It isn’t very often I go to the early rounds in the cup if we are at home against lower league opposition. Some might see it as disrespectful towards the opposition but these games always seem to have a ‘reserve game’ feel to them.
There was something about Notts County that made me want to go along. Due to the fact that we played their local rivals Nottingham Forest in pre-season and I got to see Meadow Lane first hand, the match had some kind of appeal and maybe they deserve respect for being the oldest football team in the world to be playing at professional level. Who knows what made me go along? As I sit here this morning, I can happily say that I didn’t regret it.
Tim Sherwood spoke of how important he thought the League Cup is to Aston Villa Football Club but his line-up said otherwise. He named three defenders, one defensive midfielder, three attacking midfielders, two wingers and of course a striker (if that’s what you like to call Ayew).
There were a few names that stood out in the opposition´s line-up: former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, former Blackburn striker Jon Stead and none other than former Aston Villa youth player Graham Burke.
It was the away side that took the lead against the run of play after sixteen minutes despite Sherwood’s team dominating in the opening fifteen minutes. Alan Hutton lost the ball and it then fell invitingly to Genaro Snijders, who saw his reflected shot loop over Bunn to give the visitors an early lead.
Jack Grealish then set up the equaliser with a swirling drive through the Notts County defence to lay the ball off for Adama Traore to slot home in his first start since his arrival in B6 from Barcelona.
Just before half-time, the visitors were back in the lead when Bunn sent Izale McLeod sprawling just inside the area. Stead stepped up from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.
Five minutes into the second half, with Grealish once again providing the assist, he slipped away from Elliot Hewitt before cutting the ball back across the goal for Scott Sinclair to score.
Six minutes later, the visitors restored their lead when former Villan Graham Burke cut in from the right and scored a sublime goal from the edge of the area. It was one that many Villa fans applauded.
The Villans were then awarded a penalty twelve minutes from time when Stanley Amevor brought down Kieran Richardson in the area. Scott Sinclair stepped up and beat Carroll for his second of the game. It was 3-3 and we were heading to extra time!
The home side took the lead nine minutes into extra time. Joe Cole’s cross found Sinclair, who sealed his hat-trick.
Nine minutes from time, substitute Joe Bennett dazzled his way through a few tired County players before slotting past Carroll to score his first goal for the club.
The game finished 5-3 after extra time.
At times, The Villans play was simply comical but credit ís due to Notts County and their travelling supporters who came to Villa Park and gave us a real scare.
The draw was later made and we were drawn at home to local rivals Birmingham City. It will be the first time the two teams have met in four years.