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Match report: Tamworth 1-2 Villa XI

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Match report: Tamworth 1-2 Villa XI

By Dan Harrison

Graham Burke scored a superb stoppage time winner to give Villa's second string a victory over Tamworth.

The in-form Irish forward completed a claret and blue comeback with his second goal of pre-season, after Kevin MacDonald's side trailed in the clash at the Lamb ground.

And Daniel Johnson opened his account for the season to cancel out Daniel Bradley's early deadlock-breaker.

Jonathan Hogg skippered the young Villa outfit just 24 hours after his first appearance of the campaign in the senior side's 2-0 friendly defeat at Derby County, while there were also outings for veteran keeper Andy Marshall and USA defender Eric Lichaj.

The visitors came under pressure early on as the Lambs looked to impose their height advantage at set-pieces.

Kieron St Aimee headed wide at the back post from Connor Gudger, while Marshall was tested by towering centre-back Francino Francis who met a Liam Francis corner at the back post.

There was little Marshall could do about Daniel Bradley's 10th minute thunderbolt from the edge of the box which put the hosts in the lead.

But it took Villa just six minutes to restore parity when Johnson got on the end of an incisive pass from Samir Carruthers before despatching a powerful angled drive.

Two decent opportunities fell Carruthers' way, the former Arsenal trainee narrowly missing the target on both occasions after excellent movement from Lichaj and Connor Taylor on the flanks.

And Gary Gardner, another player to feature at Pride Park on Wednesday night, curled a free-kick inches past the post.

It seemed only the woodwork could deny Villa after the break.

Firstly, Gardner drilled a 30-yard effort against the bar, while Johnson struck the post after a surging run down the left flank.

For the Lambs, Bradley followed up his earlier effort with a rasping drive which sailed over.

But Burke, who had earlier forced Tamworth's Joe Collister to save with his legs, had the final say two minutes into injury time when he brilliantly controlled sub Darious Darkin's precise through ball before showing great composure to round the keeper and slot into an empty net.

TAMWORTH: Collister, Reynolds, Habergham, Bradley, F Francis, L Francis, Shariff, MacDonald, Mills, St Aimee, Gudger. Subs: Bottimer [for Reynolds, HT], Hedge, Kanyuka, Thomas [for St Aimee, 58], Patterson [for Habergham, 58].

VILLA: Marshall; Nelson-Addy, Bryan, Williams, Lichaj; Carruthers, Gardner, Hogg, Johnson; Burke, Taylor. Subs: Caira [for Carruthers, 84], Parish, Darkin [for Taylor, 59], Donacien [for Bryan, 81], Cameron [for Lichaj, 59], Juan Serrano [for Hogg, 59], Barton [for Gardner, 71], Webb [for Nelson-Addy, 87].

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 4th August 2011
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