Martin O’Neill saw an Aston Villa side comprised mostly of reserve players, but with a healthy sprinkling of first teamers, kick off the 2010/11 pre-season programme with a loss to Conference side Basingstoke Town at The Camrose this afternoon.
Both of the home side’s goals came in the first half, Chris Herd with an unfortunate own goal in the 34th minute and David Pratt adding a second in the 38th minute. Youngster Graham Burke got one back for Villa 2 minutes into injury time.
This wasn’t a game that I saw any of, so you won’t get an in depth report here, but it’s definitely worth a mention since the line up featured more first team members than I had expected given the game at London Road tomorrow night.
Starting XI: Parish, L Young, Shorey, Cuellar, Davies, Albrighton, Osbourne, Hogg, Forrester, Bannan, Herd.
Substitutes: Lichaj, Siegrist, Clark, Collins Jr, Berry, Deeney, Flanaghan, Halfhuid, Burke, Taylor.
Basingstoke followed that up four minutes later when the home side’s leading scorer last season, ex-Swindon Supermarine & Chippenham Town striker David Pratt, nodded past Elliott Parish to double the lead. I suppose the bumble-bee goalkeeper kit didn’t put the striker off as hoped.
Carlos Cuellar and Harry Forrester made way for Ciaran Clark and James Collins on the hour mark. That’s James Collins the young striker, not the centre half by the way. Although we continued to press, Collins and Bannan going close, the visitors couldn’t find a goal.
An injury time consolation from Graham Burke, who is unknown to me, might at least provide a future pub quiz question that will likely stump all but the most obsessive of Villa fans. “Q: Who scored the opening goal for Villa in the 2010/11 pre-season. A: Graham Burke.” Perhaps a name to look out for in the future.
A bit disappointing to lose to a non-league outfit given that it wasn’t the weakest side that we could have sent out by a long way. Under the circumstances, that’s a pretty strong back four to be conceding goals to a conference side, but I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it. We didn’t play a recognised striker for the first hour and I’m sure that if we could have sent Nathan Delfouneso and/or Andreas Weimann out – both of whom will be in action later this afternoon, along with Nathan Baker, in the European Under 19 Championship – we would surely have terrorised the home team. All three of those are in the starting line-ups by the way.
Let’s hope for a better result tomorrow night.
[Photo credit and match details courtesy of the official Aston Villa Twitter account.]