Match: Aston Villa U23s v Plymouth Argyle U23s
Date: Friday 30th November 2018
Competition: Premier League Cup
Venue: Villa Park
Sarkic, Bazeley-Graham, Bedeau, Patterson, Rowe, Prosser, Clarke, Blackett-Taylor (Knibbs), Cox, McKirdy (Walker), Hepburn-Murphy (Pastorek). UNUSED SUBS: Lomax (GK).
Story in brief
Aston Villa U23s took full control of Premier League Cup Group F after beating Plymouth Argyle U23s 1-0 at Villa Park.
Already four points clear of Argyle at the start of the night, Villa took command to go within touching distance of qualification to the knockout rounds after Jordan Cox's tap-in separated the teams.
The Young Lions had pressed all evening for the opener, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Harry McKirdy both rounding the goalkeeper in the first half, only for tight angles to deny them on both occasions.
But midway through the second period, midfielder Jack Clarke floated a lovely ball into McKirdy on the left edge of the six-yard box, and he squared for Cox to sweep home.
Three wins from three and 10 goals without reply sees Villa sitting pretty on nine points at the summit of Group F.
There's a breathing space of five points to second place after Derby County beat Bristol City, but, more importantly, it's a seven-point gap to third – with the top two going into the last 16 in the New Year.
Victory in mid-January away at Bristol City, who the Young Lions beat 8-0 earlier in the campaign, could now confirm the claret and blues' place in the knockouts.
Villa play at Villa Park again next Friday night when they host Southampton U23s.
Then, they visit Stoke City on Monday 17th December for their final outing of a successful 2018.
Watch the full replay of the game below.