Match: Aston Villa U23s vs West Bromwich Albion U23s
Competition: Premier League 2
Date: Monday 3rd February 2020
Venue: Bodymoor Heath
West Brom: Clayton-Phillips (12)
Sinisalo, Kesler, Revan, Burton, Bridge, Birch, Philogene-Bidace, Tait (Chukwuemeka 63), Davis (Archer 27), Vassilev, Wright (Hooper 72)
Unused subs: Searle (GK), Odutayo
Story in brief
Aston Villa’s Under-23s suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.
Mark Delaney’s side played host to the Baggies in front of a bumper crowd at Bodymoor Heath, but were undone by Nick Clayton-Phillips early effort.
Villa hit the woodwork on numerous occasions, and Tyreik Wright missed a first-half penalty, but they couldn’t make their chances count on a frustrating evening.
They made a bright start to proceedings, and Indiana Vassilev was denied at point-blank range by Josh Griffiths in the Baggies goal inside 10 minutes.
Just a few minutes later, that missed chance would be rued as the visitors took the lead.
George Harmon’s cross from the left-hand side evaded everyone in the middle, but Clayton-Phillips was on-hand at the back post to smash home the opener.
The action continued at the Villa end, and Mark Delaney had Viljami Sinisalo to thank for keeping the score at 1-0.
The 18-year-old produced three saves in a matter of minutes, all in spectacular fashion, to keep his side in the game.
Having absorbed the momentary pressure, it was then Villa’s turn to lay siege on the visitor’s goal.
Keinan Davis did well to roll an Albion defender inside the box, before unleashing a fearsome drive which clipped the inside of the post and across the face of goal.
Despite the missed chance, it looked as though Villa would at least head into the break on level terms, when Michael Tait was dragged down inside the area.
Wright stepped up to take the ensuing penalty, but his low effort was palmed clear by Griffiths.
Villa would squeeze in another effort before the interval, but the lively Jaden Philogene-Bidace could only find Griffith’s left-hand post from long range, adding to hosts’ frustration.
The second half was one of fewer chances, but Philogene-Bidace did go close to finding a late leveller on a couple of occasions.
Ultimately, it was not to be for Mark Delaney’s men, who will look regroup ahead of their next fixture.
Woodwork to Albion’s rescue
Villa created plenty of chances against the Baggies, but could not find the decisive touch on more than one occasion.
Keinan Davis clipped the inside of the post in the first half with a thunderous strike, before Jaden Philogene-Bidace struck the opposite one from long range.
One of the bright spots from Monday’s game was the performance of the aforementioned Philogene-Bidace.
Floating across the frontline throughout the game, the 17-year-old often showed flashes of brilliance and was unfortunate not to score a couple.
Having hit the post early on, he continued to be in the right positions as the game wore on, and could’ve levelled things up late on when he lashed a volley just wide of the post.
The Under-23s travel to Fulham next Friday (14th), with kick-off set for 7pm, before taking on Portsmouth the following week.
Their next home game is against Reading on March 2nd.