By Paul Brown
Abbeyleigh Stringer was the heroine as Villa Ladies saw off Leicester City Ladies 3-0 in the League Cup.
Stringer bagged a brace to give Joe Hunt's side a two-goal advantage at the break and wing wonder Kelly Clarke hit another just past the hour mark to guarantee the win.
The victory was all the more impressive considering the average age of the starting line-up was 17.
In fact, Aoife Mannion captained the side for the first time at the tender age of 17!
The comprehensive win put Villa Ladies within touching distance of the knockout stages of the League Cup.
Villa Ladies now sit second in the table with one game to play against West Brom, who are third.
In this one, the young Villa team took to the pitch in lime green looking to put on a performance to brighten the miserable day in Leicester.
From the first whistle Villa Ladies took control of the game.
Villa took a deserved lead on 14 minutes. It was created by Katie Wilkinson and Hayley Crackle.
The young defender had joined in the attack from left-back to combine with Wilkinson before driving a right foot shot that smashed against the post only to fall in to the path of Stringer who riffled it past the recovering keeper.
Just before the break Villa Ladies doubled the lead.
Again some lovely combination work down the left saw Crackle, Stringer and McCue combine before releasing Wilkinson in the inside of the box.
With some lovely footwork she evaded the challenge of the defender to be one on one with the keeper six yards out on the angle.
Instead of shooting she calmly rolled it across the goal where Stringer was on hand to tap into an empty net.
After the break, sub Natalie Gibson had a hand in the third.
Another fine piece of possession football allowed Gibson to release Clarke who went off on another run.
Her cross from the touchline was intended for the four lime green tops in the middle but sailed over the No.1 into the top corner!
Boss Hunt said: "I'm really pleased with the squad this week.
"We changed things around to try and freshen things up and I got a great response.
"We dominated the game from start to finish. It was a good result but we had so many clear opportunities to score or get people into goalscoring positions but didn't capitalise on our domination.
"However, a win's a win though so shouldn't really grumble!
"Aoife captained the team for the first time and I was delighted with her performance and partnership with Jade.
"At 17 and 19 they are not only the future of Villa Ladies but the now too.
"They will push Pet, Jen and Vaughny for the defensive positions for the remainder of the season.
"We are starting to get where I envisaged we would be at the beginning of the season.
"There is a lovely blend of experience and youthful honestly which gets us through games.
"We have a big squad and one I intend you use throughout the season. Gone are the days of 11 or 16 players.
"We need them all ready to play at any time as we are fighting on four fronts - League, League Cup, FA Cup and the County Cup. If we are in it then we intend to challenge."
Villa Ladies are away to Barnet Ladies in the league next weekend.
VILLA LADIES: Walsh, Cooper, Crackle, Cusack (Moran 46), Mannion, Richards, Fergusson (Gibson 60), Stringer, Wilkinson, McCue, Merrick (Clarke 46). Subs not used - Vaughan, Lowe.