London Road (PET)
By Claire Boden
Villa's first team pre-season preparations got off to a winning start with a 3-2 win against Peterborough United.
Ashley Young, John Carew and Eric Lichaj fired Martin O'Neill's side to victory in what proved to be a testing workout at London Road.
Villa will take plenty of positives from the performance before embarking on the forthcoming training camps in Ireland and Portugal as the big kick-off draws ever nearer.
The claret and blue troops began the match in bright fashion on a balmy evening in Cambridgeshire.
Carew was at the heart of the action displaying some neat touches but it was Young who brought the travelling claret and blue faithful to their feet with 10 minutes on the clock.
The skilful winger picked the ball up on the right flank and spectacularly chipped the 6ft 6in Posh goalkeeper Joe Lewis from 20-yards out.
The scores were level again within 60 seconds, however. Aaron Davies bamboozled the claret and blue defence inside the penalty area before picking his spot past Brad Friedel.
Gary Johnson's outfit suddenly grew in confidence and Grant McCann went close with a long range effort that went inches over Friedel's crossbar.
McCann was proving to be a thorn in the side for Villa and it was the midfielder who brought a parrying save from the USA stopper with a powerful shot from distance.
It was proving to be a good work out for O'Neill's side as the League One team were clearly pumped up for the game looking to impress their new manager Gary Johnson.
And on the half hour mark goalscorer Davies tested the Villa custodian's reflexes with a stinging shot from 25 yards.
Stiliyan Petrov went close on 36 minutes with a header that sailed over the crossbar from Young's teasing centre.
Thereafter, Villa began to take a foothold on the game with youngster Marc Albrighton demonstrating his potential with some clever trickery out wide keeping the Posh defence guessing as to his next move.
Indeed, it was Albrighton who orchestrated Villa's second goal of the evening two minutes before the break.
The 20-year-old dispossessed Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi and powered down the flank.
The midfielder neatly fed the ball to Young who cut the ball back from the touchline to Carew.
With his back to goal, the striker audaciously back heeled the ball into the bottom corner.
O'Neill made one change at the beginning of the second period with Elliot Parish replacing Friedel between the posts.
The boys from B6 started the second half in a positive manner with Young and Downing fashioning chances early doors.
The good work paid dividends on 53 minutes when Lichaj's intelligent run from the edge of the penalty area into the box culminated in a neat header at the back post from Downing's accurate corner to fire Villa into a 3-1 lead.
A flurry of substitutions emerged just short of the hour mark with both managers giving players a much-needed pre-season run-out to iron out any rustiness in the bones.
The League One side pulled a goal back on 67 minutes through Charlie Lee's deflected 25-yard effort, which agonisingly wrong-footed Parish.
It was too little too late as Villa held out for a deserved victory.
In summary, it was a positive night and good start for the boys in claret and blue.
VILLA: Friedel (Parish 46), Lichaj, Dunne (Berry 84), Collins (Lowry 58), Beye, Petrov (Osbourne 68), Reo-Coker (Forrester 84), Downing, Albrighton (Hogg 78), Young (Bannan 68), Carew (Collins Jnr 78).