Villa Ladies 2-0 Portsmouth Ladies: Jones/Fergusson on target
Chloe Jones and Livy Fergusson scored the first-half goals that ensured a 2-0 win for Villa Ladies against Portsmouth Ladies.
Joe Hunt described the performance as "sensational" as the claret and blues dominated from start to finish against the impressive side from the south-coast, who were certainly no pushovers pre-match.
Hunt made seven changes to the team, with Aoife Mannion and Jenni Lowe coming in at full-back, Katie Moran dropping into the heart of the defence to partner Jade Richards, Sherry McCue, Maddy Cusack and Abbeyleigh Stringer making up a midfield three and Jones playing up top with Fergusson in support.
It worked a treat as the team played some of their best football of the season on a bright day at Boldmere St Michaels.
They deservedly took the lead on 22 minutes with a beautifully-worked goal.
Fergusson, McCue and Stringer were involved in the build-up down the right-hand side with the ball rolled into Jones 15 yards out.
The former Liverpool ace let the ball run on to her left foot before expertly bending the ball around the defender and keeper into the corner, off the post.
This contributed to a confident close to the first-half.
Villa Ladies were dominant and all over the pitch they played with poise and precision.
They doubled their advantage on 37 minutes.
The ball was played into Jones from the left wing. She hit an audacious pass into Fergusson who was herself 35 yards out.
The flying winger received well and immediately burst past the full-back and, in the same movement, away from the centre-back.
Once she made it into the area there was no hesitation from the 18-year-old. She smashed the ball into the top corner, giving the visiting keeper no chance.
The second half continued as the first half left off, with Villa Ladies dominating all over the park.
Cusack headed wide and over from two free-kicks, McCue had a free-kick well saved while Follis hit the bar after a lovely jinking run before seeing a brilliant piledriver amazingly tipped away.
Boss Hunt said: "That was a sensational performance from the team. It was total dominance in all areas of the pitch. We proved what a fantastic squad we have at our disposal.
"I was able to make seven changes from the team that started the previous win and it didn't make us weaker.
"The team was brilliant. The average age of the side was 19 but it shows how much they have matured this season.
"It's not just the players who graduated through the Centre of Excellence but some of the players from last season too.
"Once again, Jade Richards was magnificent. She gets better every week. I'm sure she doesn't want the season to finish.
"Every player was good but I must mention Sherry McCue. She was class, a pleasure to watch. She has everything.
"She has a great range of pass, is quick across the ground, tenacious in the tackle but also has that never-say-die spirit. She wins balls you don't expect her to which gets the team on the front foot.
"Our attacking play today was the best I've seen for a while too. It wasn't just the forwards but moves started from the defenders also.
"Chloe Jones was the focal point and was assisted by Livy Fergusson and Beth Merrick.
"Livy's goal was unbelievable. She had her best game for the senior team. She was a constant threat but she played to her strengths."
VILLA LADIES: Walsh, Mannion, Lowe, McCue, Moran, Richards, Fergusson, Stringer, Jones, Cusack, Merrick (Follis 65). Subs not used: Cooper, Vaughan, Gibson, Crackle.
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