League Cup match report: Villa Ladies 1-3 Coventry Ladies
Villa Ladies were undone by a crazy period in the second half as they went down 3-1 to Coventry Ladies in the League Cup.
Despite dominating much of the game on home soil, they were clearly ratted by some baffling decisions soon after the break, which threw them off their game.
Villa started the match very brightly, passing the ball around with some serious intent.
The front three of Chick Fergusson, Bethan Merrick and Sherry McCue were a constant threat and it was only through sheer brilliance in the Coventry goal that the claret and blues didn't go into the break ahead.
Villa again started brightly in the second half, forcing the game on to the away side, who were happy to sit off and let Joe Hunt's team have the ball.
However, soon after the restart a strong tackle by Jade Richards was adjudged a free-kick to the amazement of everyone.
From the resulting centre, goalkeeper Megan Walsh retrieved well only to be heavily challenged by Destiny Toussaint - with the ball ending up in the net.
Again to the amazement of everyone at Boldmere St Michaels the goal was given, leaving Villa Ladies trailing without their goal really having been threatened.
They were clearly rattled and lost some shape and discipline with Tash Merritt finding her way into the ref's book for a strong tackle in the middle of the park.
Just after the hour mark Coventry doubled their lead from deep inside their own half, with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk slotting home past Walsh after a run from the half-way line.
Villa regained their composure and played some great football, Emma Follis a constant threat on the right with the powerful Erin Vaughan joining in from right-back.
However, Coventry made it three when a looping ball from Emily Simpkins was misjudged by Walsh in the Villa goal.
Villa again responded well and Katie Wilkinson found a consolation, rounding the keeper and slotting into an empty net.
Manager Joe Hunt said: "Obviously we were all very annoyed to lose a game we dominated from start to finish.
"Two decisions didn't go our way, which happens in football but we did not react in the right way when we went one down.
"We had a crazy 15 mins where Coventry scored the second and put the game out of our reach.
"We still had enough chances but we are not clinical enough in the final third, our final pass is lacking and when we do get in the right positions our finishing is erratic.
"Katie did very well when she came on and deserved her goal. She is starting to show some good form which hopefully will result in goals that win games for us!
"We now need to show some character to come back from this defeat as we have Coventry away on Sunday in the league.
"We welcome back Carly Davies and Kelly Clarke who will be pushing hard to make the squad of 16 to travel."
VILLA LADIES: Walsh, Vaughan, Lowe, Merritt [Mannion], Petrovic, Richards, McCue, Stringer, Fergusson, Cusack [Wilkinson], Merrick [Follis]. Unused subs: Cooper, Gibson.
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