After a rigorous preseason training regime in Portugal, Villa are back in England to play two separate preseason friendlies. In this comprehensive match report, we will break down all of the action as Villa take on Telford at New Bucks Head Stadium.
00:45 – Ritchie De Laet, playing on the right wing, runs down the flank and passes to Kodjia in a promising position but gets broken up right before Kodjia can swing a foot through the ball.
Andre Green is looking like he has a point to prove early doors. The Young Lion, who missed most of the season last year through injury, keeps making runs forward and overlaps with Mitch Clarke. Be it through previous chemistry or training, there is definitely a positive link between the two players.
05:00 – Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane are showing their footballing experience against Telford with smart possession play. Hourihane also tracking back and looking a bit more defensive.
08:00 – Andre Green cuts inside off the left flank, tries to bend the ball far post. The shot is deflected but almost finds it’s way into the corner of the net. The Telford keeper does well to take a few steps backwards and gets a glove on the ball to award a Villa corner.
09:00 – Green running rampant yet again. Plays a ball in for Kodjia, but the Telford keeper does well to keep his composure and keep ball from the back of the net. Could have easily been a goal if Kodjia gets just a bit more on the ball.
13:00 – Telford take a quick free kick after a foul. Chester does well to softly head the ball back to Steer who collects calmly. First moment of danger for Aston Villa.
17:00 – Kodjia finds the ball at his feet deep in the midfield from Andre Green pass. Surrounded by three Telford players, Kodjia tries to dribble his way but ultimately gets fouled by three players at the very same time.
Green looking like the main creative outlet in this Villa preseason squad up to this point. Everything is coming off of his boot through the first 20 minutes.
18:00 – Jonathan Kodjia receives the ball in the middle of the park and sprays an uncharacteristic pass to a wide open Ritchie De Laet. De Laet makes a definitive run towards the corner flag and places a cross into the path of Kodjia. Kodjia heads the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0 to Aston Villa.
24:00 – Telford striker Darren Knight finds a bit of space in front of the Villa back-line but places a soft effort on goal which Jed Steer has no problem with handling.
30:00 – Villa are pressing higher up the pitch but can’t seem to break down Telford. Keinan Davis and Jonathan Kodjia looking a bit confused on how to operate with a fellow striker beside them.
33:00 – Jed Steer makes a run of the mill save but sprints off his line to throw the ball to Ritchie De Laet on the right flank. Not the first time we’ve see Steer show he can distribute the ball quickly if he sees an open man. Good to see that being a facet of his game.
36:00 – Telford gain a bit of possession through methodical passing. The final effort never comes off quite right, but Telford really seem like they are attempting to get back into the game and run at Villa a little more.
39:00 – Glenn Whelan over-runs a ball deep in the midfield which leads to a danger moment for the back-line of Villa. Villa youngster Jacob Bedeau keeps a cool head and places a clean tackle which sees the danger cleared. The ball winds up on the foot of James Bree on the right flank, who runs forward and has a pop on goal from distance that has real pace but lacks accuracy.
42:00 – Ritchie De Laet looks to avenge his wide effort mere minutes earlier with another strike from right hand side of the pitch. This time he rattles the crossbar and dips his head in disbelief.
Half-time: Villa are and look the superior team in this preseason friendly. While Telford has had less than a handful of chances inside of the opposition half, the chances they did have could have been goals with just a bit more quality. James Chester and Jacob Bedeau look comfortable standing next to each other in the heart of the Villa defense. The real story of the first half was the play of Andre Green, Jonathan Kodjia, Ritchie De Laet and Mitch Clarke. If there was a danger to that Telford had to snuff out, Andre Green was the man causing the chaos. Green is showing no signs of his injury last season through the first 45 minutes here at New Bucks Head Stadium. Jonathan Kodjia was seen resting deeper into the midfield as the half went on, allowing Keinan Davis to get a little more forward. Alas, you can tell that both strikers are not used to having a partner at the top of the pitch. There were a few instances where Kodjia or Davis would want a ball delivered through, but the other would try running at the defence to make room for themselves.
Aston Villa’s Second Half
There are no substitutions for Aston Villa at half time, but there is sure to be many as the second-half transpires.
50:00 – Telford seem to believe they can get something from game. It appears as though they are putting three players in the striker position in an attempt to overwhelm Villa. A looping ball comes over the top of the Villa from midfield, but Telford are offside.
52:00 – Free-kick for Villa right outside of the 18-yard box. Conor Hourihane steps up to take it, and the ball zips right over the crossbar. Just a little less power and the ball would have undoubtedly found the far-side of the net.
55:00 – Keinan Davis find a bit of space to run with the ball. He makes it all the way to the Telford 18-yard box until a few step-overs derails the play. Kodjia was heard screaming for the ball as he was making a run in the middle of the area.
56:00 – Keinan Davis again gets himself in on the action. A cross comes in from Andre Green and Davis just gets his head on it. Telford keeper does well to make himself big and grasp the ball.
61:00 – Aston Villa have a lapse in concentration and Telford almost makes them pay for it. A pass from the right finds a Telford player glance a shot mere inches away from the far post. The play results in a corner. Corner gets taken but the referee blows his whistle as Jacob Bedeau is down with what looks like a head injury. Telford make two substitutions.
64:00 – Bedeau slowly walks off the field with a AVFC physio. He looks to be okay as play gets back underway.
67:00 – Keinan Davis and Jacob Bedeau are off for Kelsey Mooney and Corey Taylor. Bit of a change of tactic now for Steve Bruce and his men. Ritchie De Laet drops back to right back instead of right wing, moving James Bree to centreback next to James Chester. Corey Taylor steps into the right-wing role while Mooney settles in at striker. Telford substitutes are giving Villa a little bit of pressure since the Bedeau injury stoppage.
72:00 – Corey Taylor makes a fabulous run through the middle of the park and goes all the way into the Telford penalty area. Taylor loses his handle on the ball and it’s collected by the Telford keeper. There hasn’t been more impressive show of pace all game for either side than what was just shown by Taylor.
74:00 – Jonathan Kodjia finds the back of the net yet again this afternoon. The Telford keeper with a bit of an error there as he tries to come out to claim the ball, but it winds up right on the head of King Kodjia. 2-0 to Aston Villa.
78:00 – Nervy moments for Villa defense as a freakish deflected ball finds height right inside of the penalty area. Jed Steer gets a bit lucks as he slipped while jumping. The ball finds the Villa keepers hands in the end, but it was definitely a strange pattern of play for a few seconds.
81:00 – Conor Hourihane heads a ball off of the woodwork to much disappointment, but gets a chance mere seconds later and buries a header. 3-0 to Aston Villa.
82:00 – Hourihane, Whelan and Kodjia are done for the day with Sea, Birch and Pastorek coming on for the rest of the contest. Birch and Pastorek take over the midfield duty, with Sea and Mooney
84:00 – Corey Taylor has been cutting in to the middle of the field with plenty of gusto. Near miss to the bottle left hand side of the net. James Chester is being subbed off for Revan.
86:00 – Ritchie De Laet is coming off after a great showing for Villa. Ige replaces him. Immediately after the sub, Jed Steer pulls two consecutive saves out of his magic hat. Even with a decisive lead and result, Steer is still very much locked in to the game.
Full-time at the New Bucks Head. For a game that is meant for fitness and for the younger lads so showcase what they contribute, it was a positive result for Aston Villa. Notable performances from Andre Green, Ritchie De Laet, Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodjia were a joy to watch. Very positive performance that will no doubt improve the fitness and attitude of all the Villa players involved.