Aston Villa’s youth side were dealt a heavy blow as they were defeated 8-1 by Sunderland in the EFL Trophy.
Words: Simon Lines | @simonlines
Aston Villa XI:
Aston Villa’s Under 23 side endured an difficult night on Wearside as Mark Delaney’s boys were beaten by a strong Sunderland side in the EFL Trophy.
Villa named what looked to be a strong, yet youthful side to take on Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland, but in truth, they struggled against the phyiscality and power of the Black Cats.
The claret and blue youth started the game brightly, playing some crisp and sharp football. Philogene-Bidace played in Seb Revan, the younger brother of Dominic down the left-hand side who forced an early save out of Sunderland keeper Remi Matthews who turned the shot away for a corner. They continued their control in the early stages; putting in numerous dangerous crosses which the Sunderland rear-guard defended well.
After 14 minutes, Sunderland took the lead. An in-swinging corner was met by the head of Wyke who climbed the highest to head beyond Sinisalo in the Villa net. Another corner caused Villa further problems in the 20th minute; Sinisalo tipping a header from Feeney over the bar. The following corner, however, caused even more problems. Feeney managed to pull free from his defender to head past Sinisalo and Villa had been punished twice from poor defending at set pieces.
Sunderland almost made it three in the 33rd minute when a low cross swept across the box and found its way to Lynden Gooch who placed his shot just wide of the upright with Sinisalo well beaten.
Sinisalo was called into action two minutes later, saving a close range shot from Gooch once more. Villa’s best chance of the half came in the 36th minute, Philogene-Bidance threading a ball through to Vassilev who turned his shot wide.
The Villa boys could feel somewhat unlucky to be 2-0 down at the break – they had played some good football and created decent openings, however their defending of set pieces proved to be their downfall.
The second period started strongly for Aston Villa with the referee awarding a penalty following a challenge on Carney Chukwuemeka. Vassilev stepped up to fire home to bring his side back into the contest.
The joy was short lived – however – with more poor defending from a corner and Wyke turning the ball into the net after a cushioned header back by Feeney in the 49th minute. Less than three minutes later, another corner had caused huge problems for the backline but Wyke headed just wide.
Chances were coming every couple of minutes for the home side and Neill fired into the side netting after some good work down the right. In the 63rd minute, Neill was denied again as a powerful shot was saved well by Sinisalo.
Sunderland increased their lead in the 74th minute, with new signing Danny Graham – in his first game since returning to the Stadium of Light – meeting a cross from the left, which was cleared off the line but followed up and powered into the net by Scowen.
Just two minutes later, Max Power picked up the ball and drove at the Villa defence. He unleashed a powerful effort which Sinisalo couldn’t keep out.
At this point, Aston Villa were struggling to keep the opposition at bay. With 82 minutes on the clock, Scowen burst down the right wing before pulling the ball back into the direction of Danny Graham, who swept the ball into the net for his first of the evening. Two minutes later, and Diamond burst past Dominic Revan, echoed Scowens ball in for Graham, and Dobson was there to fire in to make it seven for Sunderland.
The Black Cats further compiled the misery for Aston Villa when O’Brien received the ball on the right wing before cutting inside Mungo Bridge and firing into the right corner past Sinisalo to all but sum up a poor evening on Wearside for Villa’s youngsters.
It was a took first evening of the season for Mark Delaney’s side – they came up against a strong Sunderland side who will surely be vying for promotion to the Championship this season under the guidance of Phil Parkinson. Lessons to be learned for Villa’s youngsters, but a good experience for them and the youthfulness of the side should not be forgotten. The likes of Carney Chukwuemeka, Aaron Ramsey and Seb Revan were all over half the age of some of Sunderland’s side.
Defending must be worked on in the coming weeks. It doesn’t matter what level they are playing at, the Under 23 side cannot be defending like that if they want to achieve their goal of a successful season.