Liverpool Ladies FC
Aston Villa Ladies FC
Wed 15 November 2017
Select Security Stadium
Kids (u16yrs) & Conc: £2.50*
Liverpool eyeing Continental Tyres Cup knockout spot
Victory for the Reds against a resurgent Aston Villa would seal a place in the quarter-finals
Two sides whose results have mirrored each other in recent weeks will meet on Wednesday evening.
Liverpool look to guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout stages of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup as they welcome Aston Villa to the Select Security Stadium in Widnes.
WSL 2 outfit Villa will certainly be underdogs against their top-flight opponents but the Continental Tyres Cup has already thrown up plenty of surprise results this season.
Both teams head into the clash off the back of weekend victories in the league preceded by draws, followed by penalty shootout triumphs, in this competition last time out.
And with the Villans riding a wave of confidence after a slow start to the season, Liverpool won’t be in for an easy ride as they look for a victory that would seal a quarter-final place.
After a five-game losing streak to start the season, Villa stopped the rot with a lively 2-2 draw against Sheffield in this very competition earlier this month – even securing the bonus point thanks to an 11-10 win on penalties.
And they took that new-found confidence into WSL action on Sunday as Beth Merrick’s double, allied with strikes from Ebony Salmon and captain Chloe Jones, enable them to cruise to a 4-0 triumph over Watford.
Having beaten Sheffield 6-0 and edged to a 5-4 win on penalties following a 0-0 draw with Durham, Liverpool know victory will guarantee a spot in the top two of Group One North.
They have also been going well in the league – lying fourth in the WSL 1 table following three wins in five games, which included grinding out a 1-0 triumph over Birmingham on Saturday thanks to Niamh Charles’ strike.
Liverpool and Aston Villa have not met in a competitive fixture for almost five years – with March 2013 the last time they squared off.
The FA Women’s Cup was the competition on that occasion and despite having to travel to Sutton Coldfield for the fifth-round tie, the Reds emerged as comfortable 5-0 winners.
They would go on to beat Sunderland 2-1 in the quarter-finals before going down by the same scoreline to eventual winners Arsenal in the semi-finals.
ONE TO WATCH – Ebony Salmon, Aston Villa
Ebony Salmon has found her shooting boots over the past ten days and the in-form striker has played a major role in Aston Villa’s resurgence.
Forming a dangerous strike partnership with Kerri Welsh, the England Under-17 international notched her first of the campaign in the Continental Tyres Cup draw with Sheffield – hooking the ball into the back of the net after latching on to a long pass over the top.
She followed that up by outpacing the Watford defence and coolly sliding home during the 4-0 triumph on Sunday, also being fouled on the edge of the box to set up Beth Merrick’s sublime free-kick finish for the fourth.
WHAT THEY SAID
Aston Villa’s Beth Merrick:
“Our season has been coming together in the last couple of weeks and we can go to Liverpool with confidence.
“That’s not to say we can rest on our laurels because Liverpool are a very good top-flight club and we’ll definitely be the underdogs up there.
“But after such a good performance and our first league win of the season against Watford, we’ve given ourselves a big lift.
“So far in the Continental Tyres Cup we’ve won one game and lost one, and getting something out of the Liverpool would be a real bonus for us.
“We won’t be expected to come away with anything, but the pressure will be on them not us and we’ll aim to put in a performance we can be proud of.
“We feel that the win against Watford can kick-start our season and now we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against one of the best sides in the WSL.”
Liverpool’s Gemma Bonner:
"First and foremost, we wanted to bounce back against Birmingham at the weekend after last week – going Durham and not getting three points – so we wanted to improve on that performance.
“Hopefully we can push on now in future games and show a different side to our game, and dig in for future results.
“Progress in the Cup is the aim and we are focusing on that. With the game coming so quickly, it is a chance for us to build on the momentum from the Birmingham win.
“We know sides will try and blocks but we have to come up with ways to break them down."
England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on 24 November, KO 7.05pm. Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at www.thefa.com/tickets
Lower House Lane
From the M62
Exit at Junction 7 Take A568 dual carriageway towards Widnes (Following brown signs to Halton Stadium) Keep right after junction onto Ashley Way (A562) Take 2nd exit off roundabout (McDonald?s on the right) Take 2nd exit off mini-roundabout into Lowerhouse Lane.
From Runcorn & the South
Cross Widnes/Runcorn Bridge (A533) Follow signs to Widnes (A562) At roundabout take 3rd exit towards Widnes Town Centre Take first left following brown signs to Halton Stadium (McDonald?s on the right) Take 2nd exit off mini-roundabout into Lowerhouse Lane.
From Liverpool Airport
Take Speke Road (A562) and follow signs for Widnes (A562) Following brown signs to Halton Stadium Take 1st exit off roundabout (McDonald?s on the right) Take 2nd exit off mini-roundabout into Lowerhouse Lane.
By public transport
Widnes train station is less than 1 mile to Select Security Stadium Halton Runcorn train station is less than 2 miles away Widnes bus route map and bus timetables Stadium offers secure bicycle facilities on both non-matchdays and on matchdays