Match Report – Aston Villa Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

The  featured match on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog this Sunday was from the FA Women’s Cup. The 3rd Round Proper where Cambridge United WFC flying high in FAWPL South East Division One were looking to continue their history making run taking on FAWSL 2 side Aston Villa Ladies as they enter the competition playing their 1st competitive match of the season.

Match Report – Aston Villa Ladies v Cambridge United WFC

  The action on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog comes from the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup. The clubs from FAWSL 2 enter the competition at this stage and it’s Tamworth FC, FAWPL South East Division One side, Cambridge United WFC head for one of the biggest games in their history as they take on Aston Villa Ladies.

  The 3rd Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup is as far in the competition as Cambridge United WFC have ever gotten. Are enjoying a very good season to date leading the FAWPL South East Division One for much of the season, dropping to 2nd only because their game last weekend was postponed allowing Milton Keynes Dons Ladies to take over at the top. The attention today however is firmly on the FA Women’s Cup, already enjoying a fantastic run, making it through 4 rounds to get this far.

  Have been drawn out of the hat at home in all of their other FA Women’s Cup games, starting in 3rd Round Qualifying against Norfolk side Wymondham Town Ladies, who had dumped them out of the Cup only 12 months previously. Have grown as a side since then and a influx of new players to bolster the squad saw them win the game comfortably 3-0. Onto 4th Round Qualifying and Cambridge were taking on fellow FAWPL South East Division One side, Stevenage Ladies again they progressed with a 3-0 to make it to the 1st Round Proper. Were drawn at home to FAWPL Southern Division side, QPR Ladies in form they beat the side bottom of the league above them 3-1. Southampton Women’s FC were their opponents in the 2nd Round Proper a side on a similar rise to Cambridge but playing a league below Cambridge were too strong on the day winning 4-0. Now drawn away for the 1st time in the competition away to Aston Villa Ladies. Two leagues between the sides.

  For FAWSL 2 side, Aston Villa Ladies this is their 1st competitive match of the season as they prepare for the new one off Spring Series next weekend. Have reached the quarter finals in the previous 2 season’s in the FA Women’s Cup. Have a new home for this season moving from Sutton Coldfield up the M42 to The Lamb Ground home of Tamworth FC. The Conference North have a new state of the art 3G pitch a surface the Aston Villa Ladies players will be used to having played on an artificial surface back at Sutton Coldfield. The area around Tamworth has a large Villa following and the Ladies side are hoping optimistic more fans to come watch them in action. Have retained the services of much of last season’s squad and are a club willing to bring their youth players into the 1st team, Mollie Rouse doing well last season, Lucy Shepherd and Lucy Porter step up to the 1st team squad this season all all England Youth Internationals along with Alice Hassall who has joined the club having been with Notts County Ladies last season.

  The Lamb Ground is a nicely laid out stadium. A large carpark outside. Not too far from the town centre. The new 3G pitch looks excellent, surrounded by stands on all sides, one large seated stand on one side with the opposite side and one goal end offering covered terracing the other goal end terraced. A clubhouse and bar. Sutton Coldfield always did a good cheeseburger so I’m glad Aston Villa Ladies have found a new ground that serves up one just as good. A little chilly, but it was dry a pretty good day for football.

 Aston Villa Ladies starting XI – Chloe Beattie, Lucy Porter, Alice Hassall, Elisha N’Dow, Jade Richards, Chloe Jones, Maddy Cusack, Mollie Rouse, Amy West, Bethan Merrick (C) & Tash Baptiste.
 subs- Katy Moran, Alys Hinchcliffe, Lucy Shepherd, Kerri Welsh & Chloe Dale.

 Cambridge United WFC starting XI – Verity Crook, Emma Jenkins, Chloe Bennett, Mollie Kmita, Laura Bright (C), Laura Baker, Dawn Mallett, Danielle Puddefoot, Becky Taylor, Laura Mills & Nicole Perschky.

 subs – Kayleigh-Anne Burt, Hollie Jardine, Paige Logie, Evie Gallop & Rosie Kmita.

