By Liz Owen
Villa Ladies fell to back-to-back Continental Cup defeats after two early goals cost them any chance of victory away at Yeovil Town Ladies.
The hosts struck twice within half an hour through Helen Bleazard and Laura Bray and from then on it was an uphill task for Villa, who improved throughout but were unable to claw back a positive result.
There were three changes made to the side which lost to Notts County Ladies midweek, as Dani Petrovic, Alicia Robinson and Carly Davies were restored in place of Maddy Cusack [pictured], Katy Moran and Beth Merrick.
But Yeovil had to wait just six minutes to draw first blood as Bleazard was well-placed to turn in a low ball from Jemma Tewkesbury on the right.
Tewkesbury had previously dropped a hint after curling a shot wide, and two minutes later she had played the offside trap brilliantly to hurtle forward down the right and set up her team-mate for Yeovil's first.
The Glovers added to their advantage 20 minutes later when Bray leapt to head Bleazard's corner kick past Caitlin Leach.
If the first goal was avoidable, this one was even more so - Bray had far too much time and space to jump above the claret and blue shirts to guide her header into the back of the net.
It may well have been a different story had Villa capitalised on some early chances in the time between Yeovil's two goals.
After birthday girl Petrovic headed wide at 0-0, Davies hooked a pinpoint long pass from full-back Erin Vaughan over the bar, before attempting a lob over oncoming 'keeper Rachel Simkin who succeeded in pressuring the striker as she met her off her line.
Yeovil looked sharper in the final third and almost grabbed a third as Katie Cook danced her way into the box, dodging two challenges in the process, and launched a low ball across the box which a sliding Tewkesbury was inches away from converting.
Tewkesbury was again involved four minutes before half-time as she advanced down the right and got the better of left-back Lauren Walker, before coaxing Leach off her line.
However, as she tried to round the Villa 'keeper and squeeze a shot into the corner of the net, Walker made a great recovery to clear Tewkesbury's attempt.
At the other end, Walker had one of Villa's best chances in the second half as her testing cross curved towards goal and battered the crossbar with around 20 minutes left to play.
The visitors made three substitutions after the interval as the girls upped the tempo in attack.
Davies, Robinson and Livy Fergusson all made way for Abbie Horton, Cusack and Merrick respectively, with the latter having a particular impact on Villa's movements up front.
With clever footwork and sheer determination in attack, Merrick carved out numerous opportunities as the remainder of the game ebbed away.
She almost forced a Yeovil defender to turn her corner into her own net and finished her own set-piece with a shot wide before calling Simkin into action with a looping cross, which the 'keeper had to pluck from the air at full-stretch.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Horton looked lively and got involved up front, not quite managing to control an accurate but heavy cross from Vaughan before unfortunately lashing over another Merrick ball.
Cusack also showed her ability in attack with a burst of pace down the centre of the pitch which took her past several green shirts. her final ball, however, was over-hit.
As Villa piled on the pressure, Yeovil were restricted to counter-attacking, but if solid centre-back Jade Richards didn't manage to quell their threat, Leach was on hand to deny their opponents and turn her side's attention back to the other end of the pitch.
Sadly for Villa, it was too little, too late as their first-half sloppiness came back to haunt them.
Villa Ladies: Leach, Vaughan, Walker, McCue, Petrovic (c), Richards, Fergusson (Merrick, 66), Jones, Davies (Horton, 71), Robinson (Cusack, 61), Mayling Subs not used: Courtney, Moran.
Yeovil Town Ladies: Simkin, Brazell, Kirby, Edwards (c), Bleazard, Pearson (Lorton-Radburn, 57), Sherwood, Stewart (Cossens, 87), Bray, Tewksbury (Haigh, 63), Cook Subs not used: Wardle, Whitton.
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