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Sarah Wiltshire hat-trick fires Watford Ladies to impressive victory over Aston Villa
John Salomon praised “one of our most dominant performances of the season” after a Sarah Wiltshire hat-trick inspired a rampant Watford Ladies to a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Wiltshire's treble was added to by striker Jo Wilson as Watford's impressive league form continued against the West Midlands club, keeping the Golden Girls second in the FA Women’s Premier League, two points behind leaders Sunderland having played a game more.
“The Villa performance was one of our most dominant performances of the season,” said the delighted Hornets boss afterwards. “We played with belief, desire and unity and that is a recipe for success with this group of players.
“Villa are a very good side and have been on a great run in the league, so this result and performance is significant.
“Every player played their part in the win and I'm absolutely delighted with the outcome. I said before the game that this is the business end of the season and it’s exactly the reaction we were looking for.
“With six games to go we're in a great place and we'll aim to gather even more momentum in the run in.”
The match took a little while to get going and it was Villa who had the first effort on target after eight minutes, forcing a neat save from Lauren Davey down to her right.
But on 19 minutes Watford were awarded a penalty when winger Kate Natkiel was bundled over in the box.
Calm play by Wiltshire saw the ball played to Emma Beckett, who clipped a pass to Natkiel, before she was taken out by a Villa defender.
Wiltshire stepped up to smash past the Villa keeper and give the Hornets the lead, which seemed to galvanise her side as they pushed for another.
Wiltshire hit the post from close range on 40 minutes, before Beckett fired over just before half-time.
Watford flew out of the blocks in the second half and completely overpowered their opponents.
Two goals in 90 seconds completely killed the game off after Wilson and Wiltshire added numbers two and three.
The first saw Wiltshire loop a cleverly-weighted ball over the Villa defence to set Wilson away, who smashed a shot on the half-volley past the keeper off the post.
Just over a minute later, a free-kick wide on the right saw Wiltshire bend a left-foot effort towards goal, before a deflection off of a Villa defender took the ball past the keeper and into the top corner, increasing Watford's advantage.
A quiet period for both sides followed with neither team able to create much, other than a few long distance efforts that failed to trouble the two keepers.
But it was on 74 minutes that Wiltshire completed a stunning hat-trick when she again lined up a free-kick, from fully 35 yards, and looped it over the keeper into the top corner to make it 4-0.
The last chance of the game fell to Josie Green on 89 minutes when she fired straight at the keeper from 20 yards following a neat lay-off from Wilson.
It was a fantastic performance from Watford and showed a lot of character following the club's FA Cup exit at the hands of Leeds United the previous week.