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Match report: Villa Res 3-1 Liverpool Res
Brace for Gardner and one for Albrighton in convincing second string win.
4th Apr 2011
Match report: Villa Res 3-1 Liverpool Res


By Dan Harrison

Gary Gardner and Marc Albrighton led the way as Villa's reserves returned to winning ways against Liverpool.

A first outing at Villa Park since the 3-2 win over Wolves in October went brilliantly for Kevin MacDonald's men as they ended a sequence of four straight defeats.

Albrighton turned on the style on his return to second string action, scoring Villa's first as well as laying on the third for Gardner, who also scored from the penalty spot.

And although the Reds enjoyed bright spells at the beginning and end of the contest, Toni Brito Silva's effort proved to be no more than a consolation.

The strong claret and blues line-up, featuring Albrighton, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker and Chris Herd, had to absorb plenty of pressure from the away side in the early stages.

Veteran goalkeeper Andy Marshall denied Thomas Ince inside the opening minute after he latched on to David Ngog's cutback.

Ince beat the offside trap moments later but was thwarted when he tried shoot across Marshall.

However, the hosts soon clicked into gear and never looked back once Albrighton and the impressive Harry Forrester got into their stride.

Albrighton went close with two attempts from outside the box and Forrester rattled the bar from eight yards after meeting Gardner's neat reverse pass.

It was the front two who combined to great effect to put Villa ahead on 31 minutes.

Forrester produced a cutback from the left wing after some clever interplay with Ellis Deeney and Moustapha Salifou. Albrighton arrived at the back post to hammer a powerful volley past Reds keeper Martin Hansen.

The second on 42 minutes came from the penalty spot, Andre Wisdom bundling Forrester to the ground following Baker's long clearance into the Liverpool box. Gardner coolly stepped up to send Hansen the wrong way.

Villa remained on the front foot after the break, with Gardner converting the third seven minutes in to the second period.

He connected with Albrighton's looping first time cross from the right and powered in a header at the back post.

Six minutes later, Silva got the better of Baker and hit a bullet effort across Marshall to pull a goal back for Liverpool.

Jesus Fernandez threatened with a couple of speculative efforts for the Reds but Villa saw off the threat to earn three points.

VILLA: Marshall, Herd, Baker, Clark, Deeney, Berry, Bradley, Salifou, Gardner, Albrighton, Forrester. Substitutes: Lampkin (for Gardner, 85), Watkins, Barton, Graham (for Albrighton, 89), Melvin.

LIVERPOOL: Hansen, Mendy, Irwin, Regan, Wisdom, Shelvey, Silva, Roberts, Ngog, Fernandez, Ince. Substitutes: Cooper, Chamberlain, King, Thomas (for Shelvey, 56), Kohlert.

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