A game on a Sunday night has now almost become the norm for Aston Villa Women Fan’s, not because of Television or postponements but because of the Walsall Market, but that is neither here nor there. A day that promised rain, windy and cold but dry when the game started but we were treated to a real downpour and some extreme rain.
After a draw in the game when we played them away with was going to be a chance that we would be able to pick up some points in a fairly evenly balanced match. West Ham had improved since that game but Villa had almost added some new players to the squad.
The game started off with Villa on the front foot and pushing forward down the wing with Alisha Lehmann and Sarah Mayling linking up well but as our struggles lately, we couldn’t find a way to turn the ball into the back of the net. Luck be known it was a former Aston Villa star that opened the scoring in Abbey-Leigh Stringer on the 12th minute.
A corner came into the area and Hannah Hampton didn’t cleanly take the ball as it became loose in the box, and a goal line clearance fell to Stringer who prodded the ball home to give West Ham a 0-1 lead.
Villa almost replied instantly with none other than Remi Allen but her effort went agonizingly close but wide of the goal as the home crowd held its breath. Villa looked the better team on the ball and most likely to score the goal to pull them level but once again we didn’t quite have the final finish in front of goal.
Alisha Lehmann was having a storming first half on the wing and lifted the ball into the box and just as Ramona Petzelberger was about to come onto the ball the Hammers player came through the back of her and the referee pointed to the spot. It was Villa’s chance to pull level and Alisha Lehmann stepped up to take the penalty and tucked it away in the corner giving Arnold no chance at all. It was 1-1 after the 42nd minute and as the rain was starting to freefall the half time whistle went with the two teams drawing.
West Ham came out strong second half but thankfully Anita Asante was strong and awake at the back as she managed to make a very important clearance and not just on the one occasion was she called into play for Villa when West Ham were on the attack. But the undoing for Aston Villa was a rushed ball out from the back that saw Katerina Svitkova nick the ball off Anna Patten and drive at the goal hitting the shot that went between Hannah Hampton’s legs, giving West Ham the lead once again in the game, 1-2 after the 53rd minute.
Villa had it all to do again and it was nearly Remi Allen once again after Ramona Petzelberger showed great vision in lifting the ball into the box but Remi’s effort was smartly saved by McKenzie Arnold as Villa tried to pull level in the game. But just as quick as it was nearly 2-2, it nearly became 1-3 as once again Katerina Svitkova took aim but her effort just bent around the post after it had gone past the keeper.
It was Villa who had the final effort of the game on the 89th minute as Sarah Mayling lifted the ball into the box that founds it’s way to Ramona Petzelberger who at the back post took a first time shot that didn’t quite make the target as it crept just wide of the goal post. It remained 1-2 until the final whistle was sounded. A much better performance by Villa but once again needed a finisher to put Arnold under pressure.
Aston Villa: Hannah Hampton, Sarah Mayling, Anna Patten, Anita Asante, Maz Pacheco, Rueshea Littlejohn (Laura Blindkilde 76), Jill Scott, Remi Allen, Alisha Lehmann, Emily Gielnik (Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah 88), Ramona Petzelberger.
West Ham United: McKenzie Arnold, Lucy Parker, Grace Fisk, Gilly Flaherty, Katerina Svitkova, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Emma Snerle (Zaneta Wyne 77), Kate Longhurst, Lisa Evans (Melisa Fillis 46).