By Paul Brown
Never mind Robin Van Persie! The only hat-trick Villa fans were interested in on Sunday was that of Katie Wilkinson as the dynamic forward bagged a treble to help her team beat Derby Ladies 4-0 in the League Cup.
Wilkinson, making her first start of the season, began in spectacular style, putting down a real marker for the rest of the campaign.
The England U17 international, who came up through the centre of excellence, volleyed home the opener on 10 minutes before striker Carly Davies [pictured] bent a 25-yard effort into the top corner on 35 minutes.
That gave Villa Ladies a two-goal lead at the break but they weren't satisfied as they looked for more.
Wilkinson brilliantly lobbed the keeper on 60 minutes before completing her hat-trick with a penalty on 75 minutes.
The game was also notable for England U19 international Megan Walsh returning between the sticks and Hayley Crackle, Bethan Merrick and Becky Anderson making their senior debuts after graduating this term.
Manager Joe Hunt said: "It was a pleasing start to our League Cup campaign. We freshened the team up and got a good response.
"It was nice to have Megan back in goal. She brings calmness to the backline.
"Katie took her goals very well and it was nice to see Carly in the game more.
"Sherry McCue and Maddy Cusack added some much needed energy into the team too.
"Hopefully now we can build on this and move forward in the league, starting against Charlton at home on Sunday."