Aston Villa continued their preparations for the coming season by taking on Burton Albion in a pre-season game that also served as matchup to decide this season’s winners of the Bass Charity Vase - a traditional trophy hosted by the town of Burton Upon-Trent to raise money for local causes. Villa won the Vase in 1893 and 1894 after beating Derby County and Stoke respectively. Today, they added a third victory and claimed the title for the third time.
As the game kicked off, it became clear that Villa weren’t in for an easy ride as Burton pressed every half-space. Burton put forward a committed challenge and tested Jed Steer in the Villa goal via a Marvin Sordell shot. Villa’s back three of Hutton, Chester and Taylor were able to soak up early pressure and release Villa into a counter-attack.
Villa’s star of the pre-season, Ritchie De Laet, was able to unlock space for Jonathan Kodjia on the right flank. The Ivorian striker received the ball before sprinting into the box and unleashing a shot that hit Stephen Bywater in the Burton goal and rolled clear. Kodjia was able to continue his run and catch the rebound, pouncing to push Villa into the lead.
Burton responded in no small way, but spurned a number of chances through Lucas Akins and Liam Boyce, who should have been able to bring ‘The Brewers’ back into the game. Kyle McFadzean also saw his shot at the far-post fail following a free-kick. The first half whistle brought relief for a Villa side not able to make much of an impact, and allowed to rest away from a Burton barrage.
Despite Villa’s woes in the first half, they quickly resumed dominance thanks to Albert Adomah. Villa’s winger - in a central striking position for this match - added Villa’s second goal after Henri Lansbury played him in.
Villa quickly added a third goal though an unlikely source. Ritchie De Laet, in his right wing-back role, found an inch of space. The Belgian drifted centrally, dragging the entire Burton defence with him. Galloping into the box, Ritchie surged to the left, ignoring Jack Grealish, Albert Adomah and Kodjia who were wide open by this point, to open up room for a shot. It hit home, Villa found themselves up by three and enforced a raft of changes.
Adomah found himself involved in Villa’s fourth after opening space within the Burton box. The winger dribbled on into the face of goal, before switching the ball to the rushing Gary Gardner, who could do nothing but score in the face of goal. At four-nil up, Villa changed their team once more, to ensure that Jed Steer and Kodjia alone were the only players from the original starting 11 still playing as Adomah made way for Harvey Knibbs.
Villa rested out the game with a youthful lineup. Jake Doyle-Hayes shined with his one-touch passing and Corey Blackett-Taylor run rampant down the wings before a hamstring injury took him out of the game to ensure Villa finished with ten men.
After a dodgy first half and classy final forty-give, Villa lifted the Bass Charity Vase for the first-time in 124 years. It’s no Cup of Traditions, but it’ll do.
Result: Aston Villa 4 - 0 Burton Albion
Context: Pre-season friendly - Bass Charity Vase Final
Goalscorers: Jonathan Kodjia, Albert Adomah, Ritchie De Laet, Gary Gardner
Man of the Match: Ritchie De Laet