Christian Benteke extended his prolific pre-season form as Aston Villa continued their preparations for the new campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on Sunday afternoon.
The Belgian striker, who recently signed a new contract after previously submitting a transfer request, was the star of the show as the Premier League side treated their large Irish following to an entertaining display of free-flowing, attacking football.
First-half goals from attackers Andreas Weimann and Benteke were enough to ensure Villa made it three resounding victories on the bounce as a near 6,000 capacity crowd watched Paul Lambert's young charges dominate the majority of the match.
With the start of the new season less than a fortnight away, Lambert used the game to give all his first-choice players, including new recruits Alexandar Tonev and Antonio Luna, a run-out in what proved to be a competitive encounter despite the scoreline.
And it was 22-year-old Luna, a recent recruit from Sevilla, who had the game's first effort on goal as his low-drive was well parried around the post by Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Barry Murphy.
It wasn't all one-way traffic, however, as the hosts played their part in an enjoyable opening 45 minutes with Sean O'Connor going closest for the Hoops but his rising shot narrowly went wide with Brad Guzan scrambling.
Benteke didn't take long to make his mark on the game and get those sporting claret and blue in the stands on the edge of their seats. A delightful one-two with Gabriel Agbonlahor created space for the speedy England international but his goalbound strike was blocked by Conor McCormack.
Villa soon got just reward for their bright opening as Benteke showed both power and pace to latch onto Luna's inch-perfect ball before rounding the onrushing Murphy and squaring for Weimann who showed great composure to fire home from 12 yards.
The visitors doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark as Matthew Lowton's pin-point cross was finished expertly by the diving Benteke before the 22-year-old saw another header cleared off the line moments later.
A flurry of substitutions at half-time by both sides disrupted the flow of the game but didn't disturb Villa's dominance. However, Nicklas Helenius should have added to the lead after being teed up by Benteke; the young Danish forward's effort lacked conviction with only Murphy to beat.
Despite playing a league game less then 48 hours beforehand, Shamrock Rovers showed great fight and determination during a stop-start second period to give their superior opponents a high-intensity defensive work-out in favourable conditions.
Benteke apart, the loudest cheer of the day was reserved for Irish international Ciaran Clark who featured after the interval and the centre-back came close to adding further daylight between the sides but his well-struck effort was straight at the 'keeper.
As Trevor Croly's side inevitably fatigued, Lambert used the remaining quarter to field some of his youngsters but the visitors couldn't give the fans one last moment to cheer as Murphy did brilliantly to tip Helenius' looping header over the bar.