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Women's Football News
Coventry City 1 Aston Villa 3
Aston Villa won the latest edition of their Midlands rivalry with Coventry City after a commanding second half display to overturn a half time deficit at Bedworth and gain revenge for last week's home defeat in the Premier League Cup.
Trailing to a 40th minute penalty and having been dominated in terms of attempts on goal in the first half, Villa equalised within two minutes of the restart and went on to totally control the rest of the match, leaping up to fourth place in the National Division as a result.
Coventry started very well and soon created the first chance when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk's cross was headed just wide by Destiney Toussaint. Sweetman-Kirk fired over when set up by Danni Saulter, then rounded Megan Walsh from a weak back pass but ran out of space. Villa keeper Walsh blocked bravely after her goal kick had been headed back by Helen Dermody for Sweetman-Kirk to run in on goal on 16 minutes.
Little had been seen of the Villa attack at this point apart from a couple of speculative 35-yard efforts. At the other end Walsh made another fine save after a short corner routine had allowed Dermody to curl a left foot effort towards the top corner on 26 minutes, then she held a powerful Toussaint effort at full stretch.
Villa finally sparked into life with a superb drive from Beth Merrick from 25 yards which rattled the angle of post and bar. Emily Simpkins replied for City with a 35-yard effort whch Walsh acrobatically tipped over but from the resulting corner the Sky Blues took the lead. A foul by Jennifer Lowe on the edge of the area gave Dermody the chance to drive a penalty high into the net on 40 minutes.
Villa restarted with menace and another fine strike by Merrick from the right edge of the area flew over Wood for the leveller on 47 minutes.
Villa poured forward, denying Coventry time and space to constuct moves through midfield, then building attacks via both wings to keep the Coventry defence on their toes. Several corners were well delivered towards a crowded six yard box and it was no surprise when on 72 minutes, after Wood had done well to parry an initial header, Katy Wilkinson was on hand to drive in Villa's second goal from close range.
Coventry were unable to gain any foothold in the match as Villa won almost every challenge and pressed high up the field to regain the ball. The hard work paid off on 78 minutes when another corner was headed on by Jade Richards and then only half cleared under intense pressure. As the ball dropped Natasha Merritt scored with a crisp volley through a crowd of bodies from the edge of the area.
Coventry nearly reduced the deficit immediately as Walsh dashed from her line to block at Sweetman-Kirk's feet but that was the last clear chance which the home team created and Villa saw out the remainder of the match comfortably for a fine win.
This was the classic game of two halves and, whilst Coventry created several good chances in the first half, Villa gave an excellent team performance throughout the second period to finally notch a victory against opponents who had generally had the better of their frequent battles in the League and various Cups in recent times.
Coventry City: Sue Wood, Nikki Miles, Natasha Lynch, Kim Walton, Callan Barber, Emily Simpkins, Helen Dermody, Natalie Wilcox, Danielle Saulter, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Destiney Toussaint. Subs: Adele Rogers, Emma Holingsworth, Erika Mole, Nicola Dale, Jade Formaston.
Aston Villa: Megan Walsh, Jade Richards, Dani Petrovic, Jennifer Lowe, Maddie Cusak, Kelly Clarke, Erin Vaughan, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Kate Wilkinson, Natasha Merritt, Beth Merrick. Subs: Aoife Mannion, Carly Davies, Sherry McCue, Laura Cooper, Emma Follis.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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