On Sunday Aston Villa travel to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City in the Second City Derby. A fixture that has happened twice in the FAWSL with both games not having a crowd in attendance. Something as an Aston Villa fan we have been really looking forward to since the days we would play them in the Continental Cup while being an FAWSL 2 team. In my time watching Aston Villa we haven’t faired too well in the past. My first ever Aston Villa Ladies game would be this fixture that was meant to take place at Villa Park but it was moved to Coles Lane.
The closest we have been to claiming a victory over our local neighbours was in the final fixture last season when Freya Gregory gave us the lead but in the final minutes of the game, Birmingham City pulled level to draw the game. A game where we couldn’t hold onto the victory that we all crave. Earlier in the season we played the opposite fixture at Villa Park and came out with a 0-1 defeat after Claudia Walker netted the winner. And we won’t mention the game that was about to kick off but never did at Damson Park, all I can say is thankfully no crowd was in attendance.
Since we last saw Aston Villa in the Women’s Championship in a game against Coventry United so much has changed on our return this season. New Manager, Carla Ward, who many of you will know was at Birmingham City last season. A new team pretty much, new staff and a new status and stature. Our debut season in FAWSL we had players come in and leave before we even got a chance to see a game with a couple staying on as we watched on a full season at home. A season that saw us have Marcus Bignot come in to help secure our backline seeing us go unbeaten at the end with a run of draws that eventually saw us cement our FAWSL spot as we tried to compete and grow.
Our last 5 competitive fixtures up against Birmingham City have seen us win none, draw one and lose 4. Which you can see why we are looking forward to this game where we will walk in the favourites for the first time, but it will be up to the players to provide the result we all wish to see.
Birmingham City 1-1 Aston Villa – WSL – 28/4/21
Aston Villa 0-1 Birmingham City – WSL – 14/11/20
Birmingham City 2-0 Aston Villa – Continental Cup – 26/8/18
Aston Villa 1-7 Birmingham City – Continental Cup – 30/7/15
Aston Villa 0-2 Birmingham City – Continental Cup – 13/5/14
This season so far for Aston Villa has been one of learning and bonding with many new players coming into the fold as well as management. To have already picked up victory’s over Leicester City and Brighton as long as a draw away too West Ham and stand with 7 points on the board has been a great start as well as good showings against Chelsea in the last game. Emily Gielnik is back in action hopefully after scoring against West Ham and not being able to play since with a toe injury, but we will be so happy to see her back on the pitch.
Our top scorer this season so far is Remi Allen with two goals, but she has added so much more to the team as well as stand in Captain as well, but Marisa Ewers has returned to the squad to help bolster our team going towards the Derby. We are pretty much at full health as well with players now returning like Olivia McLoughlin also returning.
We were lucky enough to see our Academy play as well against Everton in a game where it showed not only do we have a great outline for a first-team squad but also players that are ready to break into the first team set up and keep those already there on their toes. Players such as Freya Gregory, Laura Blindkilde and Olivia McLoughlin already breaking into the team show the gateway to moving up and we have some fantastic players in Missy Goodwin, Molly Lemon and Anna Draper to name but a few that under Kerri Welsh’s guidance and wealth of knowledge will be moving towards a first-team debut. Players with the quality and skill of Missy Goodwin will surely be pushing the hand of Carla Ward soon, such an amazing player who loves to get forward, battle, head the ball and score a fair few goals. We are still hoping we might see a few join up with the first team for the Continental Cup.
All that is left to say is that I know the Aston Villa Women’s Supporters Club are really excited for the game and can’t wait to cheer our team hopefully onto victory Up The Villa, and hopefully we see many of you at the game and get behind Carla Ward’s Claret And Blue Army!!