Aston Villa once again looked unconvincing, but again managed to find a way to get it over the line with a 1-0 win over hosts Yeovil Town in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening at Huish Park.
Yeovil Town had multiple chances to shock the Villans but Conor Hourihane’s 77th minute goal line tap-in from a Jonathan Kodjia cross gave Villa their third win in three to start the season. It’s the first time since 1962 that Villa have started the season with three consecutive wins.
Villa made nine changes to a side that left it late against Wigan. Only Andre Green and Axel Tuanzebe started for Steve Bruce’s side three days prior. Bruce continued with the youth focus giving Jake Doyle-Hayes, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Andre Moreira run outs against the Glovers.
Villa began on the back foot and survived a scrappy and spirited effort from the Glovers in the first half, lucky to go in at halftime 0-0. And while Hourihane’s goal stood as the match winner, three penalty box incidents ultimately shaped the match, the first of which came with five minutes to play in the first half.
A Yeovil corner conceded by some sloppy Villa defending ended up in the back of the net. Yet referee John Brooks ruled Yeovil fouled Glenn Whelan prior to the ball deflecting off Neil Taylor and into the goal. From the looks of it, it was a soft call and proved to foreshadow a later goal-mouth incident in front of the Villa net.
Villa missed out on what looked like a surefire penalty shout in the 52nd minute. Then, in the 59th minute, Brooks awarded Yeovil a soft penalty as Tommy Elphick appeared to impeded Yeovil target Omar Sowunmi on a free kick attempt. Newcomer Moreira, however, bailed out the veteran diving low to his left to save Alex Fisher’s penalty attempt.
With the match still scoreless, Villa began asserting control. Jack Grealish, on as a substitute in the 57th minute, hit the woodwork from outside the box in the 63rd minute. Villa got it back in the box in the 73rd minute when Green nearly flicked a cross past Yeovil’s Nathan Baxter.
Villa eventually broke through in the 77th minute when Kodjia maneuvered to the right corner, spun defender Gary Warren, worked his away along the goal line before squeezing a low cross past Baxter and onto the foot of the onrushing Hourihane. Remarkably, it was Hourihane’s third goal in three games against Yeovil Town.
Brooks inexplicably added six minutes of extra time and a late Yeovil rush in the 95th minute ended with Warren flicking a pass harmlessly over the crossbar. Yet, Villa survived.
Two thousand Villa traveling supporters packed the grounds and saw Villa advance to the second round of the League Cup. Villa dominated possession with 63% of the ball and put four of 12 shots on target. Yeovil managed just two shots on target in 10 shot attempts.
Aston Villa 4-1-4-1: Moreira, Taylor, Tuanzebe, Elphick, De Laet, Whelan, Green (Bree 83), Doyle-Hayes (Grealish 57), Hourihane, Adomah, Hepburn-Murphy (Kodjia 58)
Yeovil Town 4-4-2: Baxter, James, Sowunmi, Warren, Dickinson, Arquin, Cole (Pattison 33), D’Almeida, McDonald, Jaiyesimi (Henry 82), Fisher (Rogers 85)