  It’s Cambridge to get this FA Women’s Cup 3rd Round tie underway wearing amber shirts and socks with black shorts with Aston Villa lined up opposite wearing claret shirts with sky blue sleeve and collar. white shorts and sky blue socks. Alice Hassall  starts for Aston Villa on the right side of defence. The ball is played out to Cambridge right back Emma Jenkins early on sent down the right with striker Nicole Perschky making a run into the channel, turns inside to evade the tackle from Jade Richards puts the ball into the area just inside the area Danielle Puddefoot back to goal lays the ball back to Dawn Mallet 20 yards out running onto the ball hits it hard, Maddy Cusack throws herself into the shot blocking the ball.

Cambridge United WFC’s, Danielle Puddefoot is fouled as she attempts to head the ball

  Aston Villa counter attack the ball played into captain, Bethan Merrick in the middle taking the ball forwards lays in on for Mollie Rouse ahead of her, she has Amy West bursting forwards from the left side to get into the area threads the ball into the box, West picks it up in her stride gets a shot away is gathered by Cambridge goalkeeper, Verity Crook at her near post. An open game from the start both sides looking to get the ball forwards with purpose. Laura Mills getting onto the ball down the right has 2 opportunities to put the ball into the Aston Villa box, both attempts cleared by Richards. 

   Hassall finds space on the right to get ahead of the attack, Chloe Bennett gets across to put the ball out for a throw before the cross can come in, the throw is taken quickly the ball pushed in field 20 yards out Rouse shoots from 25 yards out her strike sailing over the Cambridge crossbar. Mallett is fouled in the middle as she tried to get her head on an Aston Villa clearance. It’s Mallett to take the set-piece sends the ball up towards the area, the ball is headed out of the area, Mallett moves quickly to close the ball down 30 yards out winning it back gets a shot away pulls the low drive wide across the face of goal.

  Merrick is finding space up top getting past the midfield to attack the Cambridge defence, getting into the box wins Aston Villa the 1st corner of the match. The ball is played in high in towards the penalty spot, jumping Richards can’t get her head on the ball drops to Cusack behind her heads the ball down into the ground, Crook getting down sharply makes a good save, can’t gather the ball, her defence scramble it away before anyone from Aston Villa can follow up. No one is allowed any time on the ball, Aston Villa stretching play Elisha N’Dow and Richards both prepared to carry the ball out from the back into midfield. N’Dow send the ball up towards Rouse just outside the Cambridge box getting her head on the ball turns it goalwards, lacks power flies straight into Crook’s gloves. A busy opening 15 minutes.

  Mallett winning the ball in the middle has support from Becky Taylor she gets the ball wide to Mills on the right side taking it on turns inside to evade Lucy Porter’s challenge her ball into the area is cut out by the long leg of Richards as she lunges to stop it pushes the ball outside the area into the path of Laura Baker, meeting the ball on the half volley drills a hot in towards goal, Aston Villa goalkeeper Chloe Beattie is right behind it gets down to save the ball bouncing in front of her. 

Aston Villa Ladies, Chloe Jones

  GOAL! Cambridge give away a free kick inside the centre circle, Aston Villa send plenty of players up into the area the delivery is a good one from the set-piece the ball flighted in centrally, Chloe Jones top of the six yard box gets a glancing header on the ball taking it past Crook and into the back of the net beyond to score Aston Villa’s 1st competitive goal of the season 1-0.

  Aston Villa very nearly double their lead just 2 minutes later only to be denied by the offside flag. The build up is with Jones and Cusack in the middle, Merrick makes the forwards run moving left towards the area pulls the trigger hitting a swerving ball in low towards goal, Crook is moving across to cover the post, adjusts fantastically to throw her body in the opposite direction get a palm to the ball killing it’s momentum is stranded however as it rolls across the face of goal, Tash Baptiste following up blasts the ball into the empty net, the celebrations cut short by the officials flag.

