Conti Cup: Villa on the spot at Durham to progress to quarter-final

Durham were unlucky to lose out to WSL's newbies Aston Villa. Photo from Durham Women's Twitter.

Aston Villa progressed to the quarter-final of the Continental Tyres Cup after holding their nerve to defeat Durham Women 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out. This came after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Championship side Durham took the lead through Emily Robert’s after five minutes, before Aston Villa’s Emma Follis levelled on 73. Yet, the night truly belonged to Villa ‘keeper Sian Rodgers.

A Clash at Maiden Castle

There was little change to either side, though Durham were able to announce new signing Danielle Brown amongst the substitutes bench, with Rodgers and Sophie Haywood returning to the side for the Villains.

It was Durham who started the brighter of the two sides. They sprang into an early – if fortunate – lead when Roberts saw her cross fly over Rogers to put the Wildcats one up.

It should have been two only a minute later when Mollie Lambert made a great break from midfield, but Rogers was equal to her strike.

Durham came close again in the 22nd minute, when great work from Bridget Galloway played in Beth Hepple, only to see her shot cannon back off the post.

Aston Villa responded well in the second half and saw the opportunity to restore parity when Stine Larsen was adjudged to have been fouled in the area. Borthwick would save though, diving to her right.

Villa didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser though. Follis expertly dispatched a free-kick from 25-yards out on 73.

Both sides had opportunities to win it near the end, but it was Molly Sharpe who came closest. Her header was cleared off the line by Asmita Ale in the 87th minute before she forced another magnificent save out of Rodgers in injury time.

And it was Rodgers who would go on to be the hero. She produced saves from Hepple and Lambert in the subsequent penalty shoot-out. This gave Villa the bonus point and secured their passage to the quarter-finals of the competition.

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