Aston Villa’s second-string squad was disappointing in defeat against Championship side Stoke City, and are out of the Carabao Cup.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa returned to Carabao Cup action tonight at Villa Park, with their eyes on a place in the competition’s Quarter-Final, and Stoke City standing in their way.
The side was the same that dispatched Bristol City 3-0, with changes made to the bench. Stoke City made eight chances from their win at Preston over the weekend.
It seemed as if the visitors to Villa Park were not going to roll over quite as easily as other opposition in this competition, with Stoke attacking from the off.
There was no real rhythm to the game in the opening ten minutes as both sides looked to carve a clear-cut-chance.
Nick Powell forced Jed Steer into a good save as he swept a shot towards the top right corner in the 25th minute, but the Aston Villa goalkeeper was alert and palmed the ball over the bar. The resulting corner resulted in the opening goal of the game, however, as Sam Volkes beat the pressure of three Aston Villa players to head in at the near post, despite the best efforts of Ahmed Elmohamady in the goal mouth.
Keinan Davis had an opportunity five minutes before the end of the half as Anwar El Ghazi played a delicious cross across goal for the forward to stretch for. Davis met the ball, but fired wide.
The sides went in at the break with Stoke leading, and Aston Villa’s display leaving fans desperate for more.
In the second half, Aston Villa looked brighter from the off, with Bertrand Traore testing Davies in the Stoke net within the first few minutes – but his connection to the end of El Ghazi’s cross was weak and easy to deal with for the ‘keeper.
Goalscorer Sam Volkes could have given Stoke a stronger lead in the 54th minute as Josh Tymon’s cross found him at the back post, but the number 9’s diving header sailed wide of Jed Steer’s net.
In the 58th, Kortney Hause made way for Ezri Konsa, an enforced change for Dean Smith as the defender seemed to pick up a knee issue.
Jacob Ramsey was booked in the 65th minute for a late challenge on Jacob Brown.
Anwar El Ghazi produced perhaps Aston Villa’s best chance of the game just a minute or so later, mazing in from the left until he found himself in a central position – but his shot was directly at Stoke goalkeeper Davies.
With 20 minutes remaining, Dean Smith opted to bring on another striker, allowing Ollie Watkins some game time as the forward replaced Jacob Ramsey. Villa’s shape changed to a 4-4-2.
Watkins forced Davies into an excellent save from outside of the box within forty seconds of being on the pitch, with a curling effort that required a strong palm to turn over the bar.
The final substitution for Aston Villa saw Bertrand Traore replaced by Jota Peleteiro.
There were four minutes added on at the end of the 90.
Despite Jed Steer going up for a couple of corners at the end, it was not Aston Villa’s night at Villa Park.