Aston Villa Women have started their season with a hard-earned victory against Leicester City Women, coming from behind to win.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa Women returned to Women’s Super League action at the Banks’s Stadium early this afternoon, facing the newly promoted Leicester City side, with a new look starting eleven – only Anita Asante, Jodie Hutton and Chloe Arthur would start from last season’s squad.
The home side had the first chance, as Boye-Hlorkah fed Jodie Hutton down the left, but her low cross was covered well by the Leicester defenders. Leicester, in turn, countered at pace, and would win a corner that was easily cleared by Villa.
Hannah Hampton was forced into her first competitive save of the season eight minutes in, as Flint found herself with time and space on the edge of the box. Her attempt was struck well, but Hampton was able to tip the ball over the bar, before calmly collecting the resulting corner.
Hampton was forced into another save after fifteen minutes, with Sigsworth, who was looking lively and had already won a free-kick for Leicester, forcing a save with a fierce shot from the edge of the box. A minute later, and Leicester’s Tierney missed a headed opportunity from five yards out.
Just after the half hour mark, and Aston Villa Women thought they had the lead. A ball played into the back post to meet the rushing Alisha Lehmann, but the flag was raised and her goal wouldn’t count.
In the 32nd, Hampton was forced into a wonder-save in the Aston Villa goal, with Flint attempting a half-volley from over 30-yards out, only for the Villa ‘keeper to pull off a sensational, one-handed diving stop to tip the effort over the bar.
Leicester took the lead in the 39th minute, and it was no surprise that it was Flint who would score – after testing the Villa goal a number of times this afternoon. The Leicester star twisted and turned at the edge of the box, before letting fly. Hampton got hands to it, but the ball would bounce off her palms and spin into the net.
Olivia McLoughlin tried her luck from 40-yards out just before the end of the half, but her long-range effort just sailed wide of the far post.
The second half started with an Aston Villa making a change, with Shania Hayles replacing Jodie Hutton, who had picked up a yellow card in the first half.
Boye-Hlorkah almost brought the home side level at the start of the half, but her lob from an odd angle ended up floating just over the bar.
After just six minutes, Aston Villa were forced into another change, replacing Meghan Sargeant after she received lengthy treatment, with Elisha N’Dow.
In the 55th, Leicester City Women sparked a brilliant counter-attack which resulted in Sigsworth beating Asante to the ball and with only Hampton to beat. Hampton got down low and fast and blocked the shot with her foot to deny a sure goal.
Just after the hour mark, Chloe Arthur drew a foul to hand Aston Villa Women a free-kick in a central position from 25-yards out. Sarah Mayling stepped up and fired a wonderful effort over the wall and the outstretched ‘keepers arms, drawing the home side level.
Within a minute, Aston Villa Women had struck again. The ball came from the left into an inviting position, where the day’s captain Remi Allen was waiting to poke into the net.
The next 20-or-so-minutes were all Villa, with the home side attacking, drawing fouls and trying to keep their lead.
There were five minutes of added time at the end of the 90, with a few added on to the original number as Hannah Hampton required treatment after bravely coming for the ball to deny a free-kick opportunity.
Hampton would need treatment again during injury time, as she bravely denied Sigsworth the chance of an equaliser.