Match Details: 14/08/2018
Yeovil Town 0-1 Aston Villa
Carling Cup First Round
Yeovil Line-Up: 3. Carl Dickinson, 4. Gary Warren, 6. Omar Sowunmi, 8. Reece Cole, 9. Alex Fisher, 12. Nathan Baxter, 14. Diallang Jaiyesimi, 18. Yoann Arquin, 20. Sessi D'Almeida, 21. Wes McDonald, 23. Tom James,
Subs: 5. Bevis Mugabi, 15. Gabriel Rogers, 17. Alex Pattison, 19. Korrey Henry, 22. Tyrique Spencer-Clarke, 25. Steve Phillips, 30. Alefe Santos
Substitutes Used: Alex Pattison for Reece Cole (33 mins), Korrey Henry for Diallang Jaiyesimi (82 mins), Gabriel Rogers for Alex Fisher (85 mins)
Bookings: Gary Warren (Ungentlemanly Conduct, 63), Sessi D'Almeida (Foul, 65)
Yeovil Town were narrowly edged out in the League Cup First Round, as a late goal from Conor Hourihane settled a competitive match against Aston Villa in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The Glovers felt hard done by during the first half, as Diallang Jaiyesimi had a goal ruled out, supposedly for a foul inside the box, but then missed a second half opportunity to take the lead wen Alex Fisher saw his penalty kick saved. That was to prove costly when substitute Jonathan Kodjia squared for Hourihane on 77 minutes, and he was able to convert from close range at the back post for a 0-1 scoreline and to confirm Yeovil's exit from the competition at the first stage.
The Glovers went into the match making four changes to their starting line-up compared to the team that turned out against Mansfield Town. Shaun Donnellan had a thigh injury and was replaced by Gary Warren, whilst Francois Zoko had a knee problem and was replaced by Alex Fisher. Two more tactical changes saw Tom James preferred to Bevis Mugabi at right-back, whilst Reece Cole came in for Alefe Santos in the centre of midfield. Villa fielded a team that contained nine changes to their Saturday team, as they gambled on resting players against League Two opposition.
A quiet start to the game saw Yeovil emerge as the team that began to carve out the chances. After an over-hit Omar Sowunmi cross into the box sailed over the bar, Alex Fisher produced the game's first proper chance. He slid in on a Villa defender, won the ball and then hooked a shot towards the top left corner. It was heading just wide but keeper Andre Moreira wasn't to know that as he palmed the shot away for a corner. Then Yoann Arquin hit a fierce volley a yard or two wide of the posts after he picked up on a poor Villa defensive clearance.
It took Villa 25-30 minutes to find their feet. A tame Albert Adomah header was followed up by Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's sliced shot that deserved better from Andre Green's strong wing play and cut-back. The visitors began to dominate possession and overrun the midfield, and either because of that or a possible fitness problem, Reece Cole was withdrawn half an hour into the match, replaced by Alex Pattison.
That seemed to stabilise matters a little, and Alex Fisher's quick turn inside the box was only matched by Andre Moreira's quick reactions to get low down to his left to save it. At the other end, Nathan Baxter was just as impressive as he palmed an Andre Green 30 yarder over the crossbar.
Then Yeovil had two great efforts to open the scoring, both involving Diallang Jaiyesimi. The first saw him put through in a one-v-one, but he pushed the ball too close to Moreira, allowing the keeper to smother the ball before he could get his shot off. Then came a big controversial moment, as a Carl Dickinson corner went across a crowded goalmouth, with a shot being cleared off the line before it fell at the back post to Jaiyesimi. He stabbed the ball home from close range, but referee John Brooks harshly ruled it out, with it not being altogether clear what the infringement was - the most likely being Gary Warren's flying body inside the box as he attempted to get a touch on the ball, seeing him run into a defender, but if so that was a softer than soft decision.
