A stellar performance in front of goal from Cameron Archer, as well as a brace from Anwar El-Ghazi and a goal from Frederic Guilbert saw Aston Villa leave Barrow-in-Furness with a 6-0 win.
Aston Villa travelled to Barrow-in-Furness for a Carabao Cup tie against League Two side Barrow, aptly dubbed Barrowcelona by some fans due to their unorthodox style of play in the lower leagues. Dean Smith handed full debuts to Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Carney Chukwuemeka and forward Cameron Archer, with other positions filled by rotation options within the senior squad, other than Anwar El Ghazi, who retained his place following the side’s win against Newcastle. All of the subs bench were aged twenty or younger for Aston Villa.
As expected, Aston Villa dominated early proceedings but didn’t register a shot on target. Until the 10th minute, that is. A long ball was played by Conor Hourihane down the left for Anwar El Ghazi who got in behind Barrow’s Hutton, before squaring the ball across the box for Cameron Archer to fire into the roof of the net.
In the 22nd minute, Carney Chukwuemeka was quick to challenge for a ball and win it in Barrow’s half, before playing it into Jaden Philogene-Bidace, who glided into the 18-yard box before being tripped as he progressed the ball. The referee blew for a penalty, which Anwar El Ghazi stepped up to take – hoping to continue his 100% record at the club – and he finished superbly with a panenka.
At the other end, just a minute later, there were shouts at the other end for a Barrow penalty as Zanzala was downed in the box – but the referee waved away any claims.
Marvelous Nakamba was booked in the 34th minute as he took too long on the ball and was felled by a Barrow midfielder, before grabbing the ball to deny any chance of a Barrow counter-attack. Shortly after, and the home side had an opportunity from Zanzala, who headed just over the bar at the end of Hutton’s cross.
In the second minute of added time at the end of the half, Aston Villa launched a lethal counter-attack that saw Aston Villa pick up their third and Anwar El Ghazi pick up his second. Frederic Guilbert raced down the right before playing a lofted ball to the back post, where El Ghazi ran onto the ball to tap it beyond Farman with his right foot.
In the opening minute of the fire half, a poor pass from Conor Hourihane gifted Barrow with their best opportunity of the game up to this point, resulting in Banks testing Jed Steer down to his left, where the keeper got down low and palmed the ball wide.
Jaden Philogene-Bidace had an attempt from just outside of the box in the 52nd after great work from Carney Chukwuemeka in midfield, but the youngster’s shot whistled wide of the far post.
With half an hour remaining, Josh Kay replaced Josh Gordon for Barrow.
Two minutes later, Anwar El Ghazi turned creator, playing in a perfect through ball for Cameron Archer – who noticed the onrushing Barrow goalkeeper and lobbed him with style, racing away as the ball nestled into the back of the net. The assist would be El Ghazi’s last contribution, before he was replaced by Aaron Ramsey, for his first senior appearance for the club.
Aston Villa won a free-kick in the 72nd minute, and before it was taken Carney Chukwuemeka was replaced by his older brother, Caleb Chukwuemeka, who made arrived for his first appearance at the club since his arrival from Northampton Town. Conor Hourihane attempted the free-kick, which curled over the bar and into the stands.
In the 75th, Jaden Philogene-Bidace found himself through on goal after Aaron Ramsey found him clear in a central position – but Barrow’s Farman was able to get down low to make a stop to deny the youngster an attempt on goal. Frederic Guilbert raced onto the loose ball, before taking a touch and striking low and hard into the net.
Barrow’s Patrick Brough was booked for a rash challenge on Guilbert in the 81st minute, a sign of Barrow’s frustration with the evening’s events. That was Guilbert’s last action of the game, with Hayden Lindley replacing the Frenchman for his second senior appearance – after coming off the bench in last season’s Liverpool FA Cup tie.
Cameron Archer bagged his hat-trick on his full debut in the 88th minute, as a swift sliding ball from Jaden Philogene-Bidace out on the left found the night’s forward, who fired into the bottom right with aplomb to give Aston Villa their sixth.
The game ended with a six goal rout for Dean Smith’s men and boys, with experience and ability on show throughout.