Aston Villa Women conceded in the 96th minute of the Second City Derby, losing out on two points which would have taken the side three points clear of the bottom place.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa Women have drawn their third game in a row, and dropped points in back-to-back games after leading in their last two.
In this evening’s tie, a previously postponed Second City Derby, Aston Villa started the better of the two sides and an early cross from Asmita Ale found the head of Chloe Arthur, who couldn’t quite direct her header on target. Just two minutes later and Birmingham City found chances of their own, but their free-kick and resulting corner came to little.
The game lulled into a period of quietness, before Birmingham’s Littlejohn was forced off the pitch with an injury in the 25th minute.
Just two minutes later, and youngster Freya Gregory opened the scoring for Aston Villa Women. Mana Iwabuchi started off an exceptional move, finding Shania Hayles who broke with pace down the left before squaring to Gregory. The teenager fired against the bar, but was composed enough to slot the ball home on the rebound for her first professional goal for the claret and blue.
There were bookings for both sides before the end of the first half, but the sides would go in at the break – after a relatively quiet first half – with the away side, Aston Villa, leading.
Birmingham City made another change during half-time, replacing Napier with Murphy.
It looked early on like Aston Villa would be forced into a change of their own, with Jodie Hutton down and in visible pain, but after a period of treatment from the physio team, she was able to continue.
Just before the hour mark, Birmingham had a few opportunities to level the tie, but their corners and efforts came to nothing – with many of their shots coming from range.
Aston Villa Women had shouts for a penalty in the 62nd minute as a ball was whipped in by Anita Asante, but the referee waved it away. The sides first change of the evening came a minute later as goal scorer Gregory was replaced by Marisa Ewers.
Another change came ten minutes later, as Shania Hayles was replaced by Diana Silva.
In quite a flat second half, Birmingham found themselves the side on top for much of it, but there was little action in the final thirds of both sides.
There was another shout for a penalty 16 minutes from time as Diana Silva was bundled to the ground between two City defenders, but the referee waved the shouts away once more.
As the clock hit 90, Aston Villa Women looked on course to take three points from their local rivals in a season-defining game – but it wasn’t to be again. In the 96th minute, the final minute of added time, Villa conceded from a stoppage time free-kick for the second game in a row. The ball was swung in from the right, and Sarri managed to get a head to it to guide it past Lisa Weiß in the Villa net.