Aston Villa Women flexed their muscles against Coventry United Ladies with a creative display.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa Women remain six points ahead of second placed Sheffield United Women and six games away from an invincible season after a strong showing against ninth placed Coventry United Ladies at Boldmere St. Michaels this afternoon.
Striker Shania Hayles has proven that she can take up the mantle of lead goalscorer of late as Melissa Johnson’s early season form has subdued just a little – and she set the tone early on when Sophie Haywood burst down the left hand side and played a teasing ball into the former Birmingham City Women forward – but Coventry’s ‘keeper Sue Wood was alert and smothered the ball.
It took just eleven minutes for the home side to open the scoring, however, with Emma Follis curling in a corner that centre-back Jade Richards met in the air, heading home to put Aston Villa Women in a strong position early on in the game.
The team selection that Gemma Davies had opted with flexed Aston Villa Women’s creative muscles, with the likes of Emma Follis, Amy West, Sophie Haywood and Emily Syme all involved – allowing the Villans to favour their presence on the ball rather than the grit and tenacity needed against teams like Durham or Sheffield.
Just a minute after their first goal, the home side doubled their lead via Shania Hayles, as the forward latched onto the end of a ball from Emily Syme to increase the advantage for Aston Villa Women.
Emma Follis has received plaudits for her goals and technique this season, but it has to be said her footballing brain is something that should be complimented too, as she found herself with an opportunity to make it three in the 25th minute, before she cut the ball to Shania Hayles who doubled her tally for the afternoon.
The second half provided more of the same for the home side, who came into this game expecting points against a team who have been languishing near the foot of the table for the majority of the season.
Shania Hayles bagged herself a hat-trick for Aston Villa’s fourth just a few minutes before the 70 minute mark, as Melissa Johnson had recently come onto the pitch to replace Emma Follis.
With Hayles fine goalscoring form of late, she has provided Aston Villa Women with more dynamism in their squad selection and substitutions – allowing Johnson – who works as a teaching assistant, a much needed rest at stages throughout the season following her early-season exploits.
The afternoon was topped off with the debut of Austrian international Sophie Maierhofer, who joined the field of play for the final few minutes as she replaced Hayles.
Onto the next one!