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Aston Villa u21s 4 Rovers u21s 2

Posted: Mon 17 Feb 2014
Author: rovers.co.uk
Ryan Edwards in action vs Aston Villa

Ryan Edwards in action vs Aston Villa

Image by: Aston Villa FC

Bryan Dabo hit a second half brace but it wasn't enough to prevent Rovers slipping to a 4-2 defeat at Villa Park.

The on loan midfielder grabbed two late goals but they were mere consolation on an evening where the home side took the lionshare of their chances and Rovers didn't.

After a closely run first half it was Villa who lead at the break, Graham Burke putting them in front with free-kick on 22 minutes.

Rovers should have levelled but Jordan Preston struck the underside of the bar, then the forward was denied when clean through.

But a poor start to the second half saw the home side grab three further goals as Jerell Sellars and Callum Robinson scored either side of a second for Burke.

To their credit Rovers never gave up and made a game of it with two late goals. Dabo sweeping home his first on 74 minutes from a Connor Mahoney free-kick before grabbing his second after good work from substitute Modou Cham.

Corry Evans got more minutes under his belt, the Northern Irishman playing for 74 minutes in a match that Rovers could have earned more from.


The match was slow to get going at a cold and wet Villa Park, the home side seeing more of the ball, but unable to break through a resolute Rovers.

There was little between the two sides for the first twenty minutes however it was Villa who opened the goalscoring at the midway point.

After Ryan Edwards was adjudged to have brought down Callum Robinson 20-yards out, forward Graham Burke took the honours and fired low and hard through the Rovers wall and beyond the despairing dive of David Raya. The ball nestling in the far corner.

Villa's pacy front line continued to cause Rovers problems, Robinson bringing out a fine save from Raya after cutting in from the left to shoot.

Rovers then created opportunities of their own that should have seen them level at the break.

After Corry Evans had seen claims for a penalty waved away. Connor Mahoney attacked well to feed Bradley Bauress on the left, the winger's centre was met first time by Jordan Preston but the young Scot was unfortunate to see the ball strike the underside of the bar and bounce away to safety.

David Raya was then called into action once more as play opened up for goalscorer Burke, but although he struck the ball with as much ferocity as done in scoring the opening goal, this time the Rovers stopper stood up well to tip over the bar.

Play was then quickly switched to the other end with Mahoney getting the better of defender Luke Kinsella, but his near post shot deflected behind.

However, sixty seconds later Rovers should have levelled. A ball in from the left by Bauress was nodded down by Bryan Dabo into the path of Preston, but the striker saw his saved by Villa 'keeper Benjamin Siegrist who got just enough on the ball to divert it behind.


It was a promising end to the half from Rovers but they couldn't carry that into the opening exchanges of the second period as Aston Villa soon added a second.

They had served notice when Callum Robinson had headed wide a Jordan Graham cross on 47 minutes, but two minutes later failure to mark correctly from a Robinson corner saw Jerell Sellars double the home side's lead with an acrobatic finish.

Just six minutes later and Aston Villa had a third, making full use of the space afforded to them, the quick forwards combined once more. Graham Burke converting for his second of the game from Jordan Graham's centre.

Unlike the home side, Rovers didn't take their early second half chances, as Jordan Preston, Bryan Dabo, Bradley Bauress and Ryan Edwards failed the trouble the Villa 'keeper.

Modou Cham came on for his first appearance at Under-21 level for Rovers but it was soon number four for Villa.

On 64 minutes live-wire Callum Robinson raced down the left before cutting inside onto his right-foot in the area to lash into the opposite corner.

Ten minutes later Corry Evans made way, the midfielder again working hard in the centre of the park, Robbie Cotton his replacement.

Moments later Rovers were celebrating a consolation goal, and a first goal for January loan signing Bryan Dabo.

Connor Mahoney catching the home side out with a low free-kick that Dabo swept home left-footed first time.

Mahoney then went close himself with a right-footed curling shot that just went beyond the far post.

Debutant Cham then played a key role in the closing stages. First he fired just wide after beating his man, before his work-rate earned Rovers a corner.

From it, Cham then tackled Daniel Johnson and that saw the ball break for Bryan Dabo and he bagged his second by firing home at the near post.

Rovers ended the match camped outside the Villa penalty area but they couldn't claim further goals that their play deserved, Hugo Fernandez with the last effort but his shot from outside of the box curled just over.

Like the Tottenham match seven days earlier, it was an encouraging display from the young Rovers with just the chances taken the difference between the two sides.

ASTON VILLA: Siegrist, Webb, Wildin (sub Calder 80 mins), Stieber, Toner, Kinsella, Graham, Burke, Sellars (sub Abdo 80 mins), Johnson (c), Robinson.

Subs not used: Watkins, R. Strain, T. Strain.

Goals: Burke 22, 53 mins, Sellars 49 mins, Robinson 64 mins.

Booked: Webb.

ROVERS: Raya, Fernandez, Beesley, Evans (sub Cotton 74 mins), Edwards, Tumwa, Mahoney, Lenihan (c), Preston, Dabo, Bauress (sub Cham 63 mins).

Subs not used: Pero, Urwin, Joel.

Goals: Dabo 74, 82 mins.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 192.