The young forward is showcasing the quality of depth at Aston Villa Women – taking her chances when they are presented to her.
When the person that you are challenging for your position has scored three hat-tricks in five games, you’re not expecting to start the next league game.
For Shania Hayles, she’s been afforded a number of appearances from the bench and in the cup, as you would expect for a 19-year-old – offering a different style to the more veteran option of Kerri Welsh – or at times paired alongside Welsh.
She is a player that is fully aware of everything it means to play for the club, having rising through the ranks of the Aston Villa Regional Talent Club at the age of fifteen, before she left to join rivals Birmingham City – where she started to make a name for herself in Women’s football.
This summer saw the forward turn down a new contract and move across the city, returning to Aston Villa in an attempt to further her career away from the Women’s Super League.
With Melissa Johnson’s exquisite form, Shania is having to take her chances when they come. Last night’s 3-1 win against Sheffield United Women saw the pacy forward score her first goal after starting a game, as she turned sharply in the box before finishing low into the bottom corner.
Before this, Hayles’ contributions have come in the form of substitute appearances – in games where Johnson has tired or Head Coach Gemma Davies has felt that her contribution had finished – where the youngster has scored on two appearances from the bench, in a 3-2 win against London City and a 6-0 win against Crystal Palace Women.
She could have quite easily had more this season. In the sides sole appearance at Villa Park so far this season, Shania arrived on to the pitch at a time where Blackburn were attempting to muster a way into securing a point from the game, but despite Blackburn’s pressing, Shania still found a way to thunder a shot off the post in the dying embers of the game.
When a forward is playing at the level that Johnson is currently, with ten goals in five games, the worry is always surrounding injury or a drop in form – but not whilst Shania is waiting in the wings.
With three goals in her appearances so far, it’s showing that the quality is there, waiting on the bench to make an impact – and it’s not just Shania either.
With both Melissa and Shania arriving as new signings in the summer, it’s showing the support given to Gemma Davies and her coaching staff is paying off so far, and could see Aston Villa Women continue their fine form as we close out 2019.