Goals from Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Louie Barry secured important points for Aston Villa’s Under 23 side this evening against Stoke City.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa’s Under 23 side travelled to the Potteries this evening for a tie against Stoke City – with an exceptional starting eleven named including Louie Barry, Carney Chukwuemeka, Jaden Philogene-Bidace and summer signing Lamare Bogarde – whilst Tom Heaton was between the sticks as he continued his return to fitness.
Stoke City, on the other hand, had former captain Ryan Shawcross at centre-back as the former Premier League defender continued his return to fitness.
Within the opening ten minutes Stoke were down to ten men as Louie Barry rounded the last man, before their keeper handled the ball outside the area and as a result of which, was sent off.
Delaney’s side were dominant on the ball, continuing to probe at the Stoke City defence. The Potters were compact and narrow, allowing the young Villans to spread play wide – but their dominance wasn’t showing many results.
That is, until, the 28th minute – when Jaden Philogene-Bidace received the ball out on the left, before turning his man and darting towards the edge of the box and playing a one-two, before curling an effort towards the bottom right. The ball nestled in the net behind the Stoke City ‘keeper and the forward wheeled away to the cameramen at the ground to celebrate.
Carney Chukwuemeka had the opportunity to score a similar goal just nine minutes later, but his attempt sailed high over the bar and into the car park.
Stoke’s first chance of the game came from the right-hand side, as the Potters countered following Chukwuemeka being dispossessed. The shot was fired towards the bottom left corner – but sailed wide of the post and the diving arms of Tom Heaton.
There were three minutes added at the end of the half, to which the Stoke coach retorted audibly: “I wish there were three minutes left” as his side continued to be dominated in possession.
Stoke City started the brighter of the other two sides in the second half, and had calls for a penalty early on as a Villa defender got down low to block a shot – with the home side arguing that he had used his hand. The referee waved the calls away.
Tom Heaton was called into his first bit of action of the game shortly after, racing from his line to punch away an incoming indirect free-kick and clashing into a Stoke player – which the referee eventually pulled the game back for.
Mungo Bridge received a warning from the referee just before the hour mark after a few persistent fouls – but the defender avoided receiving a card.
The came lulled into possession play for Aston Villa again following this, with Stoke’s compact formation keeping Mark Delaney’s side at bay.
With fifteen minutes remaining, left-back Sebastien Revan was replaced by Callum Rowe.
A poor goal kick from the City ‘keeper saw Aston Villa able to capitalise – with a number of players in the Stoke half. Lamare Bogarde headed forward, looping over the Stoke defence, and Louie Barry gave chase. The forward beat his man to the ball, before rounding the keeper and firing into an empty net with ten minutes remaining.
Jaden Philogene-Bidace was booked for a clash between Stoke City’s Thibault Verlinden and himself – after which the Belgian winger was also booked. Shortly after, and Harrison Sohna replaced Aaron Ramsey.
A few minutes before time, as Aston Villa kept up their pressure, Tyreik Wright was replaced by Charlie Farr. Callum Rowe was booked for a cynical foul to stop a counter attack in the 90th.
In the final three minutes of added time, Kaine Kesler had the opportunity to make it three following a well-worked counter-attack, but his shot was blocked at the near post.