Aston Villa Women had the majority of the chances against Everton, but finished the night frustrated, and with a loss.
Words: Andrew Maddox | @Andrew__Maddox
Aston Villa Women ended their double-header with Everton with a narrow defeat to The Toffees.
The hosts had the majority of the chances, but failed to take any of them. It was yet another frustrating night at home for Villa, who will be looking at their strikers for answers.
Both sides came out for the match fired up following Villa’s recent win over The Toffees. Jill Scott and Lucy Graham in particular fell foul of the law, with Everton’s Scottish midfielder picking up the first booking of the match for dragging back Remi Allen. The aggression in attack turned to panic in defence for Everton early on as a loose pass into defence nearly finds Emily Gielnik. Fortunately for the visitors, Megan Finnigan was alert to the danger and managed to recover.
Scott also managed to create the first chance of the match by releasing Allen with some neat footwork. The Villa captain found Ramona Petzelberger in the box, who turned to shoot and forced a fine save from Sandy MacIver. The Everton and England goalkeeper used her legs to turn the ball behind for a corner, letting Everton breathe a sigh of relief.
The hosts managed to pin Everton back in their own half, but The Toffees’ defence refused to be broken. Chris Roberts’ side were nearly gifted a cheap goal on the 20-minute mark as Hannah Hampton sliced a pass straight to Claire Emslie. The Scottish forward was immediately put under pressure by Anita Asante, who managed to seal her out.
Everton managed to ride out this pressure and gradually grew in confidence as the half wore on. Villa seemed to lose confidence under the pressure and began getting sloppy. Towards the end of the half, Villa let a tame ball across the ground from their left wing go all the way across goal and nearly to Gabrielle George. However, Asante again managed to recover to force the corner.
The game kept its blistering pace after half-time, with the first chance again falling to Villa. Less than two minutes later, Jill Scott ducked to try to make something of a poor cross from Villa’s right wing. She didn’t get much contact on the ball and it sailed into MacIver’s gloves, but the ‘keeper nearly spilled it into her own net.
Villa’s veteran loanee then nearly gifted Everton a goal by conceding a cheap foul on the edge of her own box. Dali stepped up to take, but Scott literally put her body on the line as she took a whack in the face blocking the shot.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the final quarter, but only the visitors managed to take advantage. Dali did well to retain possession under pressure before spraying a pass out to Hanna Bennison. The Swedish wonderkid found Aurora Galli in the box who calmly slotted her shot past Hampton.
Carla Ward’s side were left to rue missed chances when the game was still level. One that particularly stood out came shortly before the goal, falling to Petzelberger. A pass came across the face of goal towards the German with the goal at her mercy, but the ball got stuck under her feet and the chance went begging.