Match: Aston Villa Ladies v Watford Ladies FC
Date: February 12, 2017
Competition: Spring Series
Venue: The Lamb
Weather: 2C, cloudy
Attendance : 298
Tash Baptiste (22 mins)
Beth Merrick (38 mins)
Jade Richards (47 mins)
Anneka Nuttall (67 mins)
Charlotte Kerr (89 mins)
Villa Ladies’ Spring Series campaign got off to a positive start with a hard-fought win over Watford at Tamworth.
First half goals from Tash Baptiste and Beth Merrick as well as Jade Richards' strike early in second half set the hosts on their way before the Hornets reduced the deficit in the closing stages.
The claret and blues were on top from the off and could have taken the lead earlier.
Baptiste saw a header gathered while Merrick, playing just off the centre-forward, stung the gloves of Lucy Gillett.
A fine one-two involving Maddy Cusack and in-form Mollie Rouse ended with the latter’s strike edging just wide of goal.
They took a deserved lead midway through the first half – Baptiste heading home a corner.
Merrick got the goal her first half prominence deserved – Alice Hassall crossed, Baptiste miscued her strike but Merrick drilled home the loose ball.
The home side started the second half in the same manner as the first and made it three on 47 minutes – centre-back Richards meeting a free-kick and firing home.
Keith Boanas, who only took over at the Watford helm five days ago, will be pleased with the way his team kept pushing and they netted with just over 20 minutes remaining – Anneka Nuttall’s free-kick beating everyone.
Their substitutes were influential.Firstly, Ade Fatuga-Dada’s cross-cum-shot struck the woodwork before Cherelle Albert fired her power-driver marginally over and saw a curler edge agonisingly wide.
Charlotte Kerr reduced the deficit to one, scoring direct from a corner with a minute of normal time remaining but Joe Hunt's side were able to see the game out.
VILLA LADIES: Beattie, Hassall (Shepherd 52), N’Dow, Richards, Porter, Cusack, Merrick (C), West, Rouse, Smith, Baptiste. Unused subs: Crackle, Welsh, Moran, Hinchcliffe, Potts, Dale.
WATFORD LADIES: Gillett, McKeag (Fatuga-Dada 65) , Neal, Nuttall, Babajide, Kerr, Maple (Bassett 78), Jordinson, Cudone, Walklett (Albert 55), Baxter. Unused subs: O'Reilly.
Villa Ladies bookings: None
Watford Ladies bookings: None
Referee: Akil Howson
Assistant referee 1: Luis Martin
Assistant referee 2: Samantha Tomson