Match report: Blackburn Res 0-0 Villa Res
A hard-fought point was the least 10-man Villa deserved from a tricky opening Barclays Premier Reserve League fixture.
The away side created a host of chances against Blackburn and remained the more aggressive side despite having to play more than half the match with a numerical disadvantage after Nathan Baker saw red.
Teenage striker Graham Burke continued his exceptional pre-season form and twice tested Rovers keeper Matthew Urwin, while Andreas Weimann and Daniel Johnson also had good opportunities.
It was a smooth readjustment to the bread and butter of domestic action for many of Kevin MacDonald's young charges following their recent overseas adventures.
Seven of the starting XI featured in the opening NextGen Series clash against Dutch giants Ajax in Amsterdam last Wednesday, while Baker and Andreas Weimann donned claret and blue jerseys for the first time since returning back from the U20 World Cup in Columbia.
Slipping back into regular reserve league football posed few problems for the visitors who went straight on the attack.
Skipper for the evening Jonathan Hogg saw an early effort charged down following a swift counter-attack involving Weimann and Burke.
There were two chances for Austrian striker Weimann, who blasted over after reaching Courtney Cameron's knockdown and then sent a header off target from a menacing Samir Carruthers free-kick.
Urwin denied livewire Burke with his legs after neat move down the right hand side and later made a more routine save when the Irishman got on the end of a slick Villa passing move.
But the boys in claret and blue were dealt a blow five minutes before the break when Baker's firm challenge on Hugo Fernandez Molina was punished with a straight red.
MacDonald's men regrouped at the break and emerged undeterred by the task of tackling a powerful Blackburn outfit with 10 men.
They continued on the front foot - Carruthers curling a free-kick just above the upright and Weimann seeing a cross-cum shot hacked clear from the six-yard area.
It took until midway through the second half for the hosts to finally test Benjamin Siegrist. The Swiss keeper leapt to his right to push away Josh Morris' well-struck 18-yard drive.
Just as the contest seemed to be petering out, Carruthers fed Johnson with a golden opportunity inside the penalty area but the midfielder missed the target with his angled shot.
Villa's reserves are back in action on Bank Holiday Monday [August 29] with an early-afternoon clash against Wigan at Hinckley [ko 2pm].
BLACKBURN: Urwin, Ramm, Henley, Molina, O'Connor, Anderson, Morris, O'Sullivan, Blackman, Cotton, Aley. Subs: MaClaren [for Cotton, 77], Dilo, Hanley [for Blackman, 61], Haley [for Anderson, 61], Knowles.
VILLA: Siegrist; Nelson-Addy, Williams, Baker, Lowry; Carruthers, Johnson, Hogg, Cameron; Burke, Weimann. Subs: Taylor [for Weimann, 63], Barrett, Caira [for Hogg, 69], Ward, Donacien.
Picture courtesy of Blackburn Rovers FC.
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