Match report: Burton Albion 1-2 Villa
A classy debut strike from Brett Holman ensured a winning start for new manager Paul Lambert.
Although Villa fell behind early on to Robbie Weir's spectacular long-range effort, their football at times was as glowing as the new lime green away kit.
An own goal from Marcus Holness restored parity in a first-half which saw another new signing Karim El Ahmadi sparkle in midfield.
Holman's then bagged the winner late in the second period to cap a bright display from Lambert's Lions.
It was a fitting way to usher in Villa's bright new era.
The 2,300 travelling supporters didn't hold back in showing their appreciation for new boss Lambert.
Chants of "Lambert, give us a wave" were duly acknowledged by the Scotsman as he patrolled the technical area during his first match at the helm.
As well as the excitement for the new man on the touchline, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding fresh faces on the pitch.
Lambert named summer arrivals El Ahmadi and Matthew Lowton in the starting XI, while Enda Stevens, Daniel Johnson, Samir Carruthers and goalkeeper Andrew Marshall all made their first starts for the club.
Weir did his best to spoil the party atmosphere among the Villa fans when his stunning 30-yard shot nestled in the corner of the net on nine minutes.
Nevertheless, it did little to stop the travelling contingent enjoying Villa's high-tempo, incisive football.
El Ahmadi linked play with elegance and intelligence in the central ground.
The former Feyenoord man glided through the middle of the park and forced keeper Ross Atkins into a low save on 11 minutes.
Returning striker Darren Bent arrived a fraction too late to meet a cross from Stevens after the first of several driving runs from Charles N'Zogbia.
Speculative ong-range attempts from Carruthers and Johnson veered just off target, while Bent's instinctive first-time effort rolled inches wide after he beat the offside trap to connect with Johnson's chipped ball.
The equaliser arrived three minutes before the break following another swift, vibrant attack down the left hand side.
Irish full-back Stevens capped a bright individual first-half display by racing on to Carruthers' intricate pass.
He served a perfect low cross on a plate for Weimann, whose effort went in off defender Holness.
Holman took centre stage in the second-half as Lambert opted to change his entire outfield personnel.
The Australian international and midfielder Barry Bannan were the standout performers in a revamped Villa line-up.
The pair almost combined when Bannan's cross to the back post was just out of reach for his outstreched team-mate.
Another second-half sub Stephen Warnock motored on to a perfectly-weighted cross-field ball from Bannan but Burton's replacement keeper Dean Lyness intercepted the cross before Nathan Delfouneso could get there.
Bannan went for goal himself on two occasions - firstly rifling a long-range effort just over before forcing Lyness to get down and tip his free-kick around the post.
But Holman, who shone with his high work-rate and impressive support play, had the final say.
Seven minutes from time, the ex-AZ Alkmaar attacker worked his way into the box from the left hand side and guided a classy finish in to the far corner to give Lambert a winning start.
BURTON: Atkins, O'Connor, McCrory, Stanton, Holness, Corbett, Weir, Downing, Maghoma, Zola, Yussuf. Subs: Lyness, Webster, Diamond, Taylor, Richards, Palmer, Green, Phillips, Martin, Dyer, Allen, Bell.
VILLA [First-half]: Marshall, Hutton, Clark, Lowton, Stevens, Carruthers, Johnson, El Ahmadi, N'Zogbia, Weimann, Bent .
VILLA [Second-half]: Marshall, Lichaj, Collins, Baker, Warnock, Gardner, Herd, Bannan, Holman, Delfouneso, Agbonlahor.
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