Featured: Aston Villa Ladies FA Cup Run

After reaching the quarter finals for the last two seasons, Aston Villa Ladies went into this year’s competition with confidence.

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Click the map to see how Aston Villa’s Cup Run took them all over the country.

The claret and blues were handed a favourable third round draw, where they went into the tie as favourites. Cambridge United Women of the Southern Premier League visited the new home of Villa Ladies – The Lamb, looking to progress into the next round.

However, it was the hosts who came out on top emphatically. Goals from Maddy Cusack, Beth Merrick, Chloe Dale, Chloe Jones, two from Mollie Rouse and debutant Alice Hassall secured a thrashing of the Us to ensure Villa’s place in the fourth round.

Check out the video below as Villa Ladies fans are in agreement that the game against Cambridge United was their favourite game of the 2016/17 Women’s FA Cup run.

Do you agree with the fans? Vote below:

 

The draw for the fourth round saw an old face resurface. Coventry United Women, Villa’s next opponents, have much in common with the Lionesses.

Several of the 22 players have played for both teams during their playing careers so far, including Aston Villa Ladies’ skipper Katy Moran who was returning from six months on the sidelines.

In what was a cagey affair, Villa came out on top with a 0-1 victory over their local rivals. With both sets of fans enjoying some friendly banter between themselves in the terraces, the atmosphere transferred to the pitch with feisty periods of play between old friends, who are now arch enemies.

Moran got the deciding goal with a beautifully taken half volley against her former side. The 25-year-old, on her return to the first team, sealed Villa’s place in the fifth round.

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Yet it wasn’t meant to be for Aston Villa Ladies.

With Women’s Super League 1 opposition joining the competition at this stage, it was almost inevitable that the claret and blues would draw a team from the highest league in women’s football.

The Black Cats provided tough competition and came out of the 90 minutes with the victory.

Unfortunately for Villa, despite equalising twice to get back to level playing fields – the quality of WSL 1 Sunderland was all too much.

 

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An Interview with Katy Moran

Aston Villa Ladies captain Katy Moran was frustrated by the lack of chances the claret and blues put away in their game against Oxford United.

She said: “We didn’t take our chances again but equally we defended well; they didn’t score, we kept them out.”

It’s not often a 25-year-old can say that they are one of the oldest players in a team. However, for Moran it’s something that she’s become used to saying.

Aston Villa Ladies are a young, upcoming group of players who are all determined to produce performances that they can be proud of. An attitude reflected in skipper Katy Moran. The former Birmingham City midfielder is a disciplined all-rounder and has been keen to nurture the younger players of the team since taking on the captaincy at the start of last season.

After returning to the first team, following six months on the sidelines, Moran has fitted back into the side with ease.

She explained: “I am getting back to fitness. Obviously, it takes a while to get back to fitness after six months out but I’m getting there.

“The girls keep me going and I’m training much more than I was before. So yes, I am getting there.”

With those words a relief to both coaching staff, players and supporters alike she scored her first goal since coming back into the fray against Coventry United – where she started her career – whilst adding stability to the middle of the park.

The game against Oxford United was Moran’s third game of the season, where she lead the team out after Beth Merrick returned the armband back to the experienced midfielder.

Reflecting on the game post-match, Moran said: “A point is a point at the day. We are still unbeaten but we are a bit frustrated with how the game went.

“It was end to end in the last 10 minutes. So, we have come away with a draw and we’re quite happy.”

Having been with the club for over five years, Moran has seen the changes that have been made to women’s football. Aston Villa have supported the Ladies side in the progression, which has included a move to Bodymoor Heath where they have been training twice a week.

With a new owner, the Ladies can only hope for more support from Dr. Tony Xia – who even mentioned a trip to India for the girls – in order to┬ábecome a full time team; an ambition shared by Moran.

But, her main focus remained on the up and coming game against Sunderland in the 5th Round of the Women’s FA Cup.

She said: “We always do well against Women’s Super League 1 sides and we always step up our game.

“It is away from home but obviously, we have got nothing to lose. We are the underdogs, we can go there and we can pinch a win and get through to the next round. Hopefully we can reach the quarter finals for the third year running.”