There was more controversy in the second period,as Conor Hourihane picked up a loose ball inside the box. His shot was superbly anticipated by Gary Warren as he flung his whole body across the box to block it, leaving Villa players calling for a penalty kick for handball. It looked a close one! Instead it was Yeovil who got their own penalty kick, as Tommy Elphick grappled with Omar Sowunmi inside the penalty box, and this time the whistle did blow. Unfortunately for Yeovil their big chance was fluffed - Alex Fisher's effort was a bit telegraphed and weak, allowing Moreira the chance to dive low to his left to keep the ball out.
With the match not going their way, Villa introduced Jonathan Kodjia and Jack Grealish just before the spot kick decision, and Kodjia turned the heat up in the match when he got involved in an off the ball incident involving Gary Warren. Thankfully both players escaped with a yellow card each. Grealish also showed his influence as he produced a 25 yard drive that cannoned off the crossbar, giving Yeovil a clear warning that the big boys were now on the pitch. Yeovil were still occasionally bright, with Alex Pattison's well driven shot going a couple of yards wide, but enough to worry the visitors.
With 13 minutes remaining, Villa finally got the breakthrough they wanted. Jonathan Kodjia broke down the right, then cut along the byline before delivering a cross that took a deflection off Omar Sowunmi before landing at the feet of Conor Hourihane at the back post. Merely a foot out, he couldn't miss, and Yeovil were 0-1 down.
Villa played out the remaining time fairly professionally, even though Yeovil introduced Korrey Henry as a late substitute to try to shake things up. There was also a five minute opportunity for Academy winger Gabriel Rogers - the first player from that level to appear for the club since Ollie Bassett's pair of appearances in 2015. But the closest the team went to getting something out of the match in the closing stages was when Gary Warren hooked the ball over the bar inside a crowded goalmouth. As the final whistle blew, attention turned to the 'what if' - What if Diallang Jaiyesimi's goal had stood, and what if Alex Fisher's penalty had been converted. Villa will progress, but they didn't have it easy on the night.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Aston Villa 1.
Scorers: Conor Hourihane (0-1, 77 mins)
12. Nathan Baxter
23. Tom James, 6. Omar Sowunmi (Capt), 4. Gary Warren, 3. Carl Dickinson
21. Wes McDonald, 20. Sessi D'Almeida, 8. Reece Cole, 18. Yoann Arquin
14. Diallang Jaiyesimi, 9. Alex Fisher
25. Steve Phillips, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 15. Gabriel Rogers (85 mins for Alex Fisher), 17. Alex Pattison (33 mins for Reece Cole), 19. Korrey Henry (82 mins for Diallang Jaiyesimi), 22. Tyrique Spencer-Clarke, 30. Alefe Santos
23. Andre Moreira 2. Ritchie De Laet 4. Axel Tuanzebe 24. Tommy Elphick 3. Neil Taylor 6. Glenn Whelan 14. Conor Hourihane 34. Jake Doyle-Hayes 19. Andre Green 37. Albert Adomah 29. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy
31. Mark Bunn, 16. James Bree (83 mins for Andre Green), 5. James Chester, 7. John McGinn, 10. Jack Grealish (57 mins for Jake Doyle-Hayes), 36. Harry McKirdy, 26. Jonathan Kodjia (58 mins for Rushian Hepburn-Murphy)
Yeovil Bookings: Gary Warren (off the ball incident, 63 mins), Sessi D'Almeida (foul, 65 mins)
Aston Villa Bookings: Conor Hourihane (foul, 24 mins), Jake Doyle-Hayes (foul, 44 mins), Tommy Elphick (foul, 59 mins), Jonathan Kodjia (off the ball incident, 63 mins)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 37%; Shots: 10; Shots On Target: 2; Corners: 3; Fouls: 15.
Aston Villa Match Statistics: Possession: 63%; Shots: 12; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 7; Fouls: 15.
Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire). Assistants: Mark Pottage (Dorset) and Adam Matthews (Gloucestershire). Fourth Official: Tim Robinson (West Sussex).
Attendance: 6,123 (with 1,966 Aston Villa supporters).