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FA Youth Cup Round 5 – Villa vs. Ipswich: A match report


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by OutByEaster?

Another great performance from our youngsters as we trounced Ipswich 5-0 to march into the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup and some individual performances that have enhanced blossoming reputations with a real show of quality.

Ahh, the FA Youth Cup, it’s just like the real FA Cup only with more rounds and you don’t have to play Man Utd.

A quick pint first in the splendidly elegant surrounds of the Holte Hotel and then on to join a decent crowd on a cold, clear, dry night at Villa Park.

Villa lined up in the famous claret and blue, tonight rendered even more beautiful by the absence of a sponsor’s name. Parish in goal with a back four (left to right) of Baker, Clark, Roome and Simmonds behind a midfield four of Bannan, Hofbauer, Forrester and Albrighton. Up front were the promising Delfouneso and Collins.

It was Ipswich who started the brighter of the two sides and we struggled to get any possession in the opening five minutes or so. Ipswich had a size advantage and seemed organised and rugged and initially we seemed to struggle to adjust. It was ever so slightly against the run of play then that Albrighton picked up a ball on the right hand side and swung over a cross that Delfouneso met full on the volley. Rifling into the bottom corner of the net from just inside the area for one nil.

From then on it was our game.

Good work from Forrester saw him play a ball over the top that Delfouneso just failed to control on his chest when through, and the right hand side had started to belong to Albrighton with a succession of very good crosses raining into the Ipswich box.

Ipswich were dangerous on the break and looked to be on for an equaliser when Jordan Rhodes was put through. Albrighton gave him a twenty yard head start from the half way line, chased him down and then hooked a leg around to steal the ball in one of the best defensive challenges I’ve seen in years. The referee disgracefully gave a free kick. Albrighton was justifiably stunned. Not as stunned as he was a moment later when the ref produced a red card. Albrighton sent off for a professional foul. Thankfully, the red card seemed to stun the referee as much as anyone and he popped it back in his pocket before pulling out a yellow instead. The crowd howled. Albrighton picked his heart back up off the floor and got on with dismantling the Ipswich defence.

It was one of 114 fouls (ish) that the referee gave in the first half and although he improved after the break, he was fussy throughout.

No denying the foul on Nathan Delfouneso that led to our second though and from 25 yards out Barry Bannan flighted a wonderful ball up, over the wall and into the back of the net via a touch from the keeper and a post. A fabulous free kick, the equal of Ashley’s against Blackburn and Barry looked delighted with it.

He had a shot blocked from yet another good Albrighton cross just before half time and although Ipswich had a headed effort go just over the Villa bar it would be a one-eyed tractor boy indeed who would deny us a thoroughly deserved 2-0 half time lead.

Ipswich started the second half as fired up as they’d started the first and with a little bit more edge. Delfouneso squared up to the combative Paul Murphy and Kurt Robinson had a brief pushing match with Forrester. In between, Bannan played Collins in but a poor first touch meant he couldn’t add to our scoring.

When Hofbauer played him in again shortly afterwards, he made no mistake in rounding the keeper and calmly slotting home. The quality of both the ball and Collins’s finish making it look deceptively easy.

Forrester was replaced on 64 minutes by Weinmann, bringing our Austrian contingent to two. More significantly it brought Barry Bannan into the centre from where he pulled the strings for the remainder of the game.

Delfouneso was threatening and shot over the bar a few minutes later. He was then played in but elected to go down under a challenge when he might have been able to stay on his feet.

Ipswich had a half chance on 70 minutes that was probably their best of the night, but a snap shot from inside the box swung around a foot wide.

They had sent a number of men forward and were caught out inexplicably playing a high line for offside twenty yards inside our half. Bannan and Delfouneso found themselves alone and running at the Ipswich keeper. Bannan dragged him wider than he’d have liked before unselfishly slipping the ball inside to Delfouneso to slot into an empty net. I would hope one or two of our first teamers might take note.

Four-nil and Collins almost made it five a moment later, another inch perfect Bannan through ball left him one on one with the keeper but his shot whistled just past the post. He was close again a moment later with an Albrighton cross just evading his outstretched leg and the keeper nowhere.

