Aston Villa Ladies 5-4 Durham Women: Comeback Queens

Aston Villa Ladies emphatically pulled off an incredible comeback to beat Durham Women 5-4 in the last game of the Spring Series.

In a match filled with drama right until the very end, Villa came out on top as 403 supporters turned out to see a great advert for women's football.

Goals from Lucy Shepherd, Maddy Cusack, a brace from Jade Richards and substitute Alys Hinchcliff secured victory despite a first-half hat-trick from Zoe Ness.

After tasting defeat in their last game against Doncaster Belles, Villa were looking to end their season on a high with at win to ensure they finished with an unbeaten home record at the Lamb.

They faced a Durham side who had been enjoying a successful Spring Series campaign, sitting in second place prior to their visit to Tamworth.

However, it was Villa who came out of the traps the quickest. Striker Tash Baptiste had Villa's first real opportunity, as her header was deflected wide after meeting Shepherd's cross.

The resultant corner ended in a goal for the claret and blues. Richards netted the goal for Villa to put them 1-0 up in the first 10 minutes.

At The Double
Jade Richards celebrates with Baptiste after scoring her first
of the afternoon (@AVLFCOfficial)
The towering centre-half's cheeky flick towards goal, latching onto Mollie Rouse's shot, trickled it's way past Durham 'keeper Megan Borthwick.

Villa continued to get joy down the right-hand side, as they exploited the space down the flank left by Durham's back three.

Shepherd enjoyed freedom down the side line and whipped in some fine crosses that couldn't quite be met to double their advantage and Villa were left to rue these chances as Durham equalised.

Zoe Ness poked home Gibson's cross from the right to level the playing fields.

Villa searched for another goal to put them back into the lead. Kerri Welsh had two opportunities in front of goal that were equally matched by Borthwick between the sticks.

However Durham were confident on the counter-attack, effortlessly tearing through the centre of the field.

Beth Hepple threaded through a fine ball that cut open the Villa defence, finding Ness who forced her way into the area and smashed it into the corner.

And two minutes later, Ness completed her hat-trick inside 18 minutes. Gears made a surging run, playing in Ness who made no mistake with a low finish.

Villa could have pulled one back before the half-time whistle blew. Welsh worked her way down the right and delivered an expert ball into the box. Rouse, three-yards-out, fired over just as the referee signalled the end of the half.

Mollie Rouse tries from distance in her last game for Villa

Durham added a fourth, seven minutes into the second half. Gears ventured into Villa's box before being brought down by Richards. Hepple stepped up and dispatched the spot kick with ease.

In a game filled with goals, Villa pulled one back. Richards added another one to her name. This time with your more traditional finish, heading in from the corner.

The match started to build more momentum going into the last 20 minutes with chances from Shepherd and another Richards header; while Villa had penalty claims waved away for a second time during the game.

Richards, who produced a player of the match performance, played a beautiful diagonal ball to Rouse. She weaved her way into the area only to be brought down, as the referee waved away protests.

Lucy Shepherd battles for the ball as Welsh watches on
The drama didn't stop there.

Shepherd - on her last appearance for the club - scored Villa's third, before Maddy Cusack powered home the equalising goal.

Villa still had one goal left in them.

Hinchcliff sealed it for the claret and blues, sending the fans into frenzy as the stadium erupted.

From the drum, to the band, the biggest crowd this season to the players, elation filled the air. It was a well-deserved three points to close the curtains on an entertaining Spring Series.


Villa Ladies (4-4-2): Beattie, Hassall, N’Dow, Richards, George (Porter 60’); Shepherd, Jones (Hinchcliff 78’), Cusack, Rouse; Baptiste (Hurley 78’), Welsh
Subs: Hinchcliff, Porter, Hurley, West, Potts, Crackle
Durham Women (3-5-2): Borthwick, Jennings (Christon 45’), Salicki, Wilson; Johnson, Gears, Hepple, Ness, Gibson (Briggs 45’), Dixon (Lee 60’)

Subs: Doods, Briggs, Lee, Roberts, Christon

Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

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