  Certainly a competitive game, Cambridge will give as good as they get and Aston Villa aren’t shy. Cusack breaks up play in the middle on for Merrick, shoots from outside the box the effort straight at Crook the keeper holds on to the ball. Mallett is fouled by Cusack 35 yards out on the set-piece goes for goal puts her strike a metre over the bar. 


Bethan Merrick doubles Aston
Villa Ladies lead

GOAL! Closing in on half an hour played and Aston Villa double the lead Merrick has been all over the place in the 1st half so far and as Aston Villa build an attack on the left they win a throw the ball is played into Merrick turns and shoots from outside the area plenty of pace on the ball it is past Crook and into the far corner of the net 2-0.

  Doubling their lead Aston Villa have Cambridge on the back foot unhappy with a few decisions and going 2-0 down the home side press the advantage Cusack getting forwards is fouled on the right 30 yards out. Merrick plays the free-kick long aiming for the pack attacking the far post over everyone, Hassall at the back keeps the ball in play lay it back for a teammate at the edge of the box not a clear view of who the shot comes in is straight at Crook, the keeper down smartly dragging the ball into her body. 

 GOAL! Cambridge don’t keep Aston Villa at bay for long however as just 2 minutes after going 2 up the home side make it 3. Players are still up the pitch from the previous attack as Cambridge trying to get the ball up field lose it on the left side the ball is played on by West to Rouse down into the corner time to cross into the box, Mollie Kmita stretching as she attempts to intercept the ball can only knock it into the path of Cusack who left of goal smashes her shot back across the keeper and in score her 1st goal since 2014 to make it 3-0.

Aston Villa Ladies, Maddy Cusack

  Cambridge are visibly frustrated at going 3 goals down are working hard to get the ball back, Aston Villa with good movement on and off the ball are just a fraction ahead of their opponents evading tackles and moving the ball on quickly. Afters between Baptiste and Crook as the keeper is clattered after claiming a Cusack cross from the right threatening to dip under her crossbar. The referee breaks up the flashpoint and books Baptiste. Perschky has had little service put into her up front for Cambridge when the ball is played over the top giving her something to attack she is ahead of the Aston Villa defence only to find Beattie moving up to the edge of her area to clear the ball before she can reach it.

  Jones plays the ball into Merrick trough the middle helps the ball on laying it into the path of Baptiste moving across the D, left to right, latches onto the falling ball sending it angling in towards goal, Crook is well placed in her six yard box to get her body behind the ball. Another chance for Baptiste moments later as Aston Villa regain possession in the centre the ball played into her inside the D, works space for the shot drags her effort wide across the goal. Rouse moving out to the right with the ball has support from Hassall the ball is crossed into Baptiste just inside the area shoots puts the ball straight into Crook’s gloves.


Cambridge United WFC’s
Laura Baker

Cambridge are in danger of being overwhelmed late in the 1st half as Aston Villa keep coming forwards, Rouse sending the long range ball out to West on the left her cross is fired across the top of the area Baptiste latches onto it her shot blocked as Baker throws herself in front of her the ball racing back to Rouse who fires over from 25 yards out. Hassall is fouled as she brings the ball on down the right, Merrick plays the set-piece long towards the far post back pedalling Crook plucks the ball down keeping hold of it well as she falls under challenge from Richards. 

 5 minutes left in the 1st half Aston Villa have a corner on the right the ball is played short into Porter moving forwards unmarked from a defensive position takes the ball into the area taking on the shot drives the ball wide across the six yard box. Hassall surges down the right with the ball whips in a dangerous cross near post Cusack furthest forwards can’t connect, the ball cleared out of the area is won back rolled back across to Cusack outside the box she looks to send a shot wide of the keeper Crook dives to her right makes the save. 

  Cambridge launch a rare counter attack the ball Jenkins bringing the ball on sends it out to Perschky on the right side a clever turn to get room to cross the ball is angled high in towards goal, loops over Beattie dropping far post Taylor throwing herself at the ball can’t get anything on the ball to divert it into the net. Aston Villa are forced into a change late in the 1st half, Jones can’t continue Chloe Dale comes on to replace her. 

