Aston Villa Women picked up another win this afternoon and remain undefeated with seven games to go.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Gemma Davies’ Aston Villa Women picked up another win as they edge closer to the end of the FA Women’s Championship season undefeated, thanks in part to a thirty-two second goal from Shania Hayles.
Within the opening minute, the Villans were able to carve through Charlton like a knife through birthday cake – allowing Shania Hayles to find herself through on goal and able to fire into the net.
A strong start for the home side, which was needed as Charlton Athletic Women managed to find their feet after their poor opening period, pressing high up the pitch and causing problems for Villa’s possession-based approach.
The Villa Women came close to a second in the 33rd minute as Nadine Hanssen shook the frame of the goal with a headed effort at the end of a floated Emily Syme cross.
Despite some great moves, Davies’ women were not at their best in this first half – regardless of their dominance.
The second half saw the Aston Villa women fly out of the blocks and almost pick up a very early goal once again as Jodie Hutton sped down the left hand side before drilling a low cross into the box, which deflected just past the post off a Charlton defender.
The home side’s willingness to play the ball around their defence could have seen Charlton inch back into the game on a number of occasions as the visitors tried to catch them out – but both sides were struggling to grab hold of possession around the hour mark.
The 63rd minute saw Kerri Welsh replaced by Emma Follis as Gemma Davies tried to spark a fire in her side as Charlton began to push forward in the search for an equaliser.
Much of the second half saw the hosts struggle, a distant stretch from their previous strong performances against Women’s Super League sides in the Continental Cup and FA Women’s Cup.
The visitors, despite their willingness to push forward, had not really tested goalkeeper Sian Rogers until the later stages of the game – forcing her into a save from a free-kick in the 77th minute.
Emma Follis thought that she’d put the game to bed in the 85th minute with a wicked shot that curled deceptively onto the roof of the net – but she made no mistake just two minutes later as she cut inside from the byline and fired past Charlton’s goalkeeper.
And just three minutes later, Melissa Johnson – who had come off the bench – slotted cooly under the ‘keeper to tie up the win in the final minute of the regular 90.
Aston Villa Women are now seven league games away from finishing the season as invincibles – and it certainly says something when you can not “be at the races” and still see out games comfortably.