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Aston Villa ease through despite Bolton opener

Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa – Carabao Cup – Second Round – University of Bolton Stadium
(Image credit: Isaac Parkin)

Aston Villa came from behind to spare manager Steven Gerrard an uncomfortable night with a convincing 4-1 Carabao Cup win at Bolton.

The Premier League side were stunned as Dion Charles gave the hosts a 24th-minute lead in Tuesday’s second-round tie at the University of Bolton Stadium but Douglas Luiz levelled directly from a corner.

Danny Ings put Villa ahead with a 62nd-minute penalty after being fouled by goalkeeper Joel Dixon, who blundered again soon after to hand Lucas Digne the third. Substitute Leon Bailey added another late on.

After a frustrating start to the season and just three wins from 14 games stretching back to March, questions were being asked of Villa’s direction under Gerrard heading into the game.

A cup shock could have made life awkward but the former Liverpool captain seemed determined to avoid that scenario by naming a strong side.

The forward line alone, with Ings and Ollie Watkins up front and Philippe Coutinho in support, left no room for excuses.

Despite that, League One Bolton, on the rise again after their financial woes of recent years, were determined to give them a stern test.

Elias Kachunga was a constant threat and fired wide early on. Villa responded with Coutinho twice shooting at Dixon and Watkins having an effort disallowed, but Wanderers went ahead after Luiz was dispossessed and Kieran Lee teed up Charles.

Their lead lasted just 12 minutes as Luiz made amends by curling in from a corner.

Kachunga was denied by a Tyrone Mings block after the break but Villa then took a firm grip after Coutinho played in Ings and he was brought down by Dixon.

Ings made no mistake from the spot and Dixon compounded his error when he was caught off his line by Digne, who had earlier hit the post, just three minutes later.

Bailey wrapped up the win with a neat run and finish three minutes from time.

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