Match report: Villa Res 3-0 Fulham Res
Villa produced another sublime attacking display to move three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier Reserve League South.
Gary Gardner, Graham Burke and Samir Carruthers got the goals as the second string swept aside a hardy Fulham outfit in front of manager Alex McLeish and his coaching staff.
The trio have all had a taste of life with the first team this season and they did their future prospects no harm here.
The boys in claret and blue hit a magnificent seven against Wolves in their last outing at Bodymoor Heath and they could quiet easily have repeated that feat.
A multitude of chances came Villa's way, with Fulham's impressive goalkeeper Csaba Somogyi ensuring the score did not rise above 3-0.
Andreas Weimann was the first to test Somogyi with a looping header which was comfortably held.
Villa keeper Calum Barrett blocked an angled drive from Marcelo Trotta but from there on the home side dominated.
Eric Lichaj cut inside and drove a left-foot shot just wide of the post, while Gardner, Carruthers and Burke had long-range efforts saved.
On 26 minutes, Somogyi blocked Burke's close-range attempt with his legs after a cross-shot from Daniel Johnson bounced back off the post.
The deadlock-breaker came from a cleverly-worked free-kick on 38 minutes.
Captain for the afternoon Barry Bannan played it short to Gardner, who swept a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
A lively start to the second period saw both teams rattle the woodwork.
Fulham winger Ryan Williams saw his cross come back off the post and then Weimann suffered similar fate at the other end after Carruthers pulled Johnson's searching ball back into the danger area.
A fascinating tactical switch, with full-backs Lichaj and Enda Stevens swapping flanks, paid dividends for Villa.
USA international Lichaj cut in from the left and struck a fierce effort which Somogyi brilliantly tipped over.
On 56 minutes, Burke received possession just outside the penalty area and glided through the Fulham defence before slotting home the second goal.
And 13 minutes later, Stevens motored down the right and crossed for Carruthers who expertly controlled and finished to make it 3-0.
Barrett had a relatively quiet afternoon but denied Trotta twice in the last 10 minutes with excellent blocks.
Villa had further chances to add to the scoring, Somogyi getting down to his left to push away Burke's drive before denying Weimann who got on the end of a neat move involving Bannan and Gardner.
VILLA: Barrett, Lichaj, Williams, Baker, Stevens, Carruthers, Gardner, Bannan, Johnson, Burke, Weimann. Subs: Nelson-Addy, Watkins, Caira [for Bannan, 89], Drennan [for Burke, 77], Cameron [for Gardner, 59].
FULHAM: Somogyi, Grimmer, Kavanagh, Harris, Burn, Minkwitz, Frei, Donegan, Dalla Valle, Trotta, Williams. Subs: Smith, Passley [for Donegan, 26], Bettache, Banga [for Williams, 66], Woodrow.
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