A goal from midfielder Nadine Hanssen ensured Aston Villa Women continued their unbeaten run in the league in a 1-1 draw against Durham Women.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa Women’s unbeaten run spread to six games this afternoon in an early kick-off against Durham, as a goal from midfielder Nadine Hanssen brought the sides level and ensured a stalemate at Boldmere St. Michaels.
It was the worst possible start for Gemma Davies’ side as Iris Achterhof managed to get down the left-hand side and turn the ball into a more central position for Nicki Gears to turn into the net past Sian Rogers.
The Aston Villa Women were able to compose themselves from this point and turn the game so that they were on the front foot. Melissa Johnson had a great chance to put scores level, but saw her effort blocked and put wide for a corner.
Johnson had another big chance a few minutes later as Emma Follis did well to get the ball into the box, but the forward skewed her shot just wide of the goal.
In the 26th, Sophie Haywood could have grabbed a goal as Aston Villa Women played a short corner – before the ball fell to Haywood who blazed her shot over the bar from close range.
This prolonged period of pressure allowed a number of opportunities, and Melissa Johnson had her third great chance of the game stopped by a strong sliding block from Becky Salicki.
Durham also had a handful of chances for the break, but the two sides went in at half-time with the away side one goal up.
The home side started the second half by allowing Nicki Gears another shot, which was drilled wide from around 20 yards out, before the tides turned to favour the Aston Villa Women.
Around ten minutes into the half, Melissa Johnson teed up Amy West for a long-range shot from outside the box, but the midfielder couldn’t keep it down and saw her shot fired over the bar.
Shortly after, Nadine Hanssen buried the equaliser before wheeling away in delight.
As Aston Villa then searched for a winner, forward Melissa Johnson saw a shot cleared off the line – before Sophie Haywood was replaced by young winger Jodie Hutton.
In end-to-end stuff, Durham gained a short advantage for around ten minutes, with a few chances going begging – Kathryn Hill with the best chance sliced just wide in the 71st.
Sian Rogers was called into action in the 77th with an exquisite save to stop Iris Achterhof in a one-on-one situation.
A minute later, Jodie Hutton managed to get through by cutting in from the right – before firing he shot over the bar.
In the last chance of the game Marisa Ewers could have bagged the winner in the dying embers, rising the highest at the back post to meet Ella Franklin’s cross, but just couldn’t direct the ball towards the goal.
A strong performance against one of the promotion favourites this year.