Middlesbrough U18 0-1 Villa U18: Sellars inspires Villa to win
The claret and blues are hoping to fare much better in phase two of the competition after finishing second from bottom of their group in the first half of the season.
And they got off to a perfect start with Jerell Sellars - who was snapped up from Lincoln City in the summer - scoring his first goal of the campaign on 42 minutes.
It was the perfect way for Tony McAndrew's team to bounce back after their disappointing FA Youth Cup exit at the hands of Peterborough.
VILLA: Watkins, Webb, Toner, Cowans, Dempsey, Lewis, Crooks, Abdo, Robinson, Sellars, Calder. Subs: Strain, Hill, O'Brien, Zazrivec, Crowley.