Are you lost? See if these links help.

#U21 #PLCup #MatchReport #AstonVilla

Under-21s reach Premier League Cup semi-finals with win at Villa

Aston Villa 1-3 Spurs (Premier League Cup)

Tue 02 April 2024, 21:02|Tottenham Hotspur

Persistence paid off for our Under-21s as late goals from Jamie Donley and Will Lankshear gave us a 3-1 win at Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup on Tuesday night.

Having led at the break through the excellent Yago Santiago, we conceded an equaliser to Kaden Young just two minutes into the second half, but kept pushing and probing against the stubborn hosts, Lankshear denied on numerous occasions by goalkeeper James Wright before Donley finally fired us deservedly back in front with nine minutes remaining, hammering Jude Soonsup-Bell's low cross low inside the near post with a pinpoint strike.

And Lankshear, who had earlier added to his frustrations by heading against the post and firing a good chance over the bar, eventually got his goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to round off the victory and send us marching into the semi-finals of what is our debut campaign in the competition.

Many of the players involved at Bodymoor Heath were part of the successful youth team that won the Under-17 and Under-18 versions of this tournament last year, and you sensed a hunger to repeat the feat, although we had to work hard to break down a Villa side that defended in numbers and didn't trouble us at the back on too many occasions.

It was 1-0 at the break after a cautious start from both sides, but it could have been more were it not for a string of blocks from Wright to deny Lankshear. Villa themselves had the ball in the net inside 20 seconds - an offside flag thwarting Kobei Moore - but after Lankshear was also denied by the flag at the other end, he had his first encounter with Wright midway through the half when his angled shot from the right was blocked.

The breakthrough arrived on 25 minutes and it involved a similar action, Santiago driving forward into space before playing the ball through for Lankshear, his shot from the left angle was parried by the keeper but the Spanish forward had continued his run and duly swept the loose ball into the empty net. It was largely one-way traffic thereafter, Lankshear denied three more times by Wright - although he was offside on one of them - while Travis Patterson sent a flying header just off-target at the back post in Villa's best chance of the first period on 36 minutes. Santiago saw a shot charged down at the edge of the area, while Moore slid in to meet a cross in the middle of our box in the last few seconds before half-time, but the ball squirmed through to Luca Gunter.

Villa got back on level terms within two minutes of the start of the second half as Young burst in behind and lashed high past Gunter, but Lankshear was inches away from restoring our lead soon afterwards when his flicked header from Santiago's corner struck the far post - Donley arrived in a prime position to nudge it over the line but refrained from doing so, apparently for fear of being offside in what proved a real let-off for the hosts.

Lamare Bogarde threatened a couple of times for Villa - George Abbott with a vital intervention in the six-yard box at one stage - before Lankshear squandered a great chance to make it 2-1, collecting Soonsup-Bell's cross in the box and taking a touch before wastefully lifting his effort over the bar. Todd Alcock almost stole the lead for Villa moments later after turning away from three of our players in one movement, but Gunter dived superbly down to his left to tip his shot around the post.

Still we kept plugging away, though, and on 81 minutes, shortly after Tyrese Hall had dragged wide, we grabbed the lead once more as Soonsup-Bell advanced down the right wing and slid across a great low centre for Donley to run onto and convert inside the near post from 12 yards out.

The determined Lankshear was denied again by Wright before heading the resulting corner just wide, while the dazzling Santiago stung the palms of the keeper with a rising shot after a superb piece of skill to burst free down the left side, although Villa almost conjured up an equaliser out of nothing when Chisom Afoka's cross from the right flank nearly sailed straight in, before fellow substitute Rory Wilson wriggled through on goal in the final minute, but we forced the ball behind.

We'd managed the game smartly in added time before going close to a third goal in the 94th minute as Soonsup-Bell ploughed into the area but fired just wide of the far post. But just as we thought the last of the chances to extend our lead had gone, the ball broke kindly for Lankshear in the box and he didn't need a second invitation to blast home and finally get off the mark for the evening - a satisfactory end to a tough yet rewarding night's work.

Reaction on SPURSPLAY

'They managed the space well'

Under-21s Coach Wayne Burnett told SPURSPLAY after the game: "I'm absolutely delighted that we've progressed into the semi-final and I thought we deserved to be there. I thought we dominated the ball in the early stages of the first half without really causing them too many problems, they managed the space well but we managed to get a goal and had one or two other chances, in the second half we didn't start particularly well for the first 15 minutes, they scored and then we got back into our rhythm and created chances. Again, they managed the space well, it was difficult at times to get into positions to get some real goalscoring opportunities but in the end we managed to create some chances and got another two goals."

Aston Villa 1-3 Spurs (Premier League Cup)

Aston Villa: Wright (c), Rowe, Patterson, Katsukunya, Bogarde, Borland, Young (Afoka 82), Alcock (Munroe 87), Moore (Lutz 82), Pierre (Wilson 60), Aloba. Substitute (not used): Emery.

Spurs: Gunter, Ashcroft, Cassanova, Dorrington, Abbott (c), Hall, Soonsup-Bell, Donley, Lankshear, Scarlett (John 71), Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Kyerematen, Robson, Ajayi.

Match data

Goals: Aston Villa - Young 47; Spurs - Santiago 25, Donley 81, Lankshear 90+5.

Yellow cards: Aston Villa - Aloba 74; Spurs - Abbott 26, Lankshear 29.

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis.

Venue: Bodymoor Heath Training Ground, Tamworth.

Weather: Heavy rain, gentle breeze, 11 degrees.

Attendance: 340.