Aston Villa kicked off their pre-season friendly list with a visit to the New Bucks Head to gain some match practice from playing Telford. They also sent a team to Kidderminster to face off against the Kidderminster Harriers.
Telford seemed to take more importance for Steve Bruce - with many of Villa’s fringe stars turning out for the Villans - including Jordan Veretout and Gabby Agbonlahor, with Steve Bruce opting to take a close eye on the Telford game. Villa debuted their new claret strip, while Telford turned out in white and black, with Agbonlahor captaining this Villa XI.
Villa started with promise - especially down the left-flank where Andre Green and Jordan Amavi danced about the Telford defence. Nathan Baker returned to old form by going down with a head injury within five minutes, after leaping to meet the head of Chris Samba in the air. Ouch. Chris Samba impressed at the back for Villa, but found himself up front on a number of times - which seemed incredibly strange - however, he was dominant at the back.
Villa suffered a blow halfway through the first half. Albert Adomah went off the pitch looking badly hurt. Ideally, the winger won’t be too badly injured, but this is the risk of pre-season and these things do happen. Callum O’Hare replaced him. Nathan Baker was taken off following his earlier head injury and Mitchell Clark replaced him. Matija Sarkic was also called into action, parrying a rasping shot into his defenders before claiming the ball.
Jordan Amavi appeared to be in good spirits as he gave his all for Villa - he never stopped running and allowed Andre Green plenty of chances. This is very encouraging to see and speaks volumes about Amavi’s character.
Andre Green seemed to relish the chance to impress and made the left flank his playground - whizzing down on the counter at 30 mins before crashing a fierce shot against the crossbar. It was Green who opened the scoring on 36 minutes, after cruising through the Telford line before reeling off a shot from the eighteen-yard box. The shot hit Keinan Davis and slipped past Telford’s Jas Singh to give Villa the lead.
Villa went in at half-time a goal up in a very encouraging performance.
It didn’t take Villa long to extend their league. Callum O’Hare split the Telford defence with a through ball to unleash Keinan Davis who was hacked down in the box for a penalty. Henri Lansbury stepped up and blitzed it past Singh for the goal.
Goal! LANSBURY. He bangs it in for Villa. 2-0 pic.twitter.com/Pf2AfwbwC9— 7500 To Holte (@7500toHolte) July 12, 2017
Gabby Agbonlahor followed up shortly after with a effort - put on a plate for him by Callum O’Hare.
Early on in the second half, it was Callum O’Hare who impressed for Villa. The young playmaker looked to impress - and didn’t just shine through his attacking play, but played the role of the terrier; constantly pressing and winning the ball. Jordan Veretout was another who made an effort in the 2nd half, winning the ball and playing it in from deep, the Frenchman did look a little lost at times, though.
Telford managed to threaten late on, but Matija Sarkic came to the rescue with a pretty stunning save to clear the ball from the goal-line. Hopefully he might get a run in a few cup games this year - or even a loan. He’s certainly another talent in waiting.
Chris Samba stunned the crowed at the New Bucks Head with a cross-field dribble - but not just that, he picked out the surging O’Hare with a peach of a pinpoint through ball that played the youngster in on goal. Samba was seriously impressive for Villa, and this just capped it off.
Mitchell Clark wouldn’t be outdone - the young defender burst forth into the Telford box with stunning pace and was brought down. Henri Lansbury dispatched his second penalty of the night.
All in all - it was the Villa youth who ran the show. Andre Green impressed the most before fading in the second half, while Callum O’Hare lit it up late on. Mitchell Clark defended well alongside Chris Samba and Matija Sarkic held it steady at the back.
Christopher Samba was the senior who made his mark - he looked incredible, to be frank. No matter the opposition, Samba put in a pretty special performance across all phases of play. He’d help Villa this season. Jordan Amavi put in a performance as well.
Villa? They look good - and if they can make the most of an exceptional crop of youth talent, they will do well. Shrewsbury are next, on the weekend.
DEF: Amavi, Samba (T), Baker (off 25), Bree
MID: Adomah (off 25), Veretout (off 85), Lansbury (off 85), Green (off 70)
ATT: Agbonlahor (off 60) (C), Davis (off 70)
Clark (on 25), O’Hare (On 25)
Hayes (on 60)
Knibbs (on 70), Mooney (on 70)
Pastorek (on 85), Cox (on 85)