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Villa break winning duck
 Women's Football News 25 May 2014
 
Aston Villa 2 (Baptiste 36, Richards 71) Millwall Lionesses 0
Goals from Tasha Baptiste and Jade Richards sent Aston Villa on their way to a well deserved first victory of the season against previously unbeaten Millwall Lionesses. 
 
A totally dominant Villa side looked on top form in all areas of the pitch and their performance thoroughly warranted their reward as they now head into the month's break unbeaten in two games.
 
Baptiste and Richards claimed their side's first goals on home soil, while at the other end of the pitch, Villa kept their first clean sheet to make an already fantastic three points taste even sweeter, against a team who were previously unbeaten in the league.
 
Baptiste was in the thick of it from the off as she almost guided Chloe Jones' set piece past Quantrill after nine minutes, before heading a cross narrowly wide two minutes later. The 22-year-old came close twice more within the opening half hour, first firing over at a difficult angle from a long Richards ball, before a deflection denied her the opportunity to break the deadlock earlier after Livvy Fergusson's low pass.
 
Fergusson was a constant thorn in Millwall's side as she danced down the right on various occasions to supply her team mates in the box and she nearly found the net herself after half an hour as she ran onto Mayling's accurate through ball, only to be just beaten to it by Quantrill.
 
Villa were in full flow up front and showed great flair going forward, demonstrated through a stylish one-two between Katy Moran and Alicia Robinson - the latter winning a corner as her inviting cross was sent behind.
 
Baptiste, who had marked her first FA WSL 2 start with the equaliser against Yeovil Town seven days earlier, bagged her second in two games as Villa struck nine minutes before the interval. A looping Hayley Crackle cross found the striker and with a tremendous leap she headed the ball downwards past Millwall goalkeeper Sarah Quantrill to give the hosts the advantage.
 
Millwall rarely threatened and it was Leeta Rutherford who had her side's best chance before the interval, as her deflected effort was well-saved by a full stretch Caitlin Leach. Richards and Maisie Baker, making only her second Super League appearance along with Crackle, were exemplary at centre back as both players brought two Cherelle Albert-inspired attacks to a swift halt as half time approached.
 
Villa continued their tempo after the break, inspired by the ability to begin the second half without having conceded in careless circumstances. As Katy Moran limped off, Maddy Cusack added fresh zest to a midfield controlled by skipper Sherry McCue, who picked up a booking six minutes after the restart.
 
Robinson was withdrawn shortly after receiving a yellow card for dissent as Beth Merrick entered the fray on the hour mark, but she was to last just seventeen minutes after an early tackle ended her part in the match.
 
Merrick still managed to show off her textbook technical ability in that short space of time, while fellow 18-year-old Emma Chatterton performed admirably on her Super League debut in her absence.
 
Richards sealed an imposing defensive display with a place on the scoresheet as she clinched the win for Villa on the 71st minute. In what looked like a well worked training ground move, Sarah Mayling floated a crafty free kick into the area and Richards, in plenty of space, was left with the simple task of guiding her header into the back of the net - which she did so admirably.
 
Richards was combining her goalscoring heroics with a number of fearless diving headers at the back to keep the Lionesses at bay. Baptiste meanwhile continued to hassle Millwall's defence until the very end, firing wide after beating the offside trap.
 
That determination typified an all-round resilient and assertive team performance as Villa stepped up to firmly claim that long awaited triumph in a thoroughly entertaining spectacle. 
 
Aston Villa: Caitlin Leach, Hayley Crackle, Chloe Jones, Sherry McCue, Maisie Baker, Jade Richards, Olivia Fergusson, Katy Moran (sub Maddy Cusack 45mins), Natasha Baptiste, Sarah Mayling, Alicia Robinson (sub Beth Merrick 60mins (sub Emma Chatterton 77mins). Subs not used: Natalie Courtney, Dani Petrovic, Carly Davies.

Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Angela Kiobel, Dionne Lennon, Naomi Cole, Francesca Strugnell, Kylie Davies, Leeta Rutherford, Lily Agg, Cherrelle Albert (sub Lillie Fenlon-Billson 34mins), Danielle Puddefoot (sub Lilli Maple 75mins), Emma Plewa (sub Abigail Igbavboa 60mins) Subs not used: Frankie Gibbs.

(Report by www.fawsl.com)

 
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