Aston Villa’s Under 23 side played to a score draw against Swansea City Under 23’s at Bodymoor Heath last night.
Words: Simon Lines | @simonlines
Aston Villa’s Under 23 side shared the points in their final game of 2019 yesterday evening as Bodymoor Heath played host to Swansea City Under 23’s.
The Villa side had a more youthful look to it compared to previous years, but a common theme for this season – one that has served the club well as we look to develop stars of the future.
The home side had scored eleven goals in their previous two games and started this fixture on the front foot, with exciting starlet Jacob Ramsey involved in everything good that Aston Villa did, including a curled effort which was just wide early on.
Michael Tait forced a good save out of Swansea’s Lewis Webb, before Jack Clarke came close moments later as Aston Villa enjoyed the better of the earlier exchanges in this game.
Fresh from his brace against Middlesbrough, and calls for his involvement in the Senior Squad, Indiana Vassilev thought he had another goal to add to his tally – but was rightfully flagged offside by the assistant referee.
Chances were coming for Villa, as Jack Clarke had a guided effort which clipped the top of the bar – but the home side eventually took the lead in the 33rd minute as a low cross from Michael Tait was swept into the top right corner by Tyreik Wright.
To Swansea’s credit, they responded well and found themselves level just prior to half-time when Evans’s cross was met by a strong header from Cooper who levelled the scoreline.
The second half was an open affair as both sides looked to grab the winner.
Sinisalo, in the Aston Villa goal, was forced into two smart early saves in this half to deny Swansea – with the goalkeeper racing off his line to save from Cullen, before moments later gathering a decent shot from Al-Hamadi.
At the other end of the pitch, Indiana Vassilev’s free-kick was deflected just wide.
Swansea’s Al-Hamadi thought he may have got the winner when he managed to weave his way through the Aston Villa backline and got a shot away; only for it to cannon back off the crossbar.
Just two minutes later, Jacob Ramsey provided a similar moment after good work down the left from Tyreik Wright and Jack Clarke saw the ball pulled back to Ramsey, who’s powerful strike hammered off the bar.
Cameron Archer was denied late on by Webb, with the end-to-end affair finishing in a fair result of 1-1.
Post-game, Under 23 coach Mark Delaney said:
“It was below where we’ve been, but I have to give a lot of credit to Swansea”
“They came here with a good gameplan and had the game finished 3-3, it still would have been a fair result”
“Swansea were at it at the start of the second half, but towards the end, we had some chances ourselves”
“I did tell the team afterwards that I was slightly disappointed but I also reminded them of the levels they have produced recently. Maybe it was just one game too much for us, but credit to Swansea.”
Man of the Match: Jacob Ramsey
Jacob Ramsey ran everything going forward for Aston Villa and it’s evident that the boy has talent.
He is quick on the ball, tricky, has a good cross on him as well as a powerful shot – and is consistently making himself available to receive the ball.
Young defender Mungo Bridge also deserves an honourable mention. The centre-back put in his best performance in an Aston Villa shirt and won everything in the air.
2019 has been some year for the academy, with the young lions forced to grow up quickly; being tested by older and more experienced opposition more often than not. Changes within the system, including the arrival of new coaches, academy managers and directors have not had a detrimental effect with Aston Villa still finding themselves within the top five and have progressed in the FA Youth Cup. A new, permanent home at Bodymoor Heath has helped too.
Thanks for your support in 2019 following the young lads, we will see you in 2020 and hope for more success for the Young Lions.