Villa U18 4-3 Plymouth U18: Young guns progress in Youth Cup
Villa were made to work hard for their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, but they eventually overcame Plymouth in a seven-goal thriller.
An Aaron Bentley own goal opened the scoring, while Jerell Sellars, Ryan Strain and Khalid Abdo were also on target.
But the visitors continued to peg the claret and blues back before eventually succumbing to Abdo's winner.
Villa got off to a dream start, breaching the Pilgrims' back line inside seven minutes.
Henry Cowans whipped in a free-kick at pace from the left, Thomas Strain flicked on with an outstretched leg and helpless Plymouth defender Aaron Bentley got the final touch.
But Bentley quickly made amends by thumping home an equaliser on 19 minutes. The hosts failed to deal with a free-kick into the box and Bentley smashed a half-volley high into the net.
Then in-form hotshot Sellars tried to take the tie by the scruff of the neck. Moments after seeing a powerful low drive pushed behind by keeper Andrew Hannah, he succeeded in firing Villa back in front.
It was a well-orchestrated team move with Tomas Zazrivec and Ryan Strain working the ball down the right before Sellars pivoted inside and tucked a shot into the bottom corner.
Again, though, Plymouth were quick to strike back and six minutes before the break Allen curled an inswinging free-kick past keeper Dylan Forth from the corner of the box.
Thomas Strain was denied on the stroke of half time when keeper Andrew Hannah parried his bullet close-range header to safety.
Nine minutes after the break, it was the younger of the two Strain brothers, Ryan, who restored the advantage.
Moments after a Sellars effort cannoned off the bar, Strain found the net with a deflected effort from around 18-yards.
Just before the hour mark, Plymouth equalised yet again with skipper Ben Purrington dispatching Jake Miller's corner with a diving header.
Abdo finally put the tie to bed on 74 minutes, finding the bottom corner with a delightful curling effort from 20 yards.
VILLA: Forth, Zazrivec, Wildin, Cowans, Lyden, Lyons-Foster, R Strain, Sellars, T Strain, Abdo, Calder. Subs: O'Brien [for Zazrivec, 75], Bannister, McKirdy [for T Strain, 79, Green [for Sellars, 82], Taylor.
PLYMOUTH: Hannah, Hughes, Purrington, Allen, Summers, Bentley, Wheatley, Asumadu-Sakyi, Rooney, Miller, Haller. Subs: Hutchinson, Harvey, Stark [for Rooney, 78], Moxham [for Summers, HT], Sargent [for Asumadu-Sakyi, 75].
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