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Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 5
Liverpool's new-look side enjoyed a smooth passage into the quarter finals of the F.A.Women's Cup as they proved too strong for a hard working Aston Villa.
In their starting line up, only goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill had appeared for the club last season, along with nine debutants whilst Becky Easton made her return to the club where she had started her career.
Liverpool could have been in front in the opening sixty seconds as Amanda Da Costa's pass released Natasha Dowie who shot tamely at Natalie Courtney but the early pressure quickly told on eight minutes. Fara Williams picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran towards the goal, the Villa defence backed off and Williams planted a 25-yard shot beyond the dive of Courtney and into the corner of the net.
Villa tried to respond with Dani Petrovic rising to head a corner straight at Quantrill but Liverpool were soon back in control and Williams went close with a shot from the edge of the area after a corner had been half cleared.
Villa were defending stoutly with Petrovic and Jade Richards having fine matches in the centre but they found themselves two down just after the half hour. A slide rule pass from Da Costa found Nicole Rolser who was brought down by Courtney just inside the area and, through an assistant's flag, a penalty was awarded. Louise Fors stepped up and coolly rolled the spot kick into the corner of the net.
It was almost three as Dowie's flick found Williams whose deft lob over Courtney hit the underside of the bar and Aoife Mannion did well to deny Da Costa from the rebound. More good Villa defending kept Liverpool out as Dowie powered into the area, Courtney managed to get a hand to her shot and Erin Vaughan was on hand to clear before the ball could cross the line.
The pattern of the game continued after the break with powerful midfield duo Katrin Omarsdottir and Fors controlling matters whilst the very impressive Rolser was a constant thorn in the side for the Villa defence.
Nevertheless they held out until the 58th minute when a quickly taken free kick by Omarsdottir caught Villa out and Williams, whose attacking from midfield was a large feature of Liverpool's game, ran clear and this time her lob found the net with precision.
To their immense credit, Villa did not give up and this was typified by Abbey-Leigh Stringer who worked tirelessly in midfield for her team's cause. They were unlucky not to pull a goal back through a deflected free kick from Natalie Gibson but Quantrill did well to adjust her footing and dive full length to pull off a fine save.
However a bad back pass from Mannion led to Liverpool scoring their fourth, the ball went straight to Dowie who took full advantage to round a helpless Courtney and slot home her first goal for her new club.
Before Villa could recover from this setback, they found themselves further behind as Williams broke from midfield once again, springing the offside trap and giving Courtney no chance with another accurate finish.
It could have been worse for a tired Villa side in the dying minutes when Natasha Merritt tripped Rolser in the area for another penalty but Williams' shot came back off the post.
It is too early to judge Liverpool's credentials on one performance but the signs are good for the season ahead. Williams looks to be back to her brilliant best, Fors, Omarsdottir and Corina Schroder look to be shrewd acquisitions whilst in Rolser they have a player who could potentially set the league alight this season. Villa meanwhile should not be too downhearted by this game, their work rate and efforts were admirable and they still have a chance of cup glory in the Premier League Cup.
Aston Villa: Natalie Courtney, Erin Vaughan, Aoife Mannion, Natasha Merritt, Dani Petrovic, Jade Richards, Olivia Fergusson, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Natalie Gibson, Chloe Jones, Kelly Clarke. Subs: Laura Cooper, Katy Moran, Jenni Lowe, Bethan Merrick, Carly Davies.
Liverpool: Sarah Quantrill, Becky Easton, Whitney Engen, Fara Williams, Gemma Bonner, Corina Schroder, Amanda Da Costa, Katrin Omarsdottir, Natasha Dowie, Louise Fors, Nicole Rolser. Subs: Jess Holbrook, Michelle Evans, Lillie Billson, Katie Brusell, Danielle Gibbons.
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