Another goal from Remi Allen, this time at the death, secured a point against West Ham United this afternoon for Aston Villa Women.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Despite coming from behind to beat Leicester City Women last weekend, Aston Villa Women boss Carla Ward admitted her side weren’t good enough and that she expected better performances from the players against West Ham United.
The game was the early kick-off today, with kick-off at 11:30 am.
The opening few minutes were relatively niggly, with both sides conceding free-kicks, but it was Aston Villa Women’s goalkeeper Hannah Hampton who was tested first. After collecting a long ball attempt from The Hammers, the ‘keeper was tested by West Ham’s Adriana Leon after great work down the left from Brynjarsdottir, but Hampton produced a fine save to deny.
In the eighth minute of the game, West Ham United took the lead – and scored their first WSL goal in over 600 minutes of football. After some awful defending from Villa’s Anita Asante, the ball was swept into the box and crossed across the face of goal for Leon to turn home.
Just three minutes later, and Aston Villa’s defence was once again struggling. A simple back pass from Elisha N’Dow caught Hampton off guard, with the ‘keeper slipping as she tried to clear. Leon attempted to pounce to score her second, but Hampton was able to scramble and stop the attempt at a crucial moment.
For almost 20 minutes of the game, Aston Villa Women were poor and offered very little. With Littlejohn down and receiving treatment, it offered Ward’s side a chance to regroup – and regroup that did.
Almost immediately after, Aston Villa’s deadline day signing Emily Gielnik had Aston Villa’s first chance of the game. The Matildas star struck from range, but lifted her attempt well over the bar.
Aston Villa had certainly livened up, winning free-kicks and offering more in the game, but West Ham’s Leon continued to cause problems for the Aston Villa backline.
Chances came for Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah on more than one occasion, as well as Emily Gielnik as Aston Villa continued to grow in the game. As the game trickled towards half-time, Lehmann, Allen and Mayling all had attempts too.
In the second half, Aston Villa Women started off much stronger than they were in the first, despite the strong finish to the opening period.
Aston Villa had early chances, Pacheco had an opportunity from a free-kick, before a few minutes later Lehmann had claims for a penalty that were waved away by the referee.
West Ham United were trying to find their feed in the half as Emily Gielnik fired a shot towards goal that was eventually called for offside. There was an early change for the visitors, with Chloe Arthur replaced by Ramona Petzelberger.
Just a minute after the change, Hannah Hampton produced a huge save to deny Brynjarsdottir from making it two for the home side.
The game quietened, with few chances coming for both sides, but it fell into a lull until a number of attempts from both sides in the 70th minute.
From here, Aston Villa Women were really pushing for an equaliser. Pacheco struck from range and forced a superb save from Arnold, before Gielnik was inches away from a debut goal as her rebound effort struck the post.
With six minutes of normal time remaining, Remi Allen struck the ball towards goal from ten yards out after Mayling’s crossed ball wasn’t cleared by West Ham, but Arnold got down to save it well. Shania Hayles was denied a goal just a few minutes later as Arnold parried her thundering shot away.
More attempts came from Ward’s side, but it looked to be over until the 92nd minute, with Remi Allen scoring her second goal of the season. Pacheco fired towards goal with a poor shot, more of a miss-hit, but Allen managed to sneak in ahead of the West Ham United goalkeeper to head into the net.
Four points from two games so far for the Villans! Still work to be done on the pitch, however.