League 2 Stevenage shocked Aston Villa with a 1-2 victory at Villa Park this evening to knock them out of the FA Cup third round.
Unai Emery continues to learn about his squad and opted to make eight changes as he felt his understudies were capable of doing a job on the day.
Robin Olsen replaced Emi Martinez in goal while Matty Cash kept his place and played alongside Calum Chambers, Jan Bednarek and Ludwig Augustinsson in the back four.
Douglas Luiz was another to keep his spot but he was joined by Morgan Sanson, Leander Dendoncker and Phillipe Coutinho in the midfield. While Leon Bailey was the final player to keep his place who was partnered by Danny Ings.
Far from a thriller
The game was far from a thriller as Villa dominated the ball without really looking a threat to a compact Stevenage side.
Coutinho summed up Villa early on when he went for a spectacular from outside the box but it went spectacularly wrong.
Douglas Luiz also had an effort moments later but it was saved comfortably by Taye Ashby-Hammond in the visitor’s goal.
Stevenage did have the ball in the net through Danny Rose when he converted Luke Norris’ cross but the latter was judged to have been offside by VAR.
The home side took the lead just after the hour mark through Sanson.
It was a lovely worked goal and probably the move of the match. Coutinho and Bailey combined before playing it into Ings who was able to release Sanson who slotted home with ease.
Norris came close for Boro just before half time when he cut inside of Cash and tried a spectacular effort but was denied by the cross-bar to deny Olsen’s blushes.
In truth, very little happened in the second half as Villa dominated possession but the visitors knew as long as it stayed 1-0, they had a chance and they weren’t wrong.
With a few minutes left on the clock, Stevenage got the break through they had been waiting for from the penalty shot.
Olsen played the ball to Dendoncker who lost the ball to Campbell and then tugged his shirt for the Stevenage man to fall to the ground. The Belgian was given his marching orders and despite an initial decision of a free-kick, a penalty was awarded.
Jamie Reid converted from the spot to pull the League 2 side level.
Just as we were looking at a replay it went bad to worse for the home side when the visitors were awarded a corner kick.
Villa fell asleep at the corner when the ball was played short to Campbell who lashed it home to beat Olsen at his near post.
The collapse was nothing short of an embarrassment for Villa but full credit to Stevenage.
Football fans love the magic of the FA Cup, it’s just a shame there was none for Villa for an eighth consecutive season.
This isn’t quite as bad as losing over two legs to Bradford over two legs in 2013 but it is certainly up there in recent times. Emery will have learnt a lot about his fringe players today as Villa fans are once again starved of any silverware.