- Horsfall opens scoring after eight minutes
- Grealish supplies Knibbs for Villa equaliser
- Chambers and Williams go closest for reds in second half
- Young defends holds firm to keep Villa at bay
HARRIERS held Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in pre-season action.
Fraser Horsfall netted an early goal for the reds, before the Championship outfit levelled up through Harvey Knibbs.
The vast majority of the game's action came in a first half that saw chances at either end - Adomah and Gardner going close before Horsfall's fifth-minute effort; a close-range finish after Jimmy O'Connor's cut-back.
Highly-rated Villa favourite Jack Grealish was lively throughout and helped his side level with just 11 on the clock as he provided the ammunition for Harvey Knibbs to finish.
Adomah then aimed a free-kick that Grealish turned wide, before Sulliman's header was well saved by Brandon Hall. Villa stayed in the ascendancy for much of the rest of the half and created a few half chances, going within inches of a leveller on 34 minutes as Gardner's well-struck shot smacked the post.
Harriers stayed alert, however, and twice went close before the break; Chambers striking an overhead kick narrowly over before almost tucking away a Weeks cross, but for a sound defensive block.
A much younger Harriers side took the field after the break but did superbly to soak up the Villa pressure with a disciplined display; Grealish and Knibbs going closest but being denied.
The home side's better efforts after the break came through a header from a trialist that needed hooking off the line 11 minutes after the restart, and some late trickery from new arrival Ed Williams who teased his way towards goal before lofting a finish towards Mark Bunn than glanced just over.
DEFENDER Jimmy O’Connor is excited to be back in a game environment as Harriers host Aggborough in their first home pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The team put up a solid showing against League 1 Shrewsbury earlier this week, and now welcome the Championship giants for their next test.
It brings along the next stage of pre-season for the squad, who’ve already been at it for close to three weeks on the training ground and various other locations.
O’Connor spoke ahead of Villa’s visit and stressed that the matches will play an all-important part of the build-up towards the crucial campaign opener at Alfreton Town.
“Once you get those first couple of weeks of running into your legs and work with the ball, ultimately it is about playing games,” he said.
“These pre-season friendlies are great for the fans in particular, and for the players to get back into that game environment, and it is about that game against Alfreton on the 4th August.
“It is great for the supporters and for some of the younger lads to experience playing against top, top players.
“It will be a good test for us and, hopefully, we can equip ourselves well and put us in good stead for that Alfreton game.”
“It is great... for some of the younger lads to experience playing against top, top players." Jimmy O'Connor
New signings Ashley Chambers, Billy Daniels and Ed Williams are just a handful of the faces expected to feature for Harriers, who will field first teamers alongside Academy players and a small crop of trialists.
Of the new arrivals, former Walsall man O’Connor said: “The new lads who have come in the door have approached it fantastically with a great attitude.
“I think the group seems really strong at the minute and the new lads have given the lads who’ve been here a bit longer a new lease of life as well – it energises the group again.
“We’re looking strong so far and we’ll keep it going – hopefully we’ll keep getting stronger and stronger.”
Kick-off between Harriers and Aston Villa on Saturday is at 3:00pm.
READ: Admission details for home and away fans - please note home fans can still pay on the day once advance online sales end.
WATCH: New signing Billy Daniels speaks
Neil MacFarlane post-match
Ed Williams post-match