Match: Aston Villa U23s v Stoke City U23s
Date: Friday 14th September 2018
Competition: Premier League 2
Venue: Villa Park
Shenton, Jennings, Walker (og)
Sarkic; Walker, Revan, Bedeau, Bazeley-Graham,; Doyle-Hayes (Knibbs), Clarke, Prosser (Blackett-Taylor), Cox (Rowe); Hepburn-Murphy, O'Hare. UNUSED SUBS: Lomax (GK), Bridge.
Story in brief
Aston Villa U23s fell to their second defeat of the season as Stoke City U23s came away with the spoils at Villa Park.
After an uneventful opening 45 minutes, Stoke took the lead early in the second half through skipper Oliver Shenton, who side-footed in at the near post.
Villa's best chance of getting back into the game came with a quarter of the match remaining when Callum O'Hare dribbled into the opposition penalty area and was brought down.
Unfortunately, the young forward could only fire the subsequent spot kick high over the crossbar.
The visitors then capitalised and hit a second, with substitute James Jennings firing down the middle of the goal.
They made sure of the points with minutes remaining – Daniel Jarvis' cross deflecting in off right-back Jake Walker.
No way through
It was one of those nights for the Young Lions, who simply couldn't string the final pass together to work a clear-cut opening.
It meant no goals for the claret and blues for the first time all season – a rare sight over the last year or so.
Even from 12 yards it wasn't to be, as a usually ruthless O'Hare fired over at the Holte End.
Minutes in the tank for Hepburn-Murphy
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy completed 90 minutes at Villa Park as he made his first appearance of the campaign for the U23s.
The striker had mostly been limited to cameo appearances from the bench in Steve Bruce's first team, and now faces more competition with the arrival of Tammy Abraham and the steady return to fitness of Scott Hogan.
Kevin MacDonald's side visit Southampton next Friday night in a 7pm kick-off, before trekking north to face Sunderland on Monday 1st October.