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Report: Bristol City Women 2-1 Aston Villa Women

A second-half brace from Ebony Salmon confirmed Bristol City Women’s place in the FA Continental Cup semi-finals as they defeated Aston Villa 2-1 at Twerton Park

What happened? 

Aston Villa took control of the game early on, with the visitors seeing more of the ball in the opening stages. Villa could have taken the lead when Emily Syme ran through on goal, though the ex-Bristol City player squared pass to Ramona Petzelberger was too heavy and the danger was cleared.

The away side came close to opening the scoring just after 15 minutes when some neat passing-play in the box fell to Dianna Silva. However, a scampering Benedicte Håland raced across her goal line to make an outstanding save from point-blank range.

The debutant was commanding in-between the sticks for City, who took the place of Sophie Baggaley after she missed out after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Robins had their first big chance of the night when Salmon’s quick feet on the halfway line sent her past Elisha N’dow before using her pace to speed past Anita Asante into the box, but her low shot was well saved by the feet of Sian Rogers, sending the ball behind the goal for a corner.

The second half started evenly with Villa stinging the gloves of Haaland early on, but it was the Robins who took the lead 10 minutes after the restart through Salmon.

Wellings intercepted the ball on the halfway line and set Salmon on her way before the striker cheekily nutmegged N’dow, composed herself, and curled the ball into the top-left corner.

The Robins then doubled the score just three minutes later, with Salmon adding to her tally for the night.

Håland’s goalkick was hooked forward by Wellings and sent Salmon through one-on-one after beating Villa’s high line, and the former Villa striker brilliantly rounded the ‘keeper to slot into an empty net.

Salmon was deprived of her hat-trick when the forward burst into the box and took aim, but Rogers was able to make a fingertip save to deny the striker.

Minutes later Haaland made another strong save to deny Nadine Larsen before the loose ball fell to Villa debutant Mana Iwabuchi who looked destined to score, but her effort was straight at Daniels who was on the line to clear.

The visitors were putting relentless pressure on the City backline and the pressure paid off with five minutes remaining when Asmita Ale’s whipped cross into the box was met by Larsen’s glancing header to half the deficit for Villa, setting up a tense finish at Twerton Park.

Some heroic defending in added time from Flo Allen and the rest of the Robins backline meant City were able to hold on for the full-time whistle, sending them through to the Conti Cup semi-final for the first time in their history.


Teams:

Bristol City: Haaland, Bryson, Evans (C), Rafferty (Jones, 77), Logarzo, Salmon, Daniels, Wellings, Allen, Palmer (Layzell, 85), Bissell.

Substitutes: Collis, Harrison, Mastrantonio.

Aston Villa: Rogers, Ale, N’dow, Asante, Siems, Ewers (C) (Hanssen, 73), Arthur, Syme (Iwabuchi, 73), Petzelberger, Silva (Follis, 67), Hayles (Larsen, 67).

Substitutes: Weiss, West, Haigh, McLoughlin, Haywood.


Key Moment: Benedicte Håland

With the game wide open and the score at 0-0, Villa were controlling possession and starting to create chances as they looked to try and take the lead. Step forward, Benedicte Haaland.

Making her debut for City, the ‘keeper made an unbelievable save with her outstretched leg from point-blank range to deny Silva and send the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

From that point onwards the Norwegian beamed with confidence as she commanded her box and made a couple more great saves to deny Villa any chance of getting back into the game.

Stepping up when it matters.


Player of the Match: Ebony Salmon

The forward showed up once again for the Robins, this time against her ex-team with a brilliant Brace to claim City’s spot in the next round.

Always a threat on the counterattack with her blistering pace, both goals were trademark Ebony Salmon tonight. 

The first came when Salmon burst forward before smartly sliding the ball in-between Asante’s legs to put herself one on one with the ‘keeper, and the finish into the top left corner was out of reach for Rogers in goal.

Just minutes later the 19-year-old raced through on goal again as she latched onto Wellings through ball, calmly brushed the ball around the ‘keeper and tapped home for her second of the night.

Ice in her veins.

Written by Lewis Barton


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