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Bristol City 2 (Farrow 30, pen 48) Aston Villa 0
Millie Farrow scored both goals on her return from injury as Bristol City recorded the win they needed to go top of the WSL 2 table.
Conditions were not easy for the two sides with a strong wind blowing across the pitch. City had the vast majority of the early possession but their passing was often wasteful and they also found it difficult to cope with Aston Villa's high pressing game.
The early chances went the way of Villa though and Beth Merrick had the first opportunity as she chased down a long ball and twice sent Eloise Wilson the wrong way but, with only Caitlin Leach to beat, she sent her shot well wide of the goal.
Merrick was in blistering form on the right for Villa and a constant threat to the City defence. A good crossfield pass from Sarah Mayling picked out the winger and her angled shot was well saved at her near post by Leach.
The first chance to fall the home side's way came after a Jodie Brett free kick was not dealt with by the Villa defence and Farrow evaded three defenders before her shot brought out a save from Jess Myers.
Merrick fired a free kick from distance straight at Leach but on the half hour, a huge stroke of fortune led to City taking the lead. Farrow broke into the area where Elisha N'Dow's attempted clearance cannoned back off the City striker and looped over a helpless Myers on its way into the net.
Katie Wilkinson brought out a save from Leach at the other end but City were able to take their lead into the interval.
City started the second half a different side, moving the ball around quicker and more purposeful going forward. This brought a quick reward and it was no surprise that Farrow was heavily involved, bursting into the area where she was brought down when through on goal by Jade Richards. Farrow picked herself up to send Myers the wrong way from the resulting penalty and double her side's lead.
It was nearly three a couple of minutes later as Olivia Fergusson raced down the right and dribbled past Hannah George but a covering Hayley Crackle did well to prevent Farrow from getting on the end of her pass.
City were passing the ball around more confidently now and a good move saw Brett's pass being laid off by Farrow for Rosella Ayane who fired her shot over the bar. Ayane had become more of a force as the game wore on and she did well to play in Chloe Arthur on goal but Myers did well to come out and block.
Villa continued to work hard with Merrick still showing up well on the right and one good run and cross almost led to a chance but Grace McCatty did well to clear under pressure from Mollie Rouse.
A Merrick corner was headed away by McCatty to the edge of the area where Mayling's well struck volley looked destined for the net but Leach did well to turn the ball over the bar. The resulting corner ended in a scramble and a low drive from Richards brought out another fine diving save from Leach.
As the game entered the last few minutes, a torrential storm hit the ground and effectively dampened any hopes of a Villa comeback. Leach did need to save from Natasha Baptiste in injury time but City had done enough to secure the points against tough opponents.
Bristol City: Caitlin Leach, Chloe Arthur, Eloise Wilson (sub Megan Alexander 77mins), Jodie Brett, Grace McCatty, Georgia Evans, Tatiana Pinto (sub Flo Allen 61mins), Hayley Ladd, Millie Farrow (sub Loren Dykes 81mins), Olivia Fergusson, Rosella Ayane. Subs not used: Hannah Reid, Paige Sawyer, Emma Tustin, Katie Jones.
Aston Villa: Jess Myers, Hayley Crackle, Hannah George, Katy Moran, Elisha N'Dow, Jade Richards, Sarah Mayling, Maddy Cusack, Katie Wilkinson, Mollie Rouse (sub Natasha Baptiste 78mins), Beth Merrick. Subs not used: Chloe Beattie, Kerri Welsh, Amy West, Chloe Harper, Leanne Bryant.
(top) Millie Farrow jumps for a header with Katy Moran
(middle) Katie Wilkinson is pursued by Grace McCatty
(bottom) Mollie Rouse shields the ball from Hayley Ladd
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