Aston Villa’s Under 23’s are making a habit of letting their subs decide games – as 84th minute arrival Michael Tait secured all three points against Newcastle.

Words: Simon Lines | @simonlines


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XI: Nyland, Walker, Rowe, Chester, Revan, Guy, Archer, Clarke, Vassilev, Ramsey, Wright

Subs: Bridge, Sinisalo, Tait, Birch, Odutayo


Aston Villa Under 23’s closed the gap to a single point in the hunt for a Play-Off place in the Premier League 2 last night with a last gasp 3-2 victory over Newcastle United at Villa Park. The game also saw the returning James Chester complete 90 minutes as he looks to force his way back into Dean Smith’s plans.

Newcastle United first-team player Florian Lejeune played for 70 minutes as he continues his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury sustained in April.

Aston Villa started the game brightly, forcing Newcastle goalkeeper Dan Langley into two early stops from efforts by Tyreik Wright. The young Irishman saw his shot blocked after bursting his way past the Newcastle defence, and soon after saw a one-on-one chance blocked by Langley’s legs. The keeper was called on again soon after, pushing Wright’s close-range strike away before smothering the loose ball.

In the 23rd minute, Aston Villa reaped the rewards of their early dominance as Ben Guy’s cross into the area found Wright, who cheekily lobbed the ball over Langley.

Newcastle almost found themselves level just a minute later as Allan’s effort was blocked well by Nyland’s left foot.

In the 40th minute the Magpies drew level, with set-pieces once again proving to be Aston Villa’s downfall. Young’s corner found Charman who was unmarked at the back post, allowing the captain to head the ball beyond Orjan Nyland.

The home side were determined to go into the break with the lead, however, as Jacob Ramsey ran onto Jack Clarke’s beautifully weighted through-ball before finishing well into the corner of the net.

Soon after the interval, Charman had the ball in the net for Newcastle United – but the assistant referee had his flag up on the far side to rule out the equaliser for offside.

Minutes later, Charman would not be denied again.

Allan’s free-kick from the right was whipped into the penalty area and Charman rose the highest to direct a strong header past Nyland – despite an almost incredible fingertip effort to stop the goal from Aston Villa’s goalkeeper.

The visitors found themselves on top from this point and looked the more likely to win the game. Allan saw a fizzing shot from outside of the area kept out by Nyland, but Langley had to keep Newcastle level after turning away efforts from both Indiana Vassilev and Cameron Archer.

Aston Villa were not happy to leave Villa Park with just a point, though.

In the 90th minute, they ensured they picked up all three points. Tyreik Wright’s dangerous cross fell to Colin Odutayo, who failed to connect with the ball, but allowed 84th minute substitute Michael Tait to fire the loose ball well into the net.

This proved to be the last action of the evening in a great game of football, and Mark Delaney will be relieved as his side keep themselves in contention for a Play-Off spot.


Man of the Match: Jack Clarke

Clarke’s industry and continued driving forward from midfield sets the tone for Aston Villa Under 23’s every time they play. He linked up well with Jacob Ramsey in particular and caused numerous problems for Newcastle’s back line.

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