Substitute Leon Bailey scored one and set up another before leaving with an injury as Aston Villa ran out 3-0 victors over Everton.
The game was very even until just past the hour mark when Matty Cash latched onto Douglas Luiz’s through-ball and cut in from the right flank to drive home with his unfavoured left foot.
Moments later Bailey’s inswinging corner was misjudged at the near post by Lucas Digne who flicked the ball over stand-in Toffees keeper Asmir Begovic for the second.
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With Everton’s defence now non-existent, Ings played the ball forward for Bailey to run free through for a third goal in the space of nine minutes driving home on the half-volley into the roof of the net. Moments later he limped off the field clutching his left thigh.
TALKING POINT – HOLTE END HAVE THEIR NEW HERO, IF HE CAN STAY FIT
No Premier League team had a void for a terrace idol like Aston Villa going into the season, after boyhood fan Jack Grealish left for Manchester City.
They look to have this in Leon Bailey. The Jamaican winger who joined in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen may lack the audacious skills of Grealish but is quicker and perhaps a better crosser of the ball.
Bailey came on and dazzled for 21 minutes before limping off the field clutching his thigh. This is especially worrying as he has missed games already this season with a minor hamstring complaint.
With Watkins and Ings Villa have dangerous strikers if they are provided with service but, as the tame first half showed, Villa are not over-stocked with creativity, so Bailey’s availability may be equally felt in terms of points as in excitement for the fans.
MAN OF THE MATCH – MATTY CASH (ASTON VILLA)
The former Nottingham Forest wing-back looked a threat throughout the game driving down the right flank. Naturally a player who likes to get forward, Dean Smith seemed to give him even more freedom than usual, enabling him to expose the defensive weakness of Lucas Digne.
In the first half he threatened to score cutting in from the right flank but could not get a decent contact on his shot, something he corrected with a marvellous strike that opened the scoring and his own personal account for Villa. The corner which led to Villa’s second was also the result of a shot of his being deflected behind.
Aston Villa: Martinez 6, Cash 8*, Targett 7, Konsa 6, Tuanzebe 6, Mings 7, Luiz 7, Ramsey 7, McGinn 6, Watkins 6, Ings 7. Subs: Nakamba 6, Bailey 8, Young 6, Traore 6.
Everton: Begovic 7, Godfrey 6, Mina 6, Keane 6, Digne 5, Allan 6, Doucoure 6, Townsend 6, Iwobi 6, Gray 7, Rondon 5. Subs: Gomes 5, Gordon 6, Kenny 6, Davies 6.
7′ Great save from Begovic! This time Mings meets a corner at the front post and he flicks the ball between the sticks but Begovic athletically dives to claw the ball away.
66′ GOAL FOR VILLA! Cash slams home his first goal for Villa. Digne does not track his run and latching onto Luiz’s through-ball he cuts into the box and then slams the ball into the roof of the net inside the near post with his wrong foot.
69′ GOAL FOR VILLA! Bailey curls a corner to the near post where Digne tries to head behind but only succeeds in flicking the ball over Begovic and in.
75′ GOAL FOR VILLA! Bailey runs through on goal and slams the ball on the half-volley past, or almost through, Begovic and into the roof of the net.
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