Sport Writer George Wellbelove reports from the Bescot Stadium as Aston Villa Women thump Blackburn Women 7-0 in the Conti Cup
Aston Villa dominated their second Conti Cup game of the season as they easily brushed aside Women’s Championship team Blackburn Rovers 7-0. Goals from Ebony Salmon, Alisha Lehmann, Maz Pacheco, Rachel Daly and Simone Magill ensured Carla Ward’s side would top the group, leaving them with a strong chance of progressing to the knockout rounds.
Villa came into the game off the back of a three-game winning streak since their defeat against Chelsea at the start of the month. The hosts were ruthless with their finishing and consigned Blackburn Rovers to an embarrassing defeat.
On a cold Winter evening, Villa got off to a flying start with their first shot on goal from Ebony Salmon being rifled past Blackburn’s goalkeeper. After strong spells of possession, Lehmann was able to capitalise on a Sarah Mayling through ball to squeeze it past Salgado in goal. Pacheco was able to notch her second goal of the season after her long range free kick took a deflection. The Villa left back was one of the standout players from the first half with her accurate passing and pace. Lots of the attacking moves came down her side and Pacheco did not disappoint. Blackburn will have been grateful for half time as their tactics and style of play were ripped apart and they went into the changing rooms down by three goals.
The Poundland Bescot Stadium was buzzing and the Aston Villa supporters showed no signs of letting up with their chants as their team was dominating proceedings. Despite a smaller attendance than at WSL games, the Villa fans made their voices heard and celebrated their team’s excellent display.
Blackburn will have been looking to cause an upset against their WSL opponents but were unable to trouble Villa’s goal at all. Simon Parker’s side were ineffectual with their midfield passing and were unable to have a truly threatening chance on goal. Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, Anna Leat, had a quiet game and was only forced into a couple of saves, which she dealt with comfortably.
There was no let up in the second half as Villa surged forwards again and again. With the introduction of England international Rachel Daly off the bench, it took a matter of minutes before she scored with a heel flick at the near post. Lehmann soon added her second with a strong finish at the back post as the remains of Blackburn’s defence crumbled.
Blackburn were able to have some periods of possession after the half time break but nothing came to fruition. Hannah Silcock was the best player for Blackburn in their poor showing as she tried to command her team forwards but, ultimately, it was all in vain. Further goals from Daly and Magill secured a 7-0 scoreline, in a showing branded as ‘professional’ by Carla Ward as she spoke to VillaTV post-match. Ward noted how her team ‘kept their foot on the gas’ and it proved to be a strong performance.
The away team will be hoping to turn their fortunes around in their next game as they play Sunderland at home. Lucy Shepherd remarked that ‘one disappointing result won’t define our season’ as she spoke to the Blackburn Rovers media team.
Aston Villa look back towards the WSL as they host Everton in their next match. They will be looking to continue their fine run of games. With newfound confidence and excellent displays from many players, Villa have turned their season around after their abysmal start.
Stay tuned to Redbrick Sport’s social channels to find out how Aston Villa Women fare this weekend against Everton, with live reporting coming from Villa Park