Villa Ladies win Epic Cup Tie!
Aston Villa Ladies 2 Sheffield F.C. 2 (Villa won 11-10 on penalties)
Aston Villa Ladies came from behind to win an epic cup tie on Sunday, beating Sheffield F.C. 11-10 on penalties after a 95-minute equaliser robbed them of victory in normal time.
Villa came into the came into the game still looking for their first win of the season at the 6th attempt. A promising display in mid-week to WSL1 side Sunderland saw the same line-up start the match and Villa had all the early possession.
Ebony Salmon had the host’s first chance on 2 minutes when her shot was parried to Kerri Welsh who couldn't keep her follow up header down. The next chance followed shortly after with Welsh again involved, firing over the bar after good work from Amy West. So it was against the run of play that Sheffield took the lead with a goal remarkably similar to their opener in the league fixture last month, Holly Housley sent in a speculative ball from 35 yards which the keeper lost in the sun and the strike ended up in the back of the net!
Villa were straight on the attack after the set-back with Beth Merrick twice coming close from long range and Salmon again using her pace to trouble the Sheffield defence. The equaliser came with the front two combining well on 39 minutes and Salmon setting up Welsh who finished brilliantly.
With the scores level at half-time, Villa again came out strongly for the second half, Hayley Crackle testing the Sheffield keeper in the first minute with a stinging shot which was parried away low at the near post. The hosts continued to dominate and had numerous chance to take the lead before a nasty injury to Kerri Welsh bought a temporary halt to proceedings. Welsh’s replacement Jodie Hutton was straight into the action, blasting a pile driver off the cross-bar, before firing just over with another shot minutes later. Villa deservedly took the lead on 81 minutes when Salmon slotted home after good work on the right from Crackle. Villa had another chance in injury time when the superb Salmon rounded the keeper but her shot found the side netting.
But the drama wasn’t over, Sheffield equalised in the 94th minute when Johnson netted for the visitors and the game headed straight to penalties.
With both sides missing in the early exchanges, the shoot-out continued into sudden death. With the scores level at 10-10, after both keepers had taken spot-kicks, Jodie Hutton stepped up for her second penalty and made it 11-10 to Villa! With Sian Rogers having saved Sheffield’s previous kick, after coming on as an injury time replacement for Chloe Beattie, it was a hard fought victory that bought Villa their first success of the season.