Aston Villa 1-2 Stevenage: Fourth-tier Boro come from behind to stun Emery’s men

Date published: Sunday 8th January 2023 8:09 - News Desk

Stevenage celebrate

League Two promotion-chasers Stevenage celebrated the biggest shock of the FA Cup third round after scoring two late goals to claim a stunning 2-1 success at Aston Villa.

Boro midfielder Dean Campbell fired home a dramatic stoppage-time winner at Villa Park following Jamie Reid’s 88th-minute leveller from the penalty spot.

Villa had led since Morgan Sanson’s 33rd-minute opener but endured some nervy moments even before the sensational late twist as Steve Evans’ visitors had a Danny Rose goal disallowed for offside and hit the crossbar through Luke Norris.

With time running out, Reid coolly converted from 12 yards after Villa midfielder Leander Dendoncker was sent off for pulling down Campbell in the box.

And the afternoon ended in embarrassment for Unai Emery’s Premier League side as Campbell lashed past Robin Olsen at the near post following a short corner to earn Stevenage a famous victory and a fourth-round trip to Stoke.

Unai Emery immediately targeted silverware when he was appointed at Villa Park in October but Villa crashed to another early exit.

They saw plenty of the ball early but had only Douglas Luiz’s tame effort to show for it and it allowed the visitors to give them a scare.

Exactly 12 years ago Stevenage dumped Newcastle out of the FA Cup and they were dreaming of another upset after 17 minutes.

Boro worked the ball well on the left and Luke Norris crossed for the unmarked Danny Rose to tap in, only for the celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag on Norris.

It was a warning for Villa, who were yet to click, and Philippe Coutinho’s deflected effort was easily gathered by Taye Ashby-Hammond with the Brazilian also shooting wide.

It had been an inauspicious opening half an hour from Villa as they struggled to break down the confident and organised visitors.

Ultimately it was the only bit of quality of the half which unlocked Stevenage as Emery’s side grabbed a scarcely deserved lead after 32 minutes.

Coutinho, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings were involved in some snappy one-touch build up before the latter slipped in Sanson and he fired in his first goal for Villa from 16 yards.

Stevenage remained undaunted with Norris’ ambitious effort from the corner of the box clipping the bar as Steve Evans’ side searched for the reward their composed and positive display deserved.

Any hopes of a comeback were almost extinguished when Bailey’s close-range effort deflected wide immediately after the break as Villa emerged with renewed vigour.

Stevenage remained robust, though, and displayed the confidence of a side who have now only lost two of their last 23 games.

They frustrated Villa, who by the hour were camped well into the visitors’ half, and Calum Chambers prodded wide after 66 minutes.

Bailey shot over but, with five minutes left, Villa imploded. Robin Olsen played Dendoncker into trouble on the edge of the box and he was robbed by Campbell.

The midfielder pulled the forward back as he broke into the box and, after referee Graham Scott initially gave a free-kick, he awarded a penalty and sent Dendoncker off.

Following a VAR check Reid buried the spot kick and better was to come two minutes later when Villa fell asleep from a short corner and Campbell beat Olsen at his near post to win it.

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