Aston Villa Ladies fought hard against much stronger opposition in Birmingham City Women, losing 2-0 away from home.
Words by Adam Nunn (@AdamReapa)
Edited by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Aston Villa Ladies and Birmingham City Women played their first competitive game against each-other since 2015, with the Blue side of the city coming out on top.
The last time the two sides met, Aston Villa Ladies lost 7-1 to Birmingham City Women in the Continental Cup.
A crowd of just under 650 arrived at the game amidst a windy and raindy day, but the teams lined up and got the game underway.
New signing and last weeks goalscorer Nadine Hanssen set the bar early on as she went in for a crunching tackle – but a nervous start saw Birmingham take early control of the game.
Birmingham had the vast majority of the possession early on, bu the Aston Villa Ladies defence held strong, with the likes of Hollie Gibson working hard to ensure Birmingham weren’t gifted an easy goal.
Birmingham City had a few chances in the first half an hour, but both Lucy Quinn and Charlie Wellings struggled to get their efforts on target.
In the 38th minute, Aston Villa’s Alison Hall went into a mistimed challenge which in turn saw Birmingham’s Paige Williams kick out at Villa’s grounded player. This should have been a red card and could have certainly changed the game, but the referee only gave Williams a yellow.
The Aston Villa Ladies put in a huge shift in their first 45 minutes, and truly showed their team spirit as the sides went in even at the break.
The start of the second half saw Hayley Crackle, who had truly put in a shift in the first half replaced by Jade Richards.
Jade immediately stamped her authority on the game by stopping an encroaching Birmingham attack.
Aoife Hurley was working hard in the middle of the pitch and managed to play a teasing ball to club captain Kerri Welsh, who’s shot just went wide of the target – showing a good start to the half for the Aston Villa Ladies.
At a number of points, it seemed that goalkeeper Sian Rogers was keeping Aston Villa in the game with some incredible saves, but Alison Hall took that role on herself early into the second half, blocking a shot with her face on the goal line.
Warning bells started to ring as Birmingham hit an effort that smashed against the crossbar – and four minutes later Kerys Halop rose the highest from a corner and headed home for Birmingham – making the score 1-0 to the hosts with around 20 minutes left to play.
Villa didn’t give up and continues to push for an equaliser, with Phoebe Warner coming on for Nadine Hanssen to try and freshen up some legs in midfield.
On the 88th minute Sian Rogers made an incredible save, which fell to Charlie Wellings and rebounded into the net making the score 2-0 to the Birmingham City Women.
At the final whistle, the Aston Villa Ladies could hold their head high as they’d truly given everything against a side in the FA Women’s Super League with both professional and international players. The ladies looked ready to prove themselves in this years FA Women’s Championship – where they play their first game against Manchester United on September 9th.