By Tom Otrebski & James Jeavons
A first-half double from Conor Hourihane and James Chester set the tone for Villa’s first outing of pre-season before Harry McKirdy’s goal wrapped up a 3-0 win at Kidderminster Harriers.
A frenetic opening quarter - with chances created at both ends – was punctuated by Hourihane who fastened on to a loose ball from a rebound to drill Villa in front from close range with nine minutes gone.
On the half-hour, the Republic of Ireland international would turn provider for Chester who arrived at the right time to turn home Hourihane’s inviting free-kick from inside the six-yard box.
The hosts were guilty of missing chances at the other end, with Liam Truslove spurning the best of those opportunities, side-footing wide after being teed up by Joe Ironside. Mark Bunn was also forced into a smart save at his near post.
A well-timed break from Scott Hogan nearly produced a third goal for Villa - the striker’s cross was turned just wide of the target by a stretching Liam Daly.
After the interval, the Harriers’ Andre Brown screwed an effort across goal and wide before Ross McCormack saw a shot beaten away by the goalkeeper and a second drive blocked over the crossbar.
As the game entered its final quarter, the visitors were denied a third by the woodwork. Birkir Bjarnason’s cross into the middle evaded everyone in a black shirt and was met by a retreating defender who diverted the ball against his own crossbar before the home side cleared their lines.
Villa did find the net a third time inside the final ten minutes when Harry McKirdy stabbed in a loose ball following fellow substitute, Corey Taylor’s knockdown.
Goals from Andre Green, Henri Lansbury (2) and Gabriel Agbonlahor earned Villa a comfortable 4-0 win over Telford United.
Steve Bruce’s men made a solid start to the game despite suffering a couple of set-backs early on as both Albert Adomah and Nathan Baker departed due to injury concerns - allowing youngsters Callum O’Hare and Mitchell Clark to come on respectively.
It was Green tearing up the grass down our left as a superbly timed through ball from Jordan Veretout allowed the youngster to race into the box before unleashing a thunderbolt of a left foot shot but he could only watch it strike the crossbar.
However, Green’s luck wasn’t to be out for too long as some neat build-up play allowed him to pick the ball up on the left hand side before firing home a low shot from the edge of the box.
Villa then picked up exactly where they left off in the second half.
A neat one two from Keinan Davis and O’Hare resulted in the former being hacked down by the goalkeeper which in turn allowed Lansbury to convert the resulting penalty to double our lead.
It was just moments later when Villa made it three after the ball made it’s way out to James Bree on the right.
He then whipped in a teasing ball to find Agbonlahor who nodded home from six yards.
Youngsters Jake Doyle-Hayes, Harvey Knibbs and Kelsey Mooney were all given valuable game time while Chris Samba impressed greatly.
Lansbury completed the scoring late on with another spot-kick after Clark was fouled in the box.