RECAP: MIDWEEK ENGLISH ACTION
Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj were the only two Americans to play substantial minutes in midweek as there was action in the Carling Cup quarterfinals and a full program in League One and League Two.
Portsmouth 2 - 4 Aston Villa
Brad Guzan played the full 90 minutes in goal, and fellow-American Brad Friedel took a rest on the bench as Villa progressed to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.
The game started poorly for the visitors as captain Stiliyan Petrov scored an own goal in the tenth minute of the game. Danny Webber curled in a left wing corner to the near post and the ball was sliced off the Bulgarian's shin past the helpless Guzan from five yards.
The visitors hit back almost immediately with a 12th minute strike from Emil Heskey. James Milner received the ball twenty-five yards out, and lifted a through pass over the Pompey defense for the England international forward to run on to and chip past the onrushing keeper Asmir Begovic from 12 yards into the middle of the goal.
The visitors took the lead in the 27th minute with a great strike from Milner. He received a short throw-in from Ashley Young on the left wing and turned his defender before curling an 18 yard shot around Begovic and just inside the right-hand post for the score.
The third for the Villans came in the 74th minute from Stewart Downing, who was starting for only the first time after joining in the summer transfer window. Petrov found Young on the right wing, and he crossed to the far post, where his fellow England winger was able to squeeze a header between the goalie and the upright.
The hosts hit back in the 87th minute when Nwanko Kanu beat Guzan from six yards out. A pass from center midfield was headed down by Frederic Piquionne to the right of the goal, where the Nigerian got to the ball just before the American, and fired into center of the net.
It looked as though it would be a nervous last few minutes for the Villans, but Young's 88th minute score put to rest any comeback heroics. Gabriel Agbonlahor ran down the right before crossing, and the left-winger neatly turned his defender at the far post before lashing the ball into the roof of the goal.
Aston Villa are sixth in the standings and will return to Premier League action on Saturday as they host Jozy Altidore's 15th-place Hull City.
Lincoln City 1 - 2 Port Vale
Eric Lichaj went the distance, and had a hand in the home team's goal as they somehow lost a game that they otherwise dominated.
The American was impressive throughout, and could have been on the scoresheet on several occasions despite playing in defense.
Vale took the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute as Marc Richards scored into the bottom-right corner. A hopeful punt forward from defense was misjudged by City's Scott Kerr, and the ball flicked to the left off his head into the path of the forward, who looped it over the advancing goalkeeper from twelve yards and into the net, despite a valiant effort from Nathan Baker to get back to clear.
The hosts drew level just after half-time thanks to an own goal from Chris Martin in the 47th minute. Lichaj took a long throw-in from the left and, as Delroy Facey challenged, the keeper punched the ball into the roof of his own net from six yards.
Lincoln continued to push forward, but were punished on the break with a Louis Dodds goal from six yards. The Valiants won the ball in midfield and it was played down the right wing to Richards, who squared a pass for the ex-Lincoln man to control at the near post and fire into the bottom left corner.
Lincoln fell to 22nd in the League Two standings, having failed to win in seven league games. They travel to 17th ranked Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Jon-Paul Pittman remained on the bench as Wycombe Wanderers lost 1-0 at Southampton.
Jemal Johnson and Zak Whitbread both missed the game with injury as Milton Keynes Dons lost 3-2 at Millwall.
Ian Joyce did not make the bench as Southend United lost 3-0 at home against Norwich City.
Mike Grella came on for the last four minutes as Leeds United won 2-0 at Oldham Athletic.
Seb Harris watched from the stands as Northampton Town lost 3-1 against visitors Hereford United.