Aston Villa 2-1 Reserves FT

Aston Villa reserves v West Ham United reserves
Barclays Premier Reserve League South
Tuesday 1 September

Kick-off: 7pm
Villa Park

Full-time - Aston Villa reserves 2-1 West Ham United reserves

93 min - The full-time whistle is blown and it is a slightly disappointing start for Alex Dyer and his players. They worked ever so hard, but Villa were full-value for their win. West Ham reserves will return to action a week tonight when Birmingham City will be the visitors.

92 min - Fine defensive work from Jordan Brown to deny Delfouneso. He kept his composure well as Villa broke forward with numbers and made a fine sliding challenge on the striker.

90 min - McGurk slices a shot over after Albrighton's cross had eluded everyone inside the six-yard box. We're going to have two minutes of added-time.

88 min - Very close to a third Villa goal for Delfouneso. The striker is on the end of a flowing move, but he curls a low shot a foot or so wide of the post with Kurucz beaten.

86 min - Collins comes close, beating Wearen but shooting too close to Kurucz, who gathers diving low to his left.

84 min - Hines tries to break into the box but he is thwarted by Roome. Nouble is next to threaten, but his loses out to Baker and Villa clear.

81 min - Eyjolfsson concedes possession and Villa work the ball to McGurk, but his shot is weak and rolls through to Kurucz via a slight deflection off Fry.

79 min - Montano is going to have a little over ten minutes to find an equaliser as he replaces Lee.

77 min - Nice stuff from Delfouneso, who picks the ball up and cuts inside Fry before curling a left-foot shot a couple of yards wide. Villa are finishing strongly here.

75 min - No sign of any changes just yet from Dyer. Montano or winger Daniel Kearns would seem the most likely options to be sent into the action, but neither are warming up at the present time.

72 min - GOAL! Villa re-take the lead through Gardner. Lichaj launches the free-kick into the box where it is headed straight to Gardner, who controls on his chest and loops a volley past Kurucz via the inside of the post. That was a very decent finish, indeed.

72 min - A booking for Josh Payne following a late challenge on substitute Gardner. Meanwhile, Villa make their second change, replacing Hofbauer with Adam McGurk.

71 min - News from Poland and Danny Purdy's Republic of Ireland U17s have started the Syrenka Cup with a 2-1 defeat by Russia. Striker Purdy did not manage to get on to the scoresheet.

70 min - Amazing stuff from Kurucz. Albrighton crosses from the right and Collins meets the ball with a powerful header that the goalkeeper does well to block. The ball squirms back towards Collins and he shoots, but Kurucz half-blocks and Eyjolfsson hacks the ball off the goal-line.

68 min - Brilliant, brilliant defending from 'Gala denies Hofbauer a tap-in after Delfouneso had left Fry in his wake and cut the ball into the six-yard box.

67 min - When you consider Eoin Wearen is just 16, he has had a fantastic game on his reserve-team debut. The young Dubliner has not looked at all out of place and has given as good as he's got against Osbourne in the middle of the park. The former Gaelic football star is certainly one to look out for in the future.

65 min - Cristian Montano is among three substitutes warming up on the touchline. Will the young Colombia-born forward get a late run-out?

63 min - A first change for Villa. Gary Gardner replaces Herd.

62 min - Delfouneso obviously did not like being tackled. He picks the ball up and skips past Fry before smashing in a low drive that Kurucz does well to push aside for a corner.

61 min - The Hammers really fancy this. Osbourne robs Wearen and tries to play in Delfouneso, but the goalscorer is denied by a thumping challenge from Jordan Brown. The U18 left-back has made an assured start to life as a reserve-team player.

60 min - This is much, much better from West Ham. They are getting plenty of men forward and moving the ball around much more quickly than they were just a few minutes ago. When you consider that Villa have won the league in each of the last two seasons, this is a very creditable display.

57 min - West Ham have worked their way back into things here, but they still need to take better care of the ball in the attacking half of the field. Too often, a promising move is being scuppered by a loose or lazy pass. Alex Dyer preaches a fluid, passing game based on movement off the ball, but at the moment his players are not quite getting it exactly right. It's not all bad news, though, as his side are now more than matching their hosts.

55 min - Great work and attitude from Hines, who loses possession but streaks back 40 yards to challenge Lichaj. Fine stuff from the striker.

53 min - Edgar receives a yellow card for a rather late foul on Albrighton. The winger needs a bit of treatment, but looks as if he'll be fine to continue.

