Aston Villa Women picked up their first point at home in the WSL against Reading Women, with Mana Iwabuchi starring.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa returned home to the Banks’ Stadium this afternoon, back to Women’s Super League action following the sides heavy defeat against Manchester City Women last weekend.
The game didn’t start the way that Head Coach Gemma Davies would have wanted, with Angharad James giving Reading Women the lead within the first three minutes.
Reading were the side on top early on, and Lisa Weiß was forced into a sublime save to deny Reading an effort from range.
Aston Villa battled well from this point, denying chances for the visitors but struggling to construct chances of their own.
There was a big chance in the 35th minute as Caroline Siems attempted a ball in to Emma Follis, but the pass was overhit and couldn’t find the Villa star.
Stine Larsen came close to equalising eight minutes before the end of the half, but the Danish international was denied the opportunity.
The second half started well for Aston Villa Women, and they found themselves affecting the opposition’s final third more often than they did in the first.
It took ten minutes in the second half for Aston Villa to net an equaliser, as Mana Iwabuchi slid in at the near post to meet a short free-kick from the right to poke past Moloney in the Reading net.
Just two minutes later, however, and Reading found themselves back ahead – as poor defending allowed Rachel Rowe time and space to get a shot on target which found the back of the net.
A double change came ten minutes after Reading’s goal, with Diana Silva and Nadine Hanssen replacing Sophie Haywood and Emily Syme. Five minutes later and Emma Follis was replaced by Shania Hayles.
Reading were put under pressure by Aston Villa Women as the time ticked towards the final whistle and conditions worsened – with thick snow starting to fall in Walsall.
In the 91st minute, Mana Iwabuchi turned provider – playing the ball from the left into Shania Hayles, who held the ball up well before playing it back to the Japanese international, who darted past two defenders before playing the ball into a central position for Diana Silva to poke at goal. The ball trickled past Moloney and into the Reading net.
A minute later and Shania Hayles had the opportunity to win all three points as she broke behind the Reading Women line – but her shot beat the Reading ‘keeper and the post as it tricked wide before the offside Diana Silva collected the ball.