Sunday 3 December 2017

Aston Villa hold off daring Durham in five-goal frenzy

Villa finished their FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup campaign in style with victory over Durham

FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup match
14:00, Sunday 3 December 2017
Tamworth FC

Aston Villa Ladies FC Goal Scorers: Baptiste 29', Salmon 62', Ejupi 87'

Durham Women FC Goal Scorers: Atkinson 21', Ness 90'

Tash Baptiste helped earn Aston Villa consolation for their FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup exit after they fought off a late Durham comeback.

Striker Baptiste cancelled out Jordan Atkinson's 21st minute opener for the visitors before fellow forward Ebony Salmon and Elizabeth Ejupi put them in command after the break.

Zoe Ness replied in injury time for Durham, but it was not enough to prevent the visitors falling to a fourth Cup defeat.

Durham looked comfortable during the first quarter, during which Beth Hepple was denied by the post, but failed to build on their early lead.

Instead Baptiste drilled in from close range at the far post to level for Villa in the 29th minute.

Lively teenager Salmon, who impressed throughout, went close to giving Villa the lead before the break but was not to be denied in the 63rd minute when she stabbed home after her initial shot had been parried by goalkeeper Megan Borthwick.

The hosts were by now in total command with the Durham goal enjoying a number of close escapes before impressive midfielder Ejupi appeared to have wrapped up the victory by steering in a close-range shot three minutes from time.

Durham refused to lie down however and Hepple had a goal disallowed for offside before Ness slammed home during added time.

But Villa, for whom Jodie Hutton and Salmon also hit the woodwork, were well worth their success.

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Aston Villa midfielder Beth Merrick: “It was very important for us to maintain momentum even though we were already out of the competition.

“We set out to try to score the early goal today and when that didn’t happen we showed character to hit back so quickly

“Our manager told us a few things that were going wrong at half time and I felt we had the momentum afterwards.

“We’ve hit the bar and the post as well as scoring the goals. Even though they got the goal back late on, I felt we were in control of the game.

“There always seem to be goals when these two teams play and we were aware of Durham’s attacking quality. We weren’t happy with the way we started the season but our home record speaks for itself.”

Durham midfielder Beth Hepple: “It was a good game and it was essential that we got some game time.

To get a competitive game today before resuming the league programme next week was very useful for us.

“We’ve had a break since our game against the London Bees and in periods today I felt we implemented some of the things we have been talking about.

“It’s always a tough game against Villa and that’s the way it proved. We sat off a little in the second half and they got on top.

“But we got ourselves back into the game towards the end, the goalkeeper made a good save to turn my first-half shot onto the post.”

Aston Villa 3

Tash Baptiste 29, Ebony Salmon 63, Elizabeth Ejupi 87

Durham 2

Jordan Atkinson 22, Zoe Ness 90+1

Aston Villa (3-5-2): Sian Rogers, Chloe Jones, Elisha N’Dow, Jade Richards, Hayley Crackle, Aoife Hurley, Elizabeth Ejupi, Beth Merrick, Jodie Hutton, Ebony Salmon, Tash Baptiste

Substitutes: None

Substitutes not used: Katie Wilkinson, Ashlee Brown, Sian Johnson, Ria Elsmore

Bookings: None

Red Cards: None

Durham (3-5-2): Megan Borthwick, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Robson, Annabel Johnson, Jordan Atkinson, Rachel Lee, Lauren Briggs, Beth Hepple, Nicki Gears, Zoe Ness, Emily Roberts

Substitutes: Nicola Gibson for Lee 38, Abigail Cottam for Atkinson 58, Ellis Dalgleish for Roberts 77

Substitutes not used: Dominka Podziute, Lauren Jordinson

Bookings: None

Red Cards: None

Referee: Stacey Pearson

Attendance: 82