Albrighton was replaced on 79 by Bradley, receiving a well-deserved standing ovation as he left the field.

Nathan Delfouneso meanwhile was hunting his hat trick and almost got it after a jinking solo run through the Ipswich defence saw him beat the keeper from a tight angle but his shot was cleared off the line.

Baker should have scored from the resulting Bannan corner, his header passing just over the bar.

We made it three Austrians in the 88th minute with the keeper Dau getting his first opportunity to defend the Holte End.

Delfouneso completed his personal trio as well after a lovely through ball from (who else) Bannan left him with just the onrushing keeper to beat. A shot straight through his legs and Delfouneso was celebrating like he’d won the cup. As the final whistle went he made a grab for the match ball and kept a hold of it throughout the handshakes, the warm downs and the walk down the tunnel. Frankly I’ll be surprised if that ball doesn’t find it’s way into Nathan’s bed come lights out.

A five nil victory over a decent side, progress into the sixth round of the FA youth cup, great performances from players who might one day be great and a wonderful evenings entertainment for nowt. If you weren’t there, don’t worry somebody who was will be telling you how good it was for weeks.


Parish (6) – Not a great deal to do, but looked a little unsure on crosses. He would probably have made up for that with shot stopping, but there were no shots.

Simmonds (7) – I’ve seem him before in his one and only reserve appearance and he looked the same now as he did then, a promising hardworking defender with a bit of grit and determination.

Clark (8.) – Probably the best compliment I can give him is that he looked older than everyone else. A calm, sensible, dominant defender with a very bright future.

Roome (7) – This is the first time I’ve seen the flat headed youngster play and he looked decent enough, good in the tackle and didn’t get caught out positionally.

Baker (8.) – Another one I hadn’t seen before and a very pleasant surprise. Tackled anything that came near him and supported attacks well. He’s a good size and seems a good athlete. He’s one to keep an eye on.

Albrighton (9) - Fantastic tonight, he played in a huge number of accurate crosses from the right wing as ever and always looked a danger down the flank. What impressed me more was the work he got through defensively and his desire to win balls back. Chased lost causes and seemed to find most of them. He’ll still be wondering how he ended up with a booking against his name.

Forrester (7) – Busy and inventive, he needs to develop the art of finding a yard of space. If he can do that he’ll be able to dominate games with his range of passing and vision.

Hofbauer (7) – A good performance from our number one Austrian, he’s not as flashy as some of the other members of this team but he’s quietly productive from the middle of the park.

Bannan (9) – A goal and two assists for King Barry and he got better and better as the game went on. His passing was excellent tonight and he might have scored more than once coming in for crosses. The highlight was his goal, but there was much to be admired elsewhere. Barry makes this team tick.

Collins (7) – Not seen him before, but I know he’s our top scorer at this level and you can see how. He’s a big strong willing lad with a desire to score goals. Took his goal well, ran hard all night and could have one or two more. Promising.

Delfouneso (9) – This is the first time I’ve seen Delfouneso play at his own age level and he was superb. If you sat down and designed a striker, you’d list all the things he has; there really doesn’t seem to anything missing. He took all of his goals with a calm assuredness (think Anelka) bullied the Ipswich defence (think Adebayor) and worked hard at linking up play (think Drogba) and just to put it into perspective for you he was the second youngest player in our starting eleven. This young man can be anything he wants to be in football.

Let’s hope for a home draw in the sixth round, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you but you really should make an effort to go you know. It's not a decision you'll regret.

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Thanks for the report and I agree with the ratings as they are just as I saw them.

My first look at this group and they are a different level altogether to the cup winning team from a few years ago. The front 6 were fantastic and Delfouneso is, as described, the model striker. I seriously think he could be making his debut within 12 months, he is that good.

This lot will win this cup.

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Superb report - i was due to go but a last minute transport problem hitched me.

The next round, we are away to Carlisle - they beat Southend last night 2-0 i believe.

Should be a great chance of progression again.

Happy 17th birthday to Nathan for Saturday - a great early present last night !

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