Aston Villa Women slipped to their tenth consecutive home defeat today, at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion Women.
Words: Andrew Maddox | @Andrew__Maddox
Aston Villa Women slipped to their tenth consecutive home defeat in all competitions with a narrow loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Both sides had long spells of domination in the match, but a clinical first half goal was enough to take the three points back to the south coast.
Villa spent much of the first half under the cosh as Brighton pressed relentlessly up the pitch. It took just seven minutes for the first warning signs to appear for Carla Ward’s side. Megan Connolly drilled a corner into the box, but Villa failed to deal with it and they were forced into making a clearance off the line. Soon after, Brighton had the ball in the net from another corner but Villa were bailed out by the linesman’s flag.
The hosts had a couple of sighters following this, but Megan Walsh would not be beat. The first chance fell to Alisha Lehmann as she darted into the box and bore down on goal. She did manage to shoot, but Walsh was equal to it and parried it out for a corner. The set-piece came out to Ramona Petzelberger, but her shot from outside the box was just wide of the post.
Villa’s short recovery would not last however. Soon after these chances, Anita Asante almost played Brighton in with a short pass back to Hannah Hampton. The England international was able to get to the ball a split second before Lee Geum-min to bail her defender out, but it wouldn’t be long before the deadlock was broken.
Yet again, it was a Connolly corner that Villa failed to deal with to give Brighton the lead. The Irish international played a fairly tame ball into the box, finding an unmarked Maya Le Tissier. The defender reacted well to stab home, but it was more poor defending from Villa.
Towards the end of the half, Villa looked to carve a way back into the game as both Petzelberger and Mayling tested Walsh, but it was to no avail. The final chance of the half fell to Brighton’s Emma Kullberg, who forced a fine fingertip save from Hampton with a shot across the ground.
The second half got off to a blistering start with a fired-up Villa completely on top. Villa managed to peg Hope Powell’s side into their own penalty area, but struggled to force a genuine chance. Instead, Brighton gifted them one. In a panic, Victoria Williams fired a blind clearance over her own head which for a second looked like it might loop into her own net.
Villa completely controlled the second half, but yet again their finishing and final ball let them down. Jill Scott came closest to finding an equaliser with a header that ended up on the roof of the net, but it wasn’t to be for Villa. Second half Brighton substitute Ellie Brazil also spurned a golden opportunity to double their lead by lifting a shot onto the roof of the net from close range.
This result is the latest in a long line of home defeats for Villa who simply don’t seem to be able to perform at Walsall. Carla Ward will be searching for answers as they prepare to visit Chelsea in their next fixture.