Villa Ladies verdict: Hunt - Victory should have been more emphatic
Head coach Joe Hunt was thrilled with the winning feeling against Oxford Women - but he believes the margin of victory should have been more emphatic.
Villa Ladies beat Oxford Women 1-0 on Sunday, Carly Davies calmly finishing from the spot for the Continental Cup triumph.
Hunt was pleased but insists the team could have made it easier for themselves if they'd taken their chances.
He said: "Our 1-0 scoreline doesn't reflect the game.
"We totally dominated without playing that well.
"Out of the last three games that's the worst we've played but we came away with the victory - that's how crazy this game can be.
"We should've been at least four goals up at half-time.
"Our delivery into the box from Bethan Merrick was top draw - but our finishing was wayward!
"It's something we talked about all week in terms of Bethan getting a good flight of the ball and the areas to hit on the pitch.
"Livy Fergusson was also a threat but full credit to the Oxford goalkeeper who pulled off a tremendous double save to keep her out.
"As the match developed - and the more chances we missed - I thought it was going to be one of those days again.
"Just before half time a quick throw over the top put Oxford through on goal but, luckily, Caitlin Leach pulled off a fine save.
"In previous games that would have gone in and that's the little details that win and lose games.
"We must deal with situations like that a lot better."
Hunt spoke of the rejig he - and boss Ron Mellor - had to perform when midfield ace Alicia Robinson was forced off with an ankle injury.
He continued: "Alicia was having a good game in the midfield but we lost her just before half time.
"She has been brilliant in the last few games so it was a major blow.
"We had to tweak a few things - Tash Baptiste [pictured above] went up front, Carly Davies to the left wing and Bethan Merrick to centre midfield.
"Credit to Carly and Bethan as they are not their normal positions - Carly was like David Ginola down the left!
"The change enabled Bethan to get on the ball more and she was probing throughout the second half.
"In fact, the penalty came from Bethan drifting into the box and getting fouled."
On the topic of injuries, Hunt admits that Villa Ladies really are down to the bare bones at present.
He added: "We had four 17-year-olds on the bench, who in a couple of years will be big players for the club but we had to include them as we have so many missing.
"We have Sarah Mayling, Elisha N'Dow and Maddy Cusack away with the England U19s, Katie Wilkinson cup-tied, Laura Cooper injured, with Maisie Baker and Chloe Jones away too.
"Emily Owen is making good progress with her knee injury but overall that's eight squad players missing.
"When you look at it like that, you have to give credit to the squad for getting the win over Oxford."
Despite that victory, Villa Ladies are out of the Continental Cup - and Hunt says his team can focus fully on the Women's Super League 2 now.
He added: "The competition has been a great experience for all the squad - not just the young ones but the experience players too.
"They've had to put in some massive performances against top teams like Notts County, Birmingham City and Bristol Academy which has really tested us.
"But we are now glad it's finished so we can concentrate fully on the league.
"We want to go on a run of games now to show we are a decent team and start climbing the table.
"Over the next few weeks we'll have all our players back, making the squad very competitive again."
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