Tranmere Rovers v Aston Villa Under 21s : Match report.

Micky Mellon’s men progress to the second round of the ‘Leasing.com’ trophy after a dominant performance against Aston Villa Under 21s.

In a much rested starting eleven, with the focus on resting certain players due to a long injury/suspension list and gaining some players fitness who will need to step in for the injured/suspended players; only Caprice, Monthe, Morris, Potter and Jennings were placed on the team line-up that started against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. 

Aston Villa started off with a goal advantage from the second minute. This was due to Borthwick-Jackson’s misplaced throw-in not being defended well against, which invited Archer to shoot and score from just further than the defensive 18 yard box. 

However, Tranmere weren’t willing to drop their heads as their resilience shown in the constant surge of attacks that followed. Morris drove forwards to play the ball to Jennings, who’s shot was dragged wide. Blackett-Taylor proved himself to be an attacking threat whilst getting through the Villa defence to achieve a corner, yet nothing positive happened from it. Blackett-Taylor again beat his man, decided to shoot and was agonisingly close to levelling the scoreline but the Villa goalkeeper tipped the shot wide of the post. 

Defender, George Ray was the one to level the scoreline on the stroke of the 14th minute; Volleying low into the corner of the net after a beautifully timed cross-field pass by Potter found the feet of Blackett-Taylor who provided a perfect cross from the side of the main stand.

Aston Villa attacker, Archer was through on goal for a one-on-one with Pilling. However, Monthe stopped any chance of a shot with a needed last-ditch block.

Blackett-Taylor remained his mindset of attack as he, once again, beat his marking defender and cut the ball back to Ponticelli but the Villa defender put his foot in to stop any chance of a shot.

The last chance of a late first-half goal came in the 40th minute, Villa counter-attacking through Tai but Caprice followed and blocked the attackers shot.

The scoreline was level at half time, yet Tranmere were evidently the dominant side.

Blackett-Taylor started the first attack of the second half, the attacker crossing to the back post which met the head of Ray who’s header could only meet the hands of the Villa goalkeeper.

Further consecutive attacks followed, Morris set up a corner after a powerful shot was blocked for a corner with a ‘fake shot’ to beat the marking defender. The corner met Ray at the back post who’s downward header bounced over the bar.

On the stroke of the 63rd minute, Villa attacker Wright was injured after Pilling bravely dived to his feet to shut any goal opportunities out, from a through ball.

After the injury, all momentum for a goal was stopped. In fact, the next true attack was a quarter of an hour later. Jennings getting in behind, inside the box and firing a cross which eventually falls to Gilmour on the edge of the box but the defender throws his body in the way of his shot to force a corner. 

A second-half goal was found when Jennings met the ball in the air, with his back, as the goalkeeper was late to come off his line and put the ball into the empty net. 

The first set of substitutions cane five minutes later, when Ray and Ridehalgh came off the pitch for Blackett-Taylor and Mullin. Tranmere’s new objective was to shut out any Villa attacks and keep the scoreline in their favour.

Although there was seven minutes added time due to the injury, the only goal attempt that followed Jennings’ goal was Gilmours lowly drilled free kick that the Villa goalkeeper managed to keep out.

Full time : Tranmere 2 Aston Villa 1.

Lineups :

Tranmere – Pilling, Caprice, Ray, Monthe, Borthwick-Jackson, Morris, Potter, Gilmour, Blackett-Taylor, Ponticelli, Jennings. 

Aston Villa – Searle, Rowe, Revan, Suliman, Walker, Brunt, Birch, Tait, Clarke, Wright, Archer. 

My man of the match : Blackett-Taylor.

Attendance : 978 (59 away fans).

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