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Aston Villa Reserves vs. Portsmouth: Match Report


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Villa's young guns continued their impressive start to the defence of their Premier Reserve League South crown with a comfortable 2 - 0 victory over Guy Whittingham's Portsmouth.

Villatalk regular stato talks us through it.

Villa lined up with Marshall in goal, a back 4 of (R - L) Lichaj, Clark, Baker and Lowry, Herd and Bannan in the engine room, Albrighton and Hofbauer on the wings with the Fonz and Weimann up front.

Villa were out of the blocks quickly and created the first chance of the game with their first attack. Chris Herd drove forward to the corner of the box before clipping the ball across to Hofbauer who controlled with his left and hit a half volley right footed which the keeper handled safely.

In Portsmouth's only real chance of the first half, Paris Cowan Hall, their only player who looked a threat all night, capitalised on a mistake from Nathan Baker and had a shot from the edge of the area that it looked like Marshall got a hand to as the ball hit the underside of the bar, but didn't bounce over the line.

Villa pushed forward and Weimann squeezed his way down the byline and forced the keeper into a save at his near post.

It was a clear plan to get the ball to Albrighton whenever possible and after good hold up play from Delfouneso, a common feature throughout the game, he played the winger in and his cross was met by Herd who side footed wide.

Another great cross from Albrighton was headed straight at the keeper by Delfouneso when in truth he should have buried it.

Barry Bannan was having an increasing influence on the game with a lovely range of passing and movement.

Midway through the first half Portsmouth's Gautier Mahoto, one of their two Drogba look-a-likes, was booked for stupidly grabbing the ball from Bannan's hands as he was about to place it for a free kick.

Chris Herd likes to put his foot in but came off worse in a particularly robust challenge and received a bit of treatment.

He obviously wasn't too badly hurt because he soon headed onto the roof of the net before attempting a couple of long range shots, the second of which drew a fantastic save from the keeper.

On the half hour Lionel Mess....sorry, Barry Bannan danced his way into the box, twisted and turned passed 4 defenders before passing the ball into the corner of the net. A simply wonderful goal which I doubt we'll see bettered on the VP pitch this season.

The remainder of the half was low key and Portsmouth had a half chance with Cowan Hall firing over.

Portsmouth's number 9, Danijel Subotic was unsurprisingly replaced at half time after a less than impressive first half. To be fair he was isolated up front on his own, but I think my Nan would have been more mobile than he was and Clark and Baker mopped up anything that did go near him.

Delfouneso did well down the left wing and outpaced Luke Wilkinson but the defender got a challenge in as the Fonz prepared to pull the trigger.

Bannan then played a sublime long ball on the half volley over the top of the Pompey backline which Weimann latched onto before smashing high into the Holte End.

Weimann was cutting an increasingly frustrated figure and he was lucky to escape the ref's notebook when he petulantly kicked the ball away, the ball fortunately going straight to a nearby Pompey player. Weimann then fought well down the right wing but his cut back was behind everyone.

Albrighton then did go into the ref's book for a rash and late challenge Mahoto who sat on the floor waving his arms about (like Drogba), until Marc gestured that he should get up, at which point he leaped to his feet to square up to Albrighton.

With 25 minutes to go, Pompey made the bizarre decision to replace their best player Cowan Hall. He was involved in a heavy challenge shortly before so I guess he must have picked up a knock. I couldn't see any reason why they would take off their only attacking threat.

The game then lulled with not a lot happening besides the other Drogba look-a-like, Gael Nlundulu, receiving a yellow card for taking out Albrighton.

Bannan was less influential and a number of balls were pumped into the box by Villa, but Begovic in the Pompey goal gathered comfortably.

With 15 minutes to go, Villa finally got a deserved second goal. After some brilliant persistence from Weimann down the right, he cut back for the on rushing Chris Herd who curled a delightful effort from the edge of the box over Begovic and into the top left hand corner. Game over.

James Collins replaced Hofbauer for the final 10 minutes and initially replaced him like for like on the left wing.

Shane Lowry then became the latest played to see yellow after a late challenge.

Shortly afterwards Derrick Williams came on in place of Weimann. He moved to the left wing with Collins pushing forward into his more familiar centre forward roll alongside the Fonz.

In the closing stages Delfouneso was played in after a marauding run from Lowry, the Fonz side stepped the first defender and was then clearly pulled back on the edge of the area, possibly just inside, but the ref turned away the Villa players and fans appeals.

Albrighton was replaced by McGurk as Villa saw out the 3 minutes of stoppage time to make it 3 out of the 3 wins this season.

Ratings:

Marshall - 7. In truth had very little to do, but communicated with his defence well.

Lichaj - 7. Solid once again and showed good pace to get out of a couple of tricky situations.

Clark - 8. Dealt with everything (albeit not a lot) thrown at him and distributed well.

Baker - 7. Good in the air and comfortable all game.

Lowry - 7. A couple of sloppy passes early on and was up against Cowan Hall on their right, but defended well and got better as the game went on.

Albrighton - 7. Not his best game, but to be fair we are getting used to him being consistently brilliant. Put a couple of tasty crosses in and ran himself into the ground.

Herd - 8. Tenacious in the tackle, got forward well and scored a great goal.

Bannan - 9 MOTM. Ran the show for the first hour. Turned into Lionel Messi to break the deadlock.

Hofbauer - 6. Struggled a little, but stuck manfully to his task.

Weimann - 6. Did well to create the second goal and held the ball up well at times, but there just don't seem to be any attributes that particularly stand out with him.

Delfouneso - 8. Really good game with his back to goal and outpaced the Pompey back line with a number of charges towards goal.

Collins, Williams and McGurk - 6. Didn't really have time to make an impact.

So there you have it. Don't worry, I'm sure OBE will be back for the Dingles game at VP on Wednesday 7th October!

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