

Chester’s night ended in the 60th minute as he was replaced by Dominic Revan – a good 60 minute run out for the Welshman as he looks to battle his way into Dean Smith’s plans.

In the 68th, a powerful run from United’s Traore resulted in an even more powerful strike into the left-hand corner of the net, beating Orjan Nyland. A consolation for Manchester United.

The game petered out somewhat with Aston Villa maintaining real control and domination in possession.

There was time for one more chance from both sides – after good work from Revan down the left, Indiana Vassilev wasn’t able to provide the finishing touch. Up at the other end, Traore once again tested Nyland by cutting in from the left, but his cross-come-shot was collected calmly by the Norweigan.

Overall, a very good test for Aston Villa’s largely young side. Driven on by the impressive Jack Clarke, Jacob Ramsey and Indiana Vassilev, Aston Villa U23’s found their stride and were able to give a valuable 60 minutes of action to James Chester in front of a strong crowd of over 400 at The Banks’ Stadium.

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