REPORT: Aston Villa 5-4 Durham

Durham Women suffered defeat in their final Spring Series outing after a spirited comeback from Aston Villa Ladies.

TThe Wildcats had led 4-1 but the hosts hit back late on to claim a dramatic victory.

Villa has originally taken the lead when Jade Richards flicked home, before a Zoe Ness hat-trick put Durham in the driving seat.

Beth Hepple added a fourth from the penalty spot before late goals from Richards, Lucy Shepherd, Maddy Cusack and Alys Hinchcliffe saw the Villains steal victory.

Durham were keen to end the season on a positive note and started brightly with Ness inches away from connecting with a teasing Nicki Gears cross.

But they fell behind with just six minutes on the clock as Richards reacted quickest to divert Mollie Rouse’s driven effort past Megan Borthwick.

Tasha Baptiste could have added a second for Villa but drilled into the side netting after she had forced her way into the area.

After soaking up early pressure from their hosts, Durham hit back and levelled when a quick throw-in allowed Gibson to centre and Ness was on hand to tap home.

And it could have been two moments later – Annabel Johnson side-footing wide at the far post after a well-worked move had seen Emily Roberts square it to her.

A second did come ten minutes before the break as Hepple played in Ness who made no mistake as she fired into the bottom corner.

The Scottish striker then secured her hat-trick two minutes later with a similar finish after a fine solo run from Gears presented her with an opportunity.

There were two excellent chances, though, for Villa to reduce the deficit before the break.

Firstly Becky Salicki had to be alert to overhead kick the ball off the line after Kerri Welsh had managed to lob Borthwick, and then Rouse spooned over with the goal at her mercy.

It got better for the Wildcats after the break – Gears tripped in the area with Hepple smashing the resultant penalty into the roof of the net.

But Villa bounced back with Richards timing her run to perfection to power home a header from Rouse’s corner.

That put the wind back in the hosts sails, but Ness threatened again for the visitors as she fired wide from 12 yards out after muscling Elisha N’Dow off the ball.

Hopes of a comeback were then ignited with six minutes remaining as Lucy Shepherd was picked out at the back post and fired across Borthwick to reduce to the deficit to one.

And the deficit was wiped out completely only six minutes later as Cusack picked up the ball on the edge of the area and smashed it into the bottom corner.

Hinchcliffe then completed the remarkable turnaround, turning in the area and slotting home.

Durham couldn’t find a way back and were forced to settle for the cruellest of defeats.

Durham XI: Borthwick, Jennings (Christon 46), Johnson, Wilson, Hepple, Ness, Gears, Gibson (Briggs 46), Salicki, Roberts, Dixon (Lee 62)

Sub Not Used: Dodds

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.