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Report: Villa U21 1-0 Fulham U21
Niall Mason's goal the difference.
28th Jan 2016
Report: Villa U21 1-0 Fulham U21


Liles

Niall Mason's first half goal earned our youngsters their second win this week in a well-contested match with Fulham at Bodymoor Heath.

Without the late drama of Monday's derby win over Wolves, this clash was equally compelling.

The windy conditions in Warwickshire made it difficult for both sides to get the ball down but much like in the 2-2 reverse meeting back in November, it was an entertaing affair.

Fulham started brightly and only a brave header from Kevin Toner diverted Lucas De La Torre's goalbound strike over the crossbar.

His fellow defender Tom Leggett excelled at right-back - disciplined in defence and effective in attack. stopped Dennis Adenrian in his tracks as the visitors' winger embarked on a fine run down the right.

The claret and blues grew into the contest and began to play their crisp, attacking game.

Midfielder Rory Hale did well to meet a clever ball across field - his first-time strike was marginally over the target.

Yet, only a confident save from Viktor Johansson kept the scores level from Joshua Walker's placed effort.

Back in the starting XI following his late substitute appearance at Wolves on Monday, Khalid Abdo looked a big threat for Villa both in front of goal and with his delivery into the area - his turn and shot midway through the first period one of Villa's better efforts.

Moments later, his superb chipped ball in from the right flank searched for Riccardo Calder - Ryheem Shecklefield cleared for a corner - Toner firing the resultant set piece wide.

The Londoners went close just after the half hour mark.

Forward Stephen Humphrys could and arguably should have converted from a dangerous cross into the area.

They were soon to rue those missed chances as the home side took the lead with a cleverly crafted opener.

Standout performer Leggett found space down the right flank and his perfectly weighted ball was swept home by Mason.

The half-time message from the home coaching staff was clear - push for a second.

Left-back Lewis Kinsella charged down the left flank and his crisp effort was cleared.

Fresh from his two-goals in midweek, Sellars, always a tricky customer in the box, unleashed a drive and his low effort almost trickled into the bottom corner - the Fulham stopper equal to it.

Midfielder Henry Cowans was desperately unlucky as his free-kick from 30 yards was up and over the wall and crashed off the underside of the crossbar - an effort applauded by those in attendance.

In what was a technical battle with few clear openings, a fine curling strike from Joshua Smile was brilliantly saved by the home stopper.

As the visitors chased a leveller the game opened up and the hosts looked a threat on the break.

There was a let off deep into second half stoppage time when the lively De La Torre's strike drifted wide of the post.

Villa U21: Johansson, Leggett, Toner, Webb, Kinsella (C), Hale, Mason, Cowans (Blackett-Taylor), Calder, Abdo (Green 75), Sellars. Unused subs: Bannister, Swift, Suliman.

Fulham U21: Joronen, Sheckleford, Pino Soler, Davies, Elworthy, Smile (C), de la Torre, Kwietniewski (Donnelly 68), Humphrys, Adeniran (Adebayo 86), Walker. Unused subs: Dawber.

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