Half-time Aston Villa Ladies 3-0 Cambridge United WFC

  A comfortable 1st half for Aston Villa in the end after a positive start from Cambridge it looked like it was going to be an open contest both sides wanting to attack get the ball forwards. Taking the lead on the 17th minute Aston Villa went on to dominate the 1st half, runners from every position pulling Cambridge out of position their movement just a little sharper than their opponents. Crook with some good saves to keep the score down. Cambridge have scored 3 or more goals in all of their other previous FA Cup matches will need to score early 2nd half to get a chance to get back into the tie. 
  It’s Aston Villa to get the 2nd half underway, Merrick with a driving run through the middle over run the ball is gathered by Crook.
  GOAL! Just the start to the 2nd half the visitors needed as they pull a goal back inside the 1st half of the 2nd minute, Mallett heads Crook’s kick out from the back on, goes straight on for Perschky who controls and looks to play in Taylor making a forwards run on the left, capitalises on a mistake at the back from Aston Villa to latch onto a ball intended for the keeper nicks it past the onrushing Beattie and keeping her composure rolls the ball into the empty net beyond 3-1.
Becky Taylor scores early in the 2nd half for Cambridge United WFC
  Dale breaks up play for Aston Villa inside the Cambridge half plays the ball down the line for Hassall on the right, taking it on down the wing cuts the ball back for Rouse top of the area scooping the ball up off the ground her effort flies narrowly over the crossbar. N’Dow is allowed to travel with the ball from the back for Aston Villa crossing the ball into the Cambridge area the ball is intercepted by Bright, runs back to N’Dow who wins a corner. the ball swept into the six yard box Bright defends well up against Richards.
  The 1st corner of the match for Cambridge comes in the 2nd half as the ball is played into the area with Puddefoot getting forwards wins a corner off Cusack. From the right the ball is swung in centrally, Bright gets something on the ball far post knocking the ball down towards goal, Aston Villa have players on the line to clear the ball. Getting the ball forwards Cusack lays the ball out right to Hassall the cross is cut back from the byline in towards Baptiste making a near post run strikes the ball hard, Mollie Kmita makes the block. Richards turn to come forwards with the ball fires it into Baptiste inside the D back to goal lays it off for Rouse to strike from 25 yards out the shot straight at Crook who saves comfortably.
Cambridge United WFC captain, Laura Bright clears the ball
  GOAL! 57 minutes played Aston Villa have the ball on the left rolled on for West to take down the line squares the ball across the face of the six yard box, is behind Baptiste at the far post adjusts well to get a leg wrapped around the ball play it on for Rouse at the top of the box right of the D drills a low shot back across Crook and into the back of the net to restore Aston Villa’s 3 goal lead 4-1.
 Merrick brings the ball on from midfield riding a challenge passes the ball out to Hassell bombing forwards down the right cuts the ball in towards Baptiste at the near post shoots forcing a great save from Crook on the post turning the ball away for the corner. Played in towards Richards she is challenged inside the box manages to get the ball back to the corner taker who lifts the ball up towards the far post drops to Rouse controls on her chest far post before attempting to put the ball in at the post Crook gets across falls on the ball to save.
  GOAL! As in the 1st half having hit Cambridge with 2 quick goals, Aston Villa do it again 2nd half as 4 minutes after grabbing her 1st goal of the season Rouse gets her 2nd, the home side are attacking the ball is cleared up field by Cambridge only as far as Dale who headers the ball back towards Rouse ahead of her 25 yards out who shifts the ball to her right and hits a sweet strike into the top right corner, not much Crook can do about it as she throws herself at the ball 5-1.
Aston Villa Ladies, Mollie Rouse
  20 minutes gone in the 2nd half and Cambridge make their 1st substitution bringing off Mallett and sending on Rosie Kmita. Cambridge get a free-kick in the middle, Mollie Kmita to play the ball up towards the area, Bright is up from the back collects the ball outside the box left of the D rolls it across to Baker who plays the ball into the area for Puddefoot, has Rosie Kmita free to her left gets the ball into her, Kmita shoots, Beattie back on her line makes a comfortable save.
  West is played into space on the left by Rouse taking the ball down the wing fires a pinpoint cross into Baptiste at the far post six yards out gets her head on the ball knocking it down towards goal, Crook denies her again going with the ball and down to claim it as it falls straight at her.