50 min - GOAL! Fry is fouled by Herd wide on the left, Edgar curls in a vicious free-kick and Fry challenges his marker. The ball appears to hit Collins and floats past the stranded Marshall for an own-goal. That came out of nowhere. Now, will the goal give West Ham the confidence boost they need to go on and take all three points?

48 min - A quiet start to the second half so far. As soon as I type that, Albrighton lets fly with a dipping curler from 25 yards that Kurucz tips over at full-stretch. 

46 min - We're off and running again here at Villa Park. Neither side made any changes at half-time.


47 min - The half-time whistle goes. West Ham will have to up their collective game after the break if they are to start the season with a positive result.

46 min - We're into the one minute of added-time. To be fair, I thought we'd have more than that...

45 min - Villa began the half with a goal and almost ended it with one too. Herd picks up the ball in midfield and drives forward before shooting from 20 yards, but it flies narrowly wide of the post.

44 min - Another chance for Payne to launch a set piece into the penalty area as Lowry is penalised for handball. Villa half-clear and Hines picks up the loose ball. He beats two challenges but not a third and Villa smash the ball upfield.

42 min - Nouble wins a free-kick midway inside the Villa half. Payne crosses, but the home side are able to head clear.

40 min - Superb play from Nouble, who turned Lichaj and got to the by-line, but none of his team-mates had anticipated the cutback and Villa clear the danger.

38 min - Alert play again from Kurucz, who is out smartly to smother at the feet of Hofbauer as he attempted to latch on to Collins' pass. A short time later, Delfouneso works another shooting chance, but his powerful half-volley flies into the seats.

36 min - Good save from Kurucz to deny Hofbauer. Delfouneso found the Austrian in space and he lashed a low, left-foot shot that the Hungarian parried to safety. Seconds later, Villa force a corner. Albrighton crosses and Collins head downwards, but the ball bounces over the crossbar. Delfouneso has really come to life again in the last few minutes. He seems to have all the attributes of a decent striker - pace, power and an eye for goal.

35 min - Fantastic challenge from Fry. He appeared to have lost Delfouneso, but recovered well to concede a corner. Villa work the ball deep before crossing to the far post. Lowry wins a header and Delfouneso lunges low to try and direct the ball past Kurucz, but it squirms just wide of the near post.

33 min - Nouble is seeing quite a lot of possession in and around the Villa box, but the ball just won't break for him or any of his team-mates. So far, Hines' first-time shot is the closest the Hammers have come to a goal. It is certainly a more even contest now, though. After sitting on the bench for a few minutes, Zola is escorted to the dressing room clutching an ice-pack to his face. A bit of a shame for the youngster, but hopefully he will not be sidelined for too long.

31 min - Youth team striker Danny Purdy was in the Republic Ireland U17 side to face Russia in the Syrenka Cup friendly tournament in Poland this afternoon. No news yet on a result, but I shall try and find out for you.

29 min - Nice football from Edgar and Wearen sends Hines away, and his run is brought to an abrupt halt by a combination of Lichaj and Baker a couple of yards outside the penalty area. Edgar takes the free-kick but curls it a yard over the crossbar.

26 min - Hofbauer wins a corner off 'Gala. Albrighton takes and Kurucz acrobatically palms the ball to safety.

24 min - James Collins comes close to scoring for Aston Villa. Matt Fry's defensive header dropped to the striker on the edge of the penalty area, but he was unable to keep his volley down.

23 min - Treatment for Zola junior this time. It looks like he has received a bang on the nose and comes to the touchline holding a piece of tissue to his face. Unfortunately, the bleeding doesn't appear to want to stop and he is replaced by Eoin Wearen.

21 min - First-team coaches Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen are here to watch the reserve team in action. Keen, of course, was reserve-team manager himself until almost exactly a year ago, when he was promoted following the arrival of Gianfranco Zola.

18 min - A booking for Zola on his first competitive appearance in English football. The youngster was cautioned after a late challenge on Herd. The Villa midfielder receives some treatment before leaving the pitch. It looks like he'll be okay to carry on, though.

17 min - A first real chance for West Ham. Hines wins a tackle in midfield and feeds Nouble. The big forward holds off his marker before rolling the ball into HInes' path. The Jamaican strikes his shot well, but it is too close to Marshall, who blocks with two hands before his defenders clear the danger.

16 min - Hofbauer's free-kick falls to Herd inside the penalty area. The midfielder pokes a shot goalwards and Kurucz holds well in front of his face.

