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Liverpool Ladies got their season off to a flier courtesy of a commanding 5-0 victory over Aston Villa in the last 16 of the FA Women's Cup.
An excellent pre-season had seen Matt Beard's revamped side net 30 goals in five straight wins.
And within 10 minutes of their first competitive game of the new campaign, at Boldmere St Michael in Sutton Coldfield, the Reds demonstrated their cutting edge.
Midfielder Fara Williams, who joined the club in November 2012, fired a 25-yard effort in off the post on eight minutes to give Liverpool the lead.
Just after the half-hour mark Nicole Rolser was brought down in the penalty area and Louise Fors stepped up to convert from the spot.
The Reds were cruising and they almost put the game out of sight when Williams' looping shot rattled the crossbar and Amanda Da Costa was unfortunate not to turn the rebound home.
The second half started on more of an even keel with Villa's Kelly Clarke doing her best to stretch the Reds' defence and Liverpool's Rolser proving a similar threat to the opposition.
However, the clinical Williams weighed in with a second strike, this time an inch-perfect lob, to make it 3-0 and give Beard's charges a comfortable lead.
The game was marred somewhat when Da Costa was carried from the field with a leg injury and Jess Holbrook came on in her place.
However, a fourth was still on the cards and it arrived on 74 minutes when Natasha Dowie swooped on a defensive error to round the 'keeper and turn the ball home.
Three minutes later Williams completed her hat-trick with a calm finish to seal the 5-0 rout and a place in the quarter-finals.
The manager reflected: "It was a good all-round performance in what was not the best of conditions.
"We're pleased to have made such a good start but we'll keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard and make sure that we are ready for our next challenge."
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Author: @philreade Tagged:
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