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Report: Villa U21 2-1 Swansea U21

Garde's watching brief Jordan Veretout: We must put pride back in the badge
Report: Villa U21 2-1 Swansea U21

Two first half headers sent Villa on their way to a crucial victory over Swansea at Walsall's Banks's Stadium.

Jordan Lyden captained the side while forward Keinan Davis was named in the starting XI in a youthful claret and blue line-up.

Villa had to play the final half an hour with 10-men after Tom Leggett was controversially dismissed for two bookable offences.

The visitors started the brighter and had a glorious chance to draw first blood in the opening minutes.

Alex Bray latched onto Oliver McBurnie's knockdown but steered his effort over the target.

Moments later, strong play from Swansea's Alex Bray ensured full-back Leggett was forced to put the ball behind.

The Swans continued to charge forward and win a host of corners - all of which were dealt with by the Villa backline.

Davis 640

These interventions proved crucial as the B6 side took the lead 18 minutes into the contest - Davis rising highest to head home Leggett's perfect centre.

With clear cut opportunities few and far between, the clinical Villans doubled their advantage just shy of the interval. Riccardo Calder drifted in from the right to head home Andre Green's cross.

The early stages of the second period were cagey as the Liberty Stadium outfit looked for a way back into the contest.

Mason 640

A crucial intervention from defender Niall Mason thwarted Daniel James' dangerous cross and kept Villa in control.

The clash threatened to boil over as Villa's Calder and Swansea's James both picked up bookings before Leggett was dismissed for his second yellow card after kicking the ball away.

With the claret and blues still regrouping and the South Wales side making use of their extra man,  the deficit was halved from the penalty spot.

The impressive Bray was brought down by Easah Suliman - McBurnie firing home the spot-kick.

Young defender Suliman made amends just minutes later - blocking McBurnie's goalbound strike which looked destined to level the scores.

Despite being a man down, the young lions continued to threaten and only a crucial save from Swansea stopper Josh Vickers as Sellars pulled the trigger prevented Villa from netting a third.

Substitute Callum O'Hare also went close before Lyden's late power-driver was clawed away by the Swansea goalkeeper.

Villa U21: Johansson, Leggett, Mason, Suliman, Webb,  Calder, Lyden (C), Cowans, Green (Hale 59), Sellars (Abdo 77), Davis (O'Hare 72). Unused subs: Idem, Swift.

Swansea U21: Vickers, Shephard (C), Hanley, Maric (Lucas 46), Rodon, Davies, James, King, McBurnie, Sheehan (Blair 86), Bray (Biabi 84). Unused subs: Zabret, Lewis, Blair.

Emily Liles
By @emily_liles 22nd February 2016
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