Competition: SSE Women’s FA Cup
Date: Sunday 17th March 2019
Venue: Boldmere St Michaels FC
Rogers, N’dow, Richards, Ale, Brown, West, Hanssen (Hurley), Smith (Baptiste), Hassall, Haywood, Hutton. SUBS NOT USED: Elsmore, Gibson, Aguirre, Hall.
Story in brief
Aston Villa Ladies bowed out of the FA Cup – despite pushing top tier side West Ham all the way in their quarter final encounter.
The home side more than matched their Super League opponents in a hard fought first half but trailed at the break after Jane Ross prodded home from close range.
Villa felt hard done by not to be awarded a penalty when Sophie Haywood was felled in the box with the score at 0-0 before Nadine Hanssen missed a glorious chance from close range shortly before half-time.
A cagey second half saw an improved performance from the visitors, but they were clinging on until the end, with Jade Richards glancing a header just wide in the dying moments.
Defying the odds
When the quarter final draw was made, West Ham were expected to secure their passage to the last four with ease against the lowest ranked side left in the competition.
However, it proved to be anything but comfortable for the Hammers as Villa set about imposing themselves from the first whistle.
Jodie Hutton was a menace in the first half, hitting the post after just five minutes, as the hosts turned in a valiant display.
The rub of the green
Head Coach Gemma Davies felt aggrieved at some of the decisions made by the referee, and it seemed she had every right to be upset following an incident on 20 minutes.
Sophie Haywood broke into the box before knocking the ball away from an oncoming defender, ending up in a heap on the floor from the defender’s challenge.
The referee pointed for a goal kick, however, leaving the Villa players and fans baffled at the decision.
While Villa crashed out of the cup, the team’s progress since the beginning of the season is there for all to see.
The 609 fans who turned up at Boldmere and those watching online saw a courageous young team who play an attractive brand of football.
With an average age of 21, the squad will only get better with each game, and they can feel proud of reaching the quarter finals.