ROVERS Ladies went down 2-1 against Aston Villa at Villa Park, despite a spirited second-half performance from the Blues.

Melissa Johnson opened the scoring in the first-half and Marisa Ewers doubled Villa’s advantage.

Alex Taylor pulled one back immediately with an early goal of the season contender, but it wasn’t enough for Rovers to get anything out of the game.

“We might have nicked a point at the very last kick of the game from the set piece, but it wasn’t to be,” said boss Gemma Donnelly.

“If it was down to work rate and effort and heart we deserved something. But if it was down to dominance on the ball, probably not.

“Villa controlled it nicely from start to end. But the chances we did have we made use of.

“Alex (Taylor) has scored immediately after they scored their second goal which has just given us that little bit of impetus and momentum.

“The players will take a lot from this. They’re frustrated because we’re used to seeing a lot more of the ball but they’re also aware that having been promoted and particularly playing good teams, that’s how it is this season.”

The home side started the better of the two sides and showed their intention early on, Fran Stenson collecting efforts from Amy West and Johnson.

And Villa went ahead after 27 minutes. Emma Follis got to the byline and pulled the ball back for Johnson to tap home from close range.

Follis almost scored a goal of her own but Stenson made a brilliant save to tip her effort onto the bar.

Rovers had a brilliant chance to level when Danielle Whitham found Jess Holbrook in acres of space in the box, but the midfielder was denied by Sian Rogers.

Stenson continued to be kept busy at the other end, Ewers forcing her into a diving save.

Villa did get their second goal early in the second period when the ball was pulled back for Ewers to slot home inside the box.

But Rovers responded immediately thanks to a stunning goal from Taylor, lobbing Rogers from 35 yards out to halve the deficit.

There were more sensational saves from Stenson to come, denying West twice and tipping Shania Hayles’ acrobatic effort onto the bar.

Rovers had a great chance to level the match in injury time when Kayleigh McDonald, up for a corner, headed the ball on target only for a goal-line clearance to prevent an equaliser.

Aston Villa manager Gemma Davies said: “I’m very pleased, pleased with the performance. I think it was the first time this season that we found our rhythm with the football, so a good day all round.

“Blackburn made it hard for us today, they came with a game-plan and executed it well, so credit to them.”