Alice Hassall scores on her
debut for Aston Villa Ladies

GOAL! Aston Villa keep coming and extend their lead in the 68th minute and it’s a debut goal for Hassall. Aston Villa bring the ball on down the left side West plays the ball into the box Cusack making a near post run squares the ball across the six box Baptiste overruns the ball as it races past her however Hassall is coming in from the right side meets the ball 1st time blasting it home to celebrate her 1st goal in claret and blue 6-1.

  Aston Villa make a change bringing off Baptiste, bringing on Katy Moran who dons the captains armband. 
 GOAL! Another debut goal follows a couple of minutes later for Aston Villa as one of their development players gets her 1st goal for the 1st team. With the majority of the attack Aston Villa are sending players forwards at will Moran puts the ball out to West linking up with Cusack she whips a fierce cross into the middle of the area, Dale is the furthest forwards gets hold of the ball controlling well before placing her shot wide of the keeper 7-1.
 Cambridge make their 2nd change with Paige Logie coming on for Puddefoot. Aston Villa have a corner on the right swung in towards the penalty spot N’Dow gets up for the header can’t direct it on target. Aston Villa make their final change Kerri Welsh coming on for Cusack. Cambridge make their 3rd change to Kayleigh-Anne Burt coming on for Mollie Kmita. Aston Villa keep pressing forwards, head coach Joe Hunt urging his players to keep up the tempo and threat as the game moves into the last 10 minutes. Merrick sends a high ball into the box from a free-kick on the right, both Richards and Welsh go for it neither connects. 
Laura Mills looking to get on the attack for Cambridge United WFC 
  West plays the ball inside to Welsh 25 yards out the striker goes for goal placing her shot over the crossbar. Mills is playing through the centre late on with Perschky wide right for Cambridge the final ball just won’t come off as Perschky lifts the ball into the area with Mills making the run across the centre backs, Beattie is out quickly to gather at the top of her area. Into injury time Cambridge break on the left Rosie Kmita attacking with the ball fires a cross into the box, is headed out to the right by Richards, Perschky picks up the ball wide drives a shot over the bar.
Full time Aston Villa Ladies 7-1 Cambridge United WFC

Full time and Aston Villa Ladies are through to the draw for the next round of the FA Women’s Cup. A clinical performance from a side who looked anything but rusty good movement on and off the ball sharper to the ball all over the pitch and put on a great show at their new home at Tamworth. For Cambridge it’s a brutal way to see their superb run in the FA Women’s Cup come to an end, history made and a financial boost too with 4 rounds won. Learnt a harsh lesson today, knew they were outplayed no shame in that it’s how you respond, you only test yourself by raising the bar, going strong in the league all to play for.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match

  Several contenders in the Aston Villa Ladies side today, the midfielders in particular, you can tell by the report I write alot of notes and perhaps it’s the bits I don’t include that add up sometimes, certainly in this case the SWF Blog Player of the Match is Maddy Cusack great energy shown throughout the match to break up attacks before they could even start and getting forwards into attacking positions when the opportunity presented itself, plus a goal to cap her performance.

Maddy Cusack winning the header
  The draw for the next round of the FA Women’s Cup will be made on Monday and will update this post once it is made, thanks to both clubs for their assistance today.

*UPDATE* The draw for the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup will see Aston Villa Ladies playing a local derby match away to Coventry United Ladies from the FAWPL Southern Division, who beat FAWSL 2 side Oxford United Women 2-0 in the 3rd Round. The tie scheduled to be played Sunday 19th February.