Crash, bang, wallop – Cameron Archer pulled off a stunning hat-trick as Aston Villa’s young guns fought 2-0 to beat Burton 4-2 in the EFL Trophy.
Archer, 19, was in incredible form here at Pirelli Stadium as he propelled a memorable home trio against the League One side to take his tally to eight in six games against senior opponents this season.
Villa, ahead of Dean Smith, Craig Shakespeare and Johan Lange, was initially defeated by two back-to-back corners as Burton midfielder Joe Powell whipped up dangerous deliveries with forwards Daniel Jebbison and captain Kane Hemmings all two typing at close range.
Villa, however, was of great value after dropping two points with Caleb Chukwuemeka setting Archer up for his first as the teenager from Walsall triggered a low left-footed workout past Ellery Balcome to start the comeback.
After the break, Chukwuemeka moved to the right with Archer leading the attack on Villa, the pair combining to tee-up left winger Tristan Abledeen-Goodridge who equalized with a nice finish stroked in the far corner to do it 2- 2.
Ten minutes later, Villa pressed again as Abledeen-Goodridge picked the fit archer who took off Burton’s backline before blowing the ball up with his right and, once again, hammering the house with his left to complete Villa’s fight, sliding to his knees past Villa fans in the corner.
The goalie just didn’t finish there as he demanded the ball from Chukwuemeka as Villa escaped before Archer first finished at 18 yards, again burying Balcombe with another outstanding finish. .
And that’s how Villa ran out of 4-2 winners with Smith giving treble hero Archer a huge round of applause as he walked off the pitch.
Here are your ratings of players with Villa’s Under-21s reserving their places in the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy.
Oliwier Zych 7
Good hands to perform a powerful first half cross in wet conditions. Well saved from Powell’s piledriver in the first half, but struggled to control his six-yard box as Burton scored from back-to-back corners as Jebbison and then Hemmings both tapped from close range. Made a good save in the second half as Villa moved up the other side to score. A decent exit from the young Polish.
Frankie Ealing 7
Enjoyed a good fight with delicate winger Omari Patrick on Burton’s left side and stayed defensively activated to keep Burton at bay.
Lamare Bogarde 8
Impressive yet again from the 17-year-old, who will now join Holland’s Under-18s this week. Bogarde had to face the highly rated Jebbison, as he lost his man from a corner as the Canadian hit home. Bogarde was of great value, however, as he often is. Another brilliant learning game for the youngster who is admired by Smith and his coaching staff at the first team level.
Josh Feeney 9
Very confident as he came out from behind with the ball like a seasoned veteran, but Feeney is only 16 years old. The England Under-17 defender looked very classy in a game that increased his development tenfold as he faced opposition from League One. Cool, calm and collected from Feeney who oozed class.
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Sil Swinkels 7
Uncomfortable playing out of position at left-back as Delaney told him to get him off his feet and hit the line as he was dispossessed. Fought against Hemmings, Burton’s experienced skipper, but like most improved as the match progressed. A large, imposing figure, is Swinkels, who is highly regarded by those of Bodymoor Heath. The match in wet and windy conditions suited him as he won his fair share of heads in the second half.
Hayden Lindley 8
The former Man City man captained the team tonight and sat down in midfield. He didn’t do it his way, as Burton’s press in the middle was aggressive. Lindley kept the ball much better in the second half and calmed things down, which allowed Villa to move forward in attack. Lindley played fastballs well in the forwards.
Tim Iroegbunam 9
Great feet and poise again, having proven difficult to launch countless attacks from Villa. The 19-year-old, who is Paul Pogba-esque in his approach, likes to put his foot in it and he won a crunchy 50/50 streak. Another very good performance from Iroegbunam here who has been consistent all season. I love her so much.
Taylor-Jay Hart 6
Started in the No.10 position behind Chukwuemeka, showed quick feet and possession intelligence early on, but faded as Burton mastered the game on that 45th opening. It was a step forward for the 17-year-old knowing he is a regular at Villa’s Under-18s where he has already scored four out of six this season. Replaced by Thorndike on time, Villa coming in sharply after that.
Cameron Archer 10 *
Absolutely sensational as he recovers his second match ball of the season with another stylish hat-trick. It was the end of the Highest Order with Archer applauded by Smith, Shakespeare, Danks and Lange in the stands. Archer was at a higher level here, hitting his trio past Balcombe into Burton’s net. Villa has to settle his contract now. Its evolution since the summer has been dazzling. The boy is a finisher.
Tristan Abledeen Goodridge 7
The 18-year-old started on the left side of Villa’s attack and finished very well to equalize, scoring Chukwuemeka’s reduction at home. Abledeen-Goodridge has pace and cunning, and he’ll be delighted to have been put on the scoresheet.
Caleb Chukwuemeka 7
The big man struggled to win at first, but he was involved in three of Villa’s four goals. Caleb seemed to be having a lot more joy on the outside with Archer moving inside as it gave him time on the ball. Another who would have learned a lot playing against the opposition of League One. Caleb was a bit sloppy on occasion, but he picked the right passes when he needed them. He didn’t have a clue in terms of the odds, unfortunately.
Thorndike (for Hart, 57)
Reddin (activated for Archer, 83)
Patterson (for Goodridge, 90)
Not used: Wright, O’Reilly, Zito, Alcock.
Burton Albion: Jebbison (20), Hemmings (23)
Aston Villa: Archer (35, 61, 71), Goodridge (51)
Next step for Villa’s under 23s: Birmingham City (a), Premier League 2; Kick-off at 12 noon.