3,000 Villa fans made it to the Bescot tonight to see a mixed Villa side turn in a comfortable 2-1 victory over Wallsall thanks to a brace from young Andreas Weimann just back from international duty.
As rumoured prior to kick off, Steve Sidwell was included tonight, partnered in the middle by Nigel Reo-Coker wearing the armband, with the side returning to a more familiar 4-4-2, giving the new away kit its first airing.
James Collins lasted all of three minutes before being replaced by Carlos Cuellar, rekindling a centre half partnership with Curtis Davies which I don’t think we’ve seen since the 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield early last season.
Hopefully it’s nothing major and just precautionary measure. Update: Collins felt discomfort in his calf and awaits a scan to determine the extent of the injury. He may miss the trip to Portugal.
While Nathan Delfouneso was still packing his bags in France, Andreas Weimann proved he was suffering no hangovers from the European Under 19 Championships, opening the scoring 25 minutes in with a deflected effort.
Eric Lichaj came on for Habib Beye and Shane Lowry took Nicky Shorey’s place for the second half, quite impressive since both started in a friendly against Chasetown last night.
Andreas Weimann made it a night to remember for himself, doubling the lead 20 minutes or so into the 2nd half, following up on Albrighton’s shot which was parried by Walsall keeper Brain.
Immediately after the goal, Ciaran Clark came on for Davies and then the one, the only, the Togolese Zidane himself, Moustapha Salifou came on in place of Reo-Coker. The crowd naturally went wild.
4 minutes later, Jonathon Hogg gave Marc Albrighton a well earned rest after a number of impressive performances again this pre-season and Brad Friedel made way for Elliott Parish.
Walsall grabbed a consolation thanks to substitute Alex Nicholls with his first touch after coming on with 15 minutes left on the clock. Although Walsall applied a little late pressure, there were no further goals.
Job done, nice to get a good win under the belt, now it’s off to Portugal tomorrow. A special mention again for Marc Albrighton and also John Carew who have both won the plaudits for their performances in the last couple of games.
Starting XI: Friedel, Beye, Collins, Davies, Shorey, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Bannan, Carew, Weimann.
Substitutes: Lowry, Clark, Lichaj, Parish, Hogg, Salifou, Cuellar.