Wickham Nets as U18s Draw at Villa
Saturday, 12th Sep 2009 21:57
Connor Wickham was a late inclusion in Town's U18 starting line up as the young Blues drew 2-2 at Aston Villa on Saturday morning. The England U17 international is recovering from a groin strain, which saw him miss Wednesday’s reserve match against Colchester.
In sweltering conditions at Aston Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground, Villa started much the brighter and Derrick Williams, who had trials with the Blues as a youngster, had the ball in the Town net after only two minutes, only for it to be disallowed for offside. Durell Berry hit the bar with a header on five and had another effort saved on 12 minutes.
Ian McLoughlin in the Town goal made several excellent saves and was the main reason the score remained 0-0 until half-time.
Town's first real chance fell to Wickham on 55 minutes. His powerful shot was saved but Griffiths was unable to control the rebound and sliced it wide.
The right winger more than made up for it five minutes later when he slammed in a piledriver from 25 yards out that gave Thomas Dau in the Villa goal no chance.
The second half had been much more of an even contest and it was no surprise when the Villa substitute Arsenio Halfhuid equalised on 72 minutes.
On 80, Town failed several times to clear a Villa free kick and, despite claims of a handball, Halfhuid bundled in to put Villa 2-1 up.
Town threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser and were caught on the break several times only for McLoughlin to rescue them again.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 92nd minute when Wickham controlled the ball well, fought off challenges from two Villa defenders and slotted the ball into the corner of the net.
The 2-2 scoreline might have been a fair reflection of the second half, but Villa will feel that they could have had the game sewn up in the first half but for a man of the match performance from McLoughlin. Town's U16's drew 0 - 0 with their Villa counterparts.
Thanks to Mick Diver for the report.
Photo: Action Images
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