Aston Villa Ladies fell to a late goal in their first game of the new season against Sheffield United Women – meaning debutant Nadine Hanssen’s goal wasn’t enough to secure a point.
Words by Adam Nunn (ReapaAVLFC)
Edited by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
With a Saturday night kick-off, the first game of the new season got underway for the Aston Villa Ladies.
The Aston Villa Ladies put on a lot of early pressure, countering an attack from Sheffield United Women – and Phoebe Warner came close to to giving the Ladies the the lead – the ball just wasn’t the right side of the crossbar. The Villans looked as if they were starting the game as they meant to go on.
Early on, the game was relatively even and neither side grew into the game. Passes struggled to stick and attempts on goal didn’t come off for either side, before Sheffield United Women missed a glorious chance and let the Aston Villa Ladies off the hook as it were.
By the 20 minute mark, the game was relatively even as both sides had a number of half chances.
Debutant Nadine Hanssen was fighting well in the middle, showing that she wasn’t afraid to get stuck in and as a result of this received the first booking of the game.
Just five minutes before half-time, the Aston Villa Ladies’ Achilles heel came back to bite them again – as a set piece was whipped in and the Sheffield United Women capitalised, with Cox rising above the rest and netting to make the game 1-0.
In the second half, new signing Sophie Haywood came on – replacing Kerri Welsh who was still working on her fitness and wasn’t quite 100% after a lengthy injury.
Sophie got involved relatively quickly, chasing every ball and showcasing her silky touch and skills when she was in possession.
It looked as if the second half was going to be very similar to the first until the Aston Villa Ladies won a corner. The ball was lofted in and landed with debutant Nadine Hanssen who broke from her defender and slotted the ball away to bring the sides level.
Once the playing field was even again, the Aston Villa Ladies seemed to take control of the game and hustle more in midfield.
The second half also saw the arrival of Alice Hassall who replaced Phoebe Warner, who the ladies seemed to miss once she’d left the field.
In the search of an elusive second goal, Jodie Hutton was caught by a rather rash tackle and worryingly stayed down before being subbed off – hopefully as a precautionary measure – and replaced by homegrown Tanisha Smith who made her first team debut.
Former Aston Villa Ladies star Beth Merrick came on for Sheffield United Women and battled well with Hollie Gibson.
In the 85th minute, both sides were looking at gaining a point from their first game before the Villa Ladies made a mistake in midfield and Sheffield’s Marsden found herself put through on goal and in a one-on-one situation with Sian Rogers, before slotting past her and giving Sheffield United Women the lead.
A bitter pill for the Aston Villa Ladies to swallow, but the girls showed a number of positives ahead of their next game against Birmingham City at the Solihull Moors ground next Sunday.