Aston Villa lined up against Middlesbrough for the second time in 7 days at Villa Park and made 11 changes from the team that beat Barnsley 3-0 at the weekend.
Former captain Tommy Elphick, youngsters Callum O’Hare and Jake Doyle-Hayes were amongst the changes. Middlesbrough was not to be outdone though as they made 10 changes themselves.
There was just 11,197 in attendance which was the lowest attendance at Villa Park for around 30 years. I don’t mean to be negative but surely the club should be looking to get bums on seats so free entry or lower prices for Season ticket holders, giveaways to local schools or tickets for troops all could have helped. That’s for another day anyway.
It was Middlesbrough who had the ball in the net very early on through former Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford but it was disallowed due to being offside.
Just four minutes later it was Villa’s turn to be denied by the lines mans flag. Elphick got on the end of a Henri Lansbury free-kick only to see it ruled offside.
Villa began to dominate the possession in the first half as O’Hare continued to impress and he was close to giving the home side the lead only to see his shot come off a defender and deflect for a corner.
Ten minutes before halftime O’Hare played Scott Hogan in on goal but the no.9’s shot was deflected over the bar by Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala.
Just a few minutes before the break and some sloppy defending gave Garry Monk’s side a chance.
On-loan Swansea winger Connor Roberts crossed the ball into the box for Bamford who jumped high only to see his header crash off the bar.
It was Middlesbrough – who haven’t lost in their last five visits to Villa Park when Elphick was sent off for bringing Bamford down in the penalty area. Bamford stepped up and slotted home from the spot.
Villa come close to hitting back straight away with Ross McCormack tried to slip Hogan through from the left but the striker couldn’t get a touch on the through ball and Dimi collects for Boro.
The home side comes close again when McCormack tried to get on the end of Samba’s header only to be denied by Adam Forshaw.
Six minutes after the hour mark Bamford doubled Middlesbrough’s lead as he rose to head home from Tavernier’s cross.
Villa had a shout for a penalty with 10 minutes to play when McCormack was brought down in the box but the referee said no penalty.
Doyle-Hayes then come close a few moments later in the box but he hit his shot straight at Dimi in the Boro goal.
It’s Middlesbrough’s name in the hat for the next round as Villa crash out of the League Cup. Full focus now on the Championship.