BURTON Albion’s magnificent FA Youth Cup journey came to an end this afternoon at Villa Park, as the Brewers lost 9-0 to a clinical young Aston Villa side.
The Brewers went into the game full of confidence following wins over Worcester, Mansfield, Stoke and Southampton in previous rounds, but this tie was eventually one step too far for Sam Rose’s side - who can hold their heads high for this year’s fine performances and run in the competition.
The Brewers started brightly in the first five minutes and had a comfortable start to life at Villa Park with the majority of the early possession.
Villa full-back Kesler-Hayden had the first effort of the game, trying an effort inside the first five minutes, but his shot was well wide of keeper Greg Lewis’s post.
Carney Chukwuemeka opened the scoring minutes just minutes later, which was sadly the start of Albion’s demise. The midfielder made a strong run inside the area and eventually managed to get a shot away that squeezed under Lewis at the near post.
The opener clearly unnerved the Brewers defence and shortly after Villa’s quality started to show. Captain Aaron Ramsey grabbed a second after some tidy play inside the Albion area, breaking inside and calming slotting a low shot past Lewis on the tenth minute.
Just one minute later Villa added a third through Louie Barry. The exciting winger cut inside from the left and forced his way into the area to unleash a shot past the helpless Lewis in the Brewers goal.
Captain Ben Radcliffe was booked in the twentieth minute for a foul on the edge of the area on Barry, before the Brewers managed to settle into the game and have periods of their own possession.
Sam Rose’s side then had a penalty shout through Yewo Nyirenda. There looked to be contact on the front man following a long ball forward into the opposition area, but referee Richie Watkins waved away the appeals from those in yellow.
On the thirty-second minute, Chukwuemeka grabbed himself a second goal of the game and Villa’s fourth. His neat one-two interchange with striker Brad Young opened up the chance for him to calmy slot home.
Barry then bagged the fifrth for the home side. A long ball forward led to a foot race between Redfern and Barry, with the Villa wide man managing to get there first to curl the ball into the bottom corner.
Chukwuemeka deservedly got his hat-trick on the stroke of half time. It was a first half masterclass from the young Villa side and the midfielder was by far the best player on the pitch, breezing inside the Albion area to strike past Lewis.
HALF TIME: Aston Villa 6-0 Burton Albion
The Brewers came out with their heads held high in the second half and managed to compose themselves much more on the tie, keeping the ball well and showing that they still had fight left in them.
Nyirenda had the Brewers best chance of the game in the fifty-sixth minute. Charlie Williams cut inside from the wing to play a delightful ball into the striker, but Nyirenda couldn’t quite direct his header towards goal at the back post.
Villa got a penalty on the sixtieth minute following a foul by Ben McLean on Ramsey. The midfielder then kindly allowed striker Young to step up and take the penalty, calmy placing it down the middle.
Greg Lewis made a good save just shy of the eighty-minute mark to deny Young from close range, but then ten minutes before the end, Barry was the second Villa player of the afternoon to get a hat-trick. The former Barcelona youth player curled his effort from outside the area into right-hand side of the goal, giving keeper Lewis no chance.
Defender Revan then got himself on the score sheet before the end of the game to score the final goal of the day, capitalising on a mix-up at the back and poking home into an open net.
FULL TIME: Aston Villa 9-0 Burton Albion
It was not the score line that the young Brewers would have hoped for on the day, but they can more then hold their heads high and be very proud of this season’s journey.
Not only were they the only Category 3 side left in the competition, but no other Burton Albion Youth Team had ever made it to the fifth round stage of the FA Youth Cup – something that they can all be very proud of.