Blackburn Ladies 1-1 Villa Ladies - Villa win 6-5 on penalties
Villa Ladies secured a semi-final spot in the League Cup courtesy of spot-kick success over Blackburn.
Joe Hunt's side took a deserved first-half lead through the returning Bethan Merrick, who lobbed the keeper delightfully from twenty-five yards.
It was more of the same after the break, with Villa piling on the pressure, Maddy Cusack denied brilliantly by the keeper in a point-blank save.
But they were undone on seventy-five minutes when a long ball was not cleared by the claret and blue rearguard, with Stephanie Marsh finishing expertly.
Emma Follis was denied in extra-time as Villa pushed for the win but eventually it came down to penalties.
Chloe Jones, Erin Vaughan, Abbeyleigh Stringer, Natalie Courtney, Carly Davies and Laura Cooper [pictured] all despatched brilliantly to earn a 6-5 win from the spot.
Boss Joe Hunt said: "It was a massive result for us and that's what it's all about in cup football.
"We are through to the semi-finals and full credit to the players.
"We've had a tough time the last few weeks but they stood up to the challenge and got the job done.
"We were quality for an hour. Playing against a strong wind first half, we played with confidence and looked a major threat.
"Bethan's goal was a touch of class. We were happy going into half time at 0-0 but with a 1-0 advantage we were very confident in getting the job done.
"For fifteen minutes in the second half we had numerous chances to double the lead and didn't take them. This made it hard for us.
"Blackburn went slightly more direct and caused us some problems. We didn't ride the storm and they equalised. But to be fair to the girls they went looking for the win in normal time and extra time.
"The penalties we excellent. All six were different but all found the net!
"The girls all had pressure but special mention to Carly and Laura because their spot kicks were top notch.
"Laura came into the team for the first time in three games and did very well.
"She's had a very frustrating season with been in and out of the team but I can't question her attitude and desire. She trains hard and puts herself in contention. She deserved her little bit of glory."
Villa now face Portsmouth in the semi-final at home.
Villa Ladies: Courtney, Cooper, Lowe, Merritt, Vaughan, Richards, Merrick (Davies), Stringer, Follis, Cusack, Jones. Subs not used Moran, Mannion, Fergusson, Gibson.
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