Aston Villa 1 – 2 Stevenage: Dean Campbell’s last-gasp screamer knocks Villa out of FA Cup


CUP specialist Unai Emery was left with egg on his face as League Two club Stevenage scored twice in the final two minutes of normal time to cause a stunning FA Cup upset against Aston Villa.

Emery’s men appeared to be edging into the fourth round thanks to Morgan Sanson’s first-half strike, before Leander Dendoncker was sent off for holding back substitute Dean Campbell inside the box after a dreadful error.

Fellow sub Jamie Reid despatched the penalty and then Campbell himself struck the winner after Villa went to sleep at a corner. The travelling supporters could barely believe it as they celebrated wildly, as Villa were booed off after their eighth straight defeat in this competition. 

Dean Campbell's last minute winner for Stevenage knocked Aston Villa out of the FA Cup

Dean Campbell’s last minute winner for Stevenage knocked Aston Villa out of the FA Cup

Leander Dendoncker conceded a careless error late in the game holding back Campbell

Leander Dendoncker conceded a careless error late in the game holding back Campbell

He was sent of and also conceded a penalty that saw Stevenage pull themselves back level

He was sent of and also conceded a penalty that saw Stevenage pull themselves back level

Morgan Sanson polished off a superb team move to put the Villains a goal up vs Stevenage

Morgan Sanson polished off a superb team move to put the Villains a goal up vs Stevenage

Emery has made a good start to life at Villa after succeeding Steven Gerrard but this result is a huge embarrassment, especially as Villa had designs on going deep into the competition, buoyed by Emery’s outstanding pedigree in knockout football – he is a four-time winner of the Europa League. But Stevenage will travel to Stoke in the fourth round after much-travelled boss Steve Evans masterminded one of the greatest results in their history.

Stevenage have caused problems for top flight teams in this competition before, beating Newcastle at this stage in 2011 – 13 years after taking them to a replay – and also forcing Tottenham into a second game at White Hart Lane in 2012.

Their excellent form in League Two, where they are second and look well set for promotion, meant they came into this game full of confidence. On a rare start for Villa, Philippe Coutinho’s first involvement was to shoot well over from distance, and his fellow Brazilian Douglas Luiz also had a long-range effort comfortably saved by Robin Olsen, who was deputising for Emiliano Martinez as one of eight changes to the Villa starting XI.

Stevenage forward Jamie Reid levelled from the spot after Dendoncker pulled down Campbell

Stevenage forward Jamie Reid levelled from the spot after Dendoncker pulled down Campbell 

It was elation for Stevenage after the final whistle who will advance to the fourth round

It was elation for Stevenage after the final whistle who will advance to the fourth round 

The home side had a huge let-off when Luke Norris escaped down the left and crossed for Danny Rose to steer beyond Olsen. The visitors’ celebrations were cut short by an offside flag, which VAR confirmed – though it was an extremely tight call.

With Stevenage arranging all 11 players behind the ball, Villa were struggling to make an impact. Leon Bailey was left in tears after his incredible stoppage time miss against Wolves in midweek and he was no luckier here, miskicking from close range and then losing his balance in a dangerous crossing position.

By then, however, Villa were 1-0 up. Sanson had already seen a shot blocked after a one-two with Danny Ings and it was the Frenchman who gave Villa the lead in the 33rd minute. Sanson finished a slick passing move involving Coutinho, Bailey and Ings to ease the home fans’ nerves. It was Sanson’s first goal for the club, nearly two years after he arrived from Marseille.

It's the first time Stevenage will have reached the Fourth Round since the 2014/15 season

It’s the first time Stevenage will have reached the Fourth Round since the 2014/15 season 

Philippe Coutinho made his first start under the Villa manager who joined back in October

Philippe Coutinho made his first start under the Villa manager who joined back in October

After having one effort ruled out, Stevenage then came desperately close to an equaliser when Norris cut inside from the left and hit a curling effort from 25 yards that clipped the top of the bar with Olsen stretching. Apart from his role in the goal, Coutinho was having little influence on the match and his tumble in the box under pressure from Jake Taylor summed up his half.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Stevenage allowing Villa to have the ball but denying them space where it mattered. Bailey should have had a corner when his volley was deflected wide and Ings turned smartly only to strike too high. Midway through the half, Calum Chambers just failed to stab in Coutinho’s low cross at the far post.

That was the Brazilian’s final contribution as he was replaced by Emiliano Buendia after another display that offered more questions than answers. Soon after his departure, Jake Reeves fired just wide from outside the area though Olsen always looked to have it covered.

Villa will rue their missed chances on the night and were not clinical enough in the final third

Villa will rue their missed chances on the night and were not clinical enough in the final third

Just when the game appeared to be meandering towards a Villa win, Leander Dendoncker was robbed by substitute Dean Campbell as he took a short pass from Olsen. As Campbell advanced on goal, Dendoncker clearly pulled him back and was shown a straight red card. Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot before an interminable VAR delay, which nevertheless upheld the decision, deciding the foul had taken place inside the box.

Player ratings 

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Olsen 4.5; Cash 6 (A Young 72, 6), Bednarek 5, Chambers 5, Augustinsson 6 (Digne 81); Sanson 6.5 (Ramsey 67, 6), Dendoncker 4, Douglas Luiz 5, Coutinho 6 (Buendia 67, 5); Bailey 5.5, Ings 6 (Watkins 71, 5.5). Subs not used: Martinez, Mings, Kamara, K Young.

Scorers: Sanson 33

Booked: 

Manager: Unai Emery 4.5

Stevenage (5-3-2): Ashby-Hammond 7; James-Wildin 7.5, Sweeney 7.5, Vancooten 7 (Bostwick 84), Piergianni 7.5, Clark 6.5 (Reid 63, 7.5); Taylor 6.5 (Smith 67, 6), Reeves 7, Roberts 7; Rose 7 (*Campbell 63, 8.5*), Norris 7 (Amoo 68, 6). Subs not used: Chapman.

Scorers: Reid 88 (pen), Campbell 90

Booked:

Manager: Steve Evans 8

Referee: Graham Scott 7

Attendance: 32,343

 

Reid despatched it confidently, sending Olsen the wrong way before celebrating provocatively in front of the Villa fans.

Stevenage then wanted a second penalty when another sub, David Amoo, saw his cross hit Douglas Luiz on the elbow. Their frustration lasted barely a minute, though, as the short corner found Campbell in space and his strike from the angle flew past Olsen at the near post.

 



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