Aston Villa eliminate Town in penalty shoot out
By Andy Chilton
An entertaining end to end game ends in penalty drama exit for the Blues
Match Report KEVIN HAND, Match Stats ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs GRANTY
Stratford Town v Aston Villa Tuesday 20 November, 2018 7.45 pm
Arden Garages Stadium,
2nd Round Birmingham Senior Cup.
Stratford 0 Villa 0
Villa win 5-4 on penalties
* To the latter end of a fray………….
In front of an appreciative crowd of 338 the score line belied an intriguing evening of football. There were few goal-scoring opportunities but this was because both sides were so evenly matched up all over the pitch. Each side probed in their distinctive style; Villa all smooth passing; Town more muscular and direct.
Villa are multiple winners of this most prestigious competition so it was good to reflect on Town’s solitary success. It was in 1963 that Town triumphed over Lockheed Leamington 2-1 with Club President, Sid Keenan, scoring both goals.
For this second qualifying round fixture Town was led out by the popular Mike Taylor making his 100th appearance for the club. With Chris Cox and Ross Oulton still injured, Claudio Dias, Cody Fisher and Shawn Richards all started. Fry and Grocott were on the bench.
Villa was first to press with a corner on the right. This was well defended by a Town back line that excelled all evening both from set pieces and open play. Stratford responded with Lewis Wilson through only to be flagged offside and when Dias played Mikey Taylor in the striker’s shot was blocked.
Stratford continued to have the better of the first 30 minutes or so with Villa not afraid of some stern physical contact. When full back, Jake Walker, upended Cody Fisher on 38 minutes the referee saw it as yellow. Dias’s free kick flew across a crowded penalty area and, agonisingly, past the far post. Villa finished the first half better with Town defending stoutly and it wasn’t until 40 minutes that Walton made his first save of note.
Villa started the second half the quicker with Russian Hepburn Murphy pressing up front. Goalkeeper, Matija Sarkic get the game flowing with his quick distribution from the back. The best chance for Villa fell on 53 minutes when Harry McKirdy fired over from the edge of the box.
Fry, Hilton and Josh Cooke entered the fray replacing Taylor, Dias and Richards as Town finished the stronger. Skeldi saw his thunderous drive strike the bar on 76 minutes and on 81 a Jimmy Fry drive was turned behind for a corner by keeper, Sarkic.
There was still time for substitute, Luke Ige, to earn a yellow for a number niggly fouls all committed in his brief 12 minute appearance. This was against the general spirit of the game that was hard but fair and well managed by the officials.
The penalties were dispatched with great aplomb by both sides with Richard Walton nearly blocking Harvey Knibbs’ effort. Kieren Westwood struck his penalty strong and true but the experienced Sarkic guessed the direction and palmed to safety. Another day, another cup competition. Saturday 24 November when we host South Shields in the Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round. Exciting times!
For Villa Alex Prosser and Dominic Bevan were outstanding quick and assured in all they did. For Town, McAteer and Williams matched them in every department with Williams winning Man of the Match accolade.
* To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast. Henry 1V Part 1
Stratford Town AstonVilla
9 Goal Attempts 11
3 On Target 4
0 Blocked Shots 0
1 Hit Woodwork 0
10 Corners Won 5
7 Crosses into Box 5
9 Fouls Conceded 15
2 Off Side 1
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
Stratford Town Yellow Cards – Richards
Aston Villa Yellow Cards – Ige and Walker
Saturday 24 November 3.00pm South Shields (H) FA Trophy
Tuesday 27 November 7.45pm Alvechurch (A) EvoStik Southern Premier