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Match report: Norwich Reserves 1-1 Villa Reserves

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Match report: Norwich Reserves 1-1 Villa Reserves

By Dan Harrison at Carrow Road

Connor Taylor's second-half strike extended Villa's unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier Reserve League to four matches.

The claret and blues fell behind to Aaron Wilbraham's 56th minute opener but were quick to hit back against an experienced Norwich outfit.

It was an excellent workout for the away team although they had goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist to thank for three wonderful saves to keep the Canaries at bay.

The entire Villa squad that descended on East Anglia are eligible for the NextGen Series, so this second string clash offered the young guns a final opportunity to stake a claim for the trip to Fenerbahce in eight days time.

By contrast, Norwich fielded several household names from the side that clinched promotion to the Barclays Premier League last term.

The physical threat of last season's top scorer Grant Holt provided an intriguing test for fledgling centre-back pair Derrick Williams and Janoi Donacien.

The formidable marksman, who bagged 21 goals for the Canaries in 2010-11, produced the only moment of real inspiration in a tense first-half when his stinging volley was brilliantly pushed away by Siegrist.

But the two sides had to settle for mainly half-chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Courtney Cameron and Gary Gardner both miscued with headers for Villa, while Graham Burke's curling 30-yard effort was easily held by Declan Rudd.

Wilbraham initially suffered similar fate for the hosts, slicing a first-time effort well off target from just inside the box before his audacious lob went wide of the goal.

There were no shortage of chances in a breathless second-half, which came to life courtesy of two stunning pieces of shot-stopping from Siegrist.

The Switzerland U21 international got down to his left to save Martin's powerful low free-kick and moments later he re-adjusted his position brilliantly to tip over a George Francomb drive which took a wicked double deflection.

The Canaries' pressure paid off on 56 minutes when Wilbraham arrived at the back post to thump Martin's teasing cross high into the net from close range.

But Villa were level within two minutes.

After making a surging from the right-back position, Ebby Nelson-Addy found Taylor in space just outside the box.

The Coventry-born striker set himself before letting fly and his effort looped over keeper Declan Rudd via a deflection off Francomb's outstretched boot.

There was no let-up in the tempo of the match - Gardner headed inches wide after arriving late at the near post to meet Cameron's precise left-wing cross and Norwich's Andrew Surman was unlucky to see a delightful left-foot curler come back off the bar.

The woodwork came to Villa's rescue yet again two minutes from time when Simon Lappin bent a delightful effort against the post.

NORWICH: Rudd, Barker, De Laet, Drury, Francomb, Lappin, Surman, Ball, C Martin, Wilbraham, Holt. Subs: Clunan [for Ball, 88], Matthews, Loza, McKenzie [for Francomb, 77], Florence.

VILLA: Siegrist, Nelson-Addy, Donacien, Williams, Kinsella, Gardner, Johnson, Burke, Cameron, Robinson, Taylor. Subs: Caira [for Burke, 87], Barrett, Drennan [for Robinson, 69], Bryan, Barton.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 18th October 2011
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