Burton Albion 1-2 Aston Villa
Aston Villa came from a goal down to record a 2-1 victory in an entertaining opening to the Brewers pre-season schedule. Burton started well and were soon into the lead thanks to a swerving 30 yard drive from new signing Robbie Weir. The visitors drew level shortly before the break when trialist Marcus Holness put through his own net before Brett Holman scored late on to seal the win for Villa. Both sides fielded different sides in each half with the second half Villa XI proving much more difficult to deal with for Burton Albion.
Burton Albion got pre-season underway with the high profile visit of Paul Lambert's Aston Villa, with both sides showcasing their new summer signings. On display for the Brewers were trialists, Blackburn youngster Anthony O'Connor, former Rochdale defender Marcus Holness and West Brom's Paul Downing all started the match along with Ross Atkins in goal.
Holness and Nathan Stanton formed the central defensive partnership for the Brewers with new signing Damien McCrory at left back. Andrew Cornett lined up on the right side of midfield in front of O'Connor at right back. Downing partnered Robbie Weir in centre midfield with Jacques Maghoma on the left. Calvin Zola and Adi Yussuf started in attack.
Former Crewe pair Carl Martin and Lee Bell started on the bench.
Burton Albion 1st Half XI: ATKINS, O'CONNOR, McCRORY, STANTON, HOLNESS, CORBETT, WEIR, DOWNING, MAGHOMA, ZOLA, YUSSUF. Subs: LYNESS, WEBSTER, DIAMOND, TAYLOR, RICHARDS, PALMER, GREEN, PHILLIPS, MARTIN, DYER, ALLEN, BELL.
Aston Villa 1st Half XI: MARSHALL, LOWTON, EL AHMADI, BENT, N'ZOGBIA, CARRUTHERS, JOHNSON, CLARK, WEIMANN, HUTTON, STEVANS. Subs: BARRETT, WARNOCK, BAKER, COLLINS, AGBONLAHOR, HOLMAN, HERD, GARDINER, DELFOUNESO, BANNAN, LICHAJ.
Albion began the match reasonably brightly and forced a succession of corners early on, however McCrory's delivery failed to cause any problems in the Villa defence. But it didn't take long for Albion to get up and running when Robbie WEIR picked the ball up 30 yards out on nine minutes and let fly with a swerving drive, leaving Villa keeper Andrew Marshall stranded as the ball whistled into the bottom corner.
Villa looked to respond and went close in the 15th minute when Andreas Weimann almost connected with a cross from Enda Stevens, McCrory making an important interception for the Brewers. And Bent then had a chance in the 25th minute, using his pace to outrun the Burton back line to almost control a long ball out of the Villa defence. Bent's touch just let him down and the ball rolled past Atkins right hand post.
Villa were failing to create many chances of note but managed a sight of goal in the 34th minute. Downing failed to clear from the Brewers 18 yard box allowing Bent a header across goal but Albion skipper Stanton was on hand to nod the ball away from danger.
The Brewers then went close through Corbett, breaking forward from his midfield berth and sending a 20 yard shot just wide of Marshall's left hand post. O'Connor also tried his luck from outside the area as the half drew to a close but his shot was underhit and an easy save for Marshall.
But it was Villa who grabbed a goal before the break, Enda Stevens playing a dangerous low ball through the penalty area where the unlucky Marcus Holness diverted the ball past Atkins into his own net.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-1 Aston Villa
Brewers Second Half XI: LYNESS, MARTIN, WEBSTER, DIAMOND, O'CONNOR, PALMER, DYER, BELL, PHILLIPS, RICHARDS, TAYLOR.
Villa Second half XI: MARSHALL, WARNOCK, BAKER, COLLINS, AGBONLAHOR, HOLMAN, HERD, GARDINER, DELFOUNSESO, BANNON, LICHAJ.
Aston Villa started the second half on the front foot and nearly took the lead in the 47th minute when Stephen Warnock's cross to the near post had Dean Lyness in trouble, the Brewers defence eventually clearing the ball.
Warnock was in the action again 5 minutes later when his volleyed effort was deflected behind for a corner. James Collins' header from the following set piece was blocked on the goal line before the same player blasted the ball over the bar.
Chris Plamer forced a sharp low save from Marshall on the hour mark when he stooped low to head Taylor's near post cross on target. Richards then had a chance to open his account but he scuffed his shot, again from Taylor's cross.
Villa were soon back in the ascendency and Barry Bannan tried his luck in the 61st minute, lifting his 25 yard shot over the bar. Holman then provided Delfouneso with a chance, slipping the ball through to the Villa striker who shot over Lyness' bar.
Bannan then brought a save out of Lyness in the 66th minute with a curling freekick from 25 yards. Gardiner saw a shot from outside the area blocked by Aaron Webster as the visitors continued to press. Webster collided with Lee Bell in the process leaving the trialist requiring treatment but he soon returned to the action.
Agbonlahor stretched to get on the end of Holman's cross in the 78th minute but was just out of reach as the ball flashed across goal.
Villa finally took the lead in the 83rd minute when Brett HOLMAN found the net with a precise finish from the left side of the penalty area. The goal was nothing less than Villa deserved after an improved second half performance.
Scorers: Brewers - Weir (9) Villa - Holness OG (42) Holman (83)
Referee: Mr. K. Friend (Leicester)