Earlier today, the Aston Villa U21 team began competition in the new Barclays U21 Premier League with a resounding 3-0 victory over Stoke. You may remember the Barclays U21 Premier League as having previously been the reserve league in which Aston Villa have recently done so well.
After the first half at Bodymoor Heath today the score was even at 0-0, but Paul Lambert was on hand and gave an apparently inspiring talk in the locker room before the second half. I say "apparently inspiring" because Villa came out and scored three goals in the second half. The action was begun by Michael Drennan, who also scored in last week's NextGen Series match against Sporting Lisbon. The goal came on a 48th minute cross from Enda Stevens. "But wait," you say. "Enda Stevens is 22!" That is true, but apparently the BU21PL allows for three over-age exceptions. This means that Villa had Stevens, Eric Lichaj, and Chris Herd all starting.
Goals were added in the 58th minute (by Daniel Johnson, captain of the side, on a pass from Drennan) and by Josh Barton in the 78th minute. The goal was apparently a beauty, and rumor has it that there will be video highlights on AVTV tomorrow.
It's tricky to get a feel for what happens via the radio, but in addition to the three goalscorers (and Stevens), Jack Woodward was effusive in his praise for the work of keeper Benjamin Siegrist.
The reserves have their next match next Wednesday as they travel to take on PSV Eindhoven in the NextGen Series.