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17 July 2018 Venue Banks's Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

Walsall FC
1 - 4
Aston Villa

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Match Reports

Walsall 1-4 Aston Villa

17 July 2018

Conor Hourihane scored a hat-trick as the Saddlers fell to a convincing defeat to Aston Villa.

Like against Stoke, the hosts fell behind to an early goal, Conor Hourihane side-footing home via a deflection from Ritchie De Laet’s right-wing cross.

The Saddlers responded positively and should have been level when Maz Kouhyar slipped in Kieron Morris, who dragged wide from inside the box.

Goalscorer Hourihane almost grabbed a second but his bending cross-shot was pushed away by keeper Chris Dunn.

But there was no stopping the midfielder’s next effort – a delightful 20-yard curler which left Dunn clutching at thin air.

Walsall fashioned a rare opportunity midway through the half, Dylan Parker latching onto Andy Cook’s flick and testing Jed Steer from a narrow angle.

Villa were in total control and only a last-ditch Jon Guthrie block, following an excellent jinking run from Jack Grealish, denied the impressive Hourihane a 30-minute hat-trick.

The ruthless Villans eased further ahead seven minutes before the break, Glenn Whelan skipping past Parker before slotting into the bottom corner.

The Saddlers threatened first after the restart as Andy Cook evaded two Villa defenders before hitting a fierce low drive which Steer tipped behind.

Hourihane completed his hat-trick with 54 minutes on the clock, diverting Henri Lansbury’s powerful goalbound drive past an already-committed Dunn.

Only the woodwork and the reactions of Dunn prevented rampant Villa from making it 5-0 on the hour.

Grealish’s initial right-footed shot was parried by Dunn, with Tommy Elphick heading the rebound against the bar before a third effort was deflected wide.

Walsall grabbed a consolation goal midway through the second half when Jon Guthrie bundled home a Zeli Ismail corner at the far post.

Villa very nearly restored their four-goal lead in the closing stages as Andre Green’s venomous left-footed strike cannoned against the post.

 

Starting team (4-4-2): Dunn; Devlin, Trialist 1, Guthrie, Cockerill-Mollett; Morris, Kinsella, Dobson, Kouhyar; Parker, Cook.

Team 63 minutes onwards (4-4-2): Dunn; Little, Leivesley, Guthrie, Leahy; Ismail, Sangha, Chambers, Trialist 2; Bakayoko, Candlin.

 

Attendance: 3,501 (1,702 Aston Villa supporters).

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