Extra Time Knock Out For Reserves
Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City Reserves 2-1 aet. A young reserve side were within 90 seconds of a monumental result, almost beating local rivals Aston Villa (1st Team) in the County Cup Semi-Final.
The reserves entered the game after a weeks break from league action having won their previous game 1-0 vs. Coventry, and having an extra week to prepare for the game showed within the opening 20 minutes. The team were well organised and disciplined pressing Villa in the right areas and looking to hit them on the counter attack at every opportunity. Even though Villa had greater possession and created some good opportunities Blues goalkeeper Sarah Morgan was there to deny them when needed, who had an outstanding game throughout. Though Villa had the greater opportunities Birmingham looked likely to score every time they went forward with the outstanding pace of the Birmingham front line and midfielders bombing forward.
Having taken full advantage of the rolling substitutes rules in this seasons competition Birmingham entered half time making several changes throughout to keep the momentum of the game in their favour and freshening up certain areas of the pitch so the team could play at the high intensity and pressing game they needed to be successful. This continued throughout the second half and Blues struck on 55 minutes through Ini Umotong. A great counter attack starting on the edge of their own area breaking quickly into the midfield through Gina Goulding who supplied Jess Hill Hill down the right wing, who duly delivered the ball right in to Ini's path at the near post, sending the team in mass celebrations.
Birmingham did not stop their however and continued playing the the same vain and with 5 minutes to go of normal time another counter attack down the right wing eventually led to debutant Saffyna Elleston having her shot cleared off the line, which would have sealed the game for Blues.
However with Birmingham City Reserves leading 1-0, and the game deep into injury time a debatable free-kick was awarded in Villa's favour. As irony would have it, it was an ex-Blues player who dealt the blow (Jade Richards) to send the game in to extra time. With a massive height advantage in the Villa side, Birmingham were always going to be susceptible to set pieces throughout the game and it was through a corner with 7 minutes to go in extra time that Villa grabbed the winner. Birmingham then threw everything forward with little time remaining, bringing on 5 forwards and leaving 2 at the back in hope of trying force and equalizer and a penalty shootout, but unfortunately it wasn't enough.
The team were congratulated after the final whistle by sections of the crowd and praised by Villa supporters for their endeavour and quality throughout the match, with even the officials appreciated of the game they had been a part of.
The reserves will now pick themselves up and look to take maximum points from their 8 remaining leagues fixtures.
The game truly shows the hard work and endeavour of the all the staff who are working at the Birmingham Centre of Excellence. With no fewer than 10 of the players coming fully through the development system. When a young team can show so much potential against an experienced 1st team in the Women's Northern Premier League, the future looks rosy for these graduates, and with more qulaity players in the pipeline its a good time to be a part of this club!
1. Sarah Morgan
2. Katy Green
6. Chloe Thompson
3. Danni Penn (c)
5. Natasha Broome
4. Alice Belcher
9. Gina Goulding
8. Jade Mellor
10. Clare Almond
11. Katy Boon
12. Ini Umotong
14. Saffyna Elleston
7. Rachel Brown
16. Jess Hill
19. Naomi Dixon