15 min - In all honesty, Villa are bossing this game. West Ham are struggling to maintain possession of the ball in midfield. Zola gets in a strong challenge on Herd that the Villa player takes exception to. Both players receive a talking to from the referee before shaking hands and getting on with it.

12 min - Another close call as right-back Eric Lichaj lifts a cross into the box, but it is just too far in front of Delfouneso.

10 min - The pre-match deluge has abated and the sun is trying to come out. Villa have a throw-in deep inside the Hammers half. A spot of head tennis ends with Dominik Hofbauer looping his effort on to the top of Kurucz' net. You can see why Villa have such a good record at reserve level, They are playing with a real confidence.

8 min - Albrighton comes close to doubling the hosts' lead, but his curler lands on top of the net, In truth, I think Kurucz would have had it covered.

7 min - West Ham have responded well to going behind and are starting to ping the ball around on what is a slick surface. Nouble crosses for Hines, but the striker's touch lets him down and Nathan Baker clears the danger.

4 min - GOAL! Not the ideal start for the Hammers as West Ham concede possession just inside their own half. Albrighton won the ball and found Delfouneso, who held off Zola before firing low into Kurucz' bottom left-hand corner. A clinical finish.

3 min - It's an open start here at Villa Park. Lee and Nouble combine, but the latter's pass skips off Hines' too and through to Andy Marshall. Lee picks the ball up 30 yards from goal and lets fly, but it is straight at Marshall.

2 min - A decent run from the speedy Delfouneso, who picks up the ball five yards inside his own half and streaks past Matt Fry, but the defender recovers well and forces the forward to slice his cross out for a goal kick.

1 min - Nathan Delfouneso and Chris Herd get us underway. Zola is given a welcome to English football just 25 seconds in, winning a free-kick for his side inside the centre circle.

6.59pm - Aston Villa will kick-off...

6.57pm - Here come the two teams... No Premier League-style lineups and music here, just a quick walk to the halfway line and the two teams break towards their respective ends. It looks like West Ham will attack a very large, very empty Holte End in the first half.

6.54pm - A few hundred Villa fans have turned out to cheer on their champions. While both squads have returned to their respective dressing rooms, substitute goalkeeper Adam Street has remained on the pitch to go through a few kicking exercises with goalkeeping coach Jerome John.

6.47pm - As he did last season, defender Bondz 'Gala will captain West Ham's second-string. The big man will slot in at right-back tonight, with Matt Fry and Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson in the centre of defence and Jordan Brown at left-back.

6.41pm - I can report that it is now chucking it down with rain here at Villa Park. The floodlights are on and, on 1 September, it appears that summer is well and truly over!

6.40pm - West Ham brought three sons with famous fathers with them as part of their squad for tonight's game. As well as Andrea Zola and Olly Lee - sons of Gianfranco and Robert respectively - George Moncur also travelled with the squad and is warming up with his club-mates on the pitch. Among them is Zavon Hines, who is wearing some very bright blue boots. Lee is sporting some white footwear, but the other outfield players have stuck to the traditional black.

6.35pm - Both teams are out on the pitch here at a near-deserted Villa Park going through their pre-match warm-ups. Leeds United assistant manager Steve Staunton, who was a bit of a legend here as a player, has already taken his seat in the stands.

West Ham United open their 2009/10 Barclays Premier Reserve League South campaign with a tough-looking visit to Aston Villa tonight.

The Villans romped to the league title last season before defeating North champions Sunderland 3-1 to lift the national title. Villa have started the new season in equally impressive form, defeating Chelsea 4-0 in west London last week.

However, Alex Dyer will be hopeful of building on an encouraging 2008/09 himself. The manager's first season in charge of the reserves saw the Hammers finish in a respectable 5th position.

Tonight, Dyer has named a youthful side including forwards Frank Nouble and Zavon Hines, both of whom impressed greatly in last Tuesday's Carling Cup second round win over Millwall.

Under-18 left-back Jordan Brown is also included after putting in a good display for Tony Carr's side at the weekend, while Andrea Zola will slot into a holding midfield role after impressing Dyer in training and during the pre-season friendly at Bishop's Stortford last month.

Aston Villa: Marshall, Lichaj, Lowry, Osbourne, Roome, Baker, Albrighton, Herd (Gardner 63), Collins, Delfouneso, Hofbauer
Subs: Parish, McGurk, Bradley, Williams

West Ham United: Kurucz, 'Gala, Brown, Fry, Eyjolfsson, Zola (Wearen 24), Lee (Montano 79), Payne, Edgar, Nouble, Hines
Subs: Kearns, Street, Barrett