Aston Villa Ladies during the minutes silence in honour of remembrance day.

Season Review: Aston Villa

Our first competitive game saw us take on Sheffield United in the Continental Cup where we came up short after Nadine Hanssen scored her first goal in Claret And Blue, our next game saw a Midland derby away to Birmingham City we lost 2-0 but gave a really good account of ourselves when Birmingham needed to bring on Ellen White to open the scoring.

Our first League game saw us take on Manchester United and for the first 20 minutes we looked in the game causing pressure but the hand-picked Professional team full of internationals made us pay as we lost 0-12 but our players never once gave up or let their heads drop which showed something as we sang we don’t care what the score we’ll love you evermore.

The kinda come back we wanted as we travelled to Leicester in the Continental Cup for our first win and clean sheet as Kerri Welsh bagged our goal and Aja Aguirre was fantastic in the goal. A trip away to Charlton caught us cold as we didn’t really get going as Charlton won 2-0. Bramall Lane came next as we played Sheffield United for the second time and in a game we won’t remember long we lost 4-1 as Kerri Welsh netted another goal but a game we really didn’t adapt well too but on a massive positive Amy West returned in the second half.

We hosted Durham in an early kick-off at Boldmere and picked up a 0-0 draw in a battle on the pitch also picking up our first point in the league. Our second trip to Leicester say us pick up a 1-1 draw with Jodie Hutton getting her first goal of the season.

Aston Villa Ladies 0-0 Durham Women

Yet another away trip saw us travel to Tottenham as we lost 2-1 in a very hard-fought game and was so unlucky not to leave with anything as once again Kerri Welsh got our goal which the celebration with Jodie Hutton and the team meant more than the game itself. 

Our first win in the league came at home to Millwall as we ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Kerri Welsh and Amy West (who hit a rocket). An away trip to Lewes saw us dominate the game and without taking our chances Jade Richards early goal was cancelled out late on by a wonder strike as we somehow drew 1-1.

The most frustrating game of the season came next as within a minute we took a 1-0 lead over London Bees as Jodie Hutton gave us a lead but then it all seemed to go downhill as we lost 1-3 in a game and a night to forget.

The best response possible was to go to a hostile Crystal Palace and walk out with a 1-3 victory over them as Sophie Haywood got her first Villa goal, Amy West scored a beauty and Nadine Hanssen hit a volley to create a great away day. A Continental Cup trip away to Bristol City saw Tash Baptiste get on the scoresheet and Nadine Hanssen added us a goal but in a 5-2 defeat but this game showed a lot more as we took on the Super League team.

Our third meeting with Sheffield United saw us show how much we’d been working on things as we blew them away 5-1 with Jodie Hutton getting a hat trick, Sophie Haywood scoring and Tanisha Smith bagging her first Villa goal. Our final game of 2018 saw us take on Manchester City in the Continental Cup as we lost 0-4 but gave a great account of ourselves once again. 

Nadine Hanssen takes aim for Aston Villa Ladies
Nadine Hanssen takes aim.

Our first game of 2019 saw us travel to Durham and after a great stay over once again we pushed Durham as we left with a 2-2 draw with goals from Jodie Hutton and Kerri Welsh. The game at Villa Park was next and ended 0-0 with Leicester City in our third meeting.

The only game I missed this season was Stoke City in the Cup away as Villa won 1-2 with goals from Kerri Welsh and Sophie Haywood.

The following game was also in the FA Cup as an incredible comeback saw us defeat Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Quarter Final as Jodie Hutton got her hatrick to keep us in the tie.

Once again we was at home to Charlton and the first half was some of the best football I’ve ever seen Villa play as the whistle felt like was too soon but we managed the game second half to win 2-0 with Sophie Haywood and Kerri Welsh scoring for us.

The FA Cup Quarter Final came next and up against the Super League team West Ham we lost 0-1 at Boldmere but really showed what we was all about and pushed West Ham right until the final whistle.

Our away trip to Millwall was again another fantastic performance as we walked away 1-3 winners with goals from Jodie Hutton, Tanisha Smith and a collectors edition goal from Aoife Hurley, her first in the Claret And Blue. Even Alice Hassall scored but we won’t talk about that towering header.

Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

Back on the road midweek for the rearranged game away to Manchester United we lost 5-0 in a very strange game where Jade Richards ended up in goal.

We welcomed Lewes to Boldmere and in a game we dominated just like the away game we threw away the win late on in a 2-2 draw with goals from Asmita Ale, her first in Claret And Blue and Jodie Hutton also netting her 10th Of The season.

Our final away trip would be to The Hive as we were fantastic as we took apart London Bees 1-5 with Jade Richards, Asmita Ale, Amy West and Tanisha Smith scoring a double giving us a comprehensive win. Our last but one game saw us play Tottenham and they held on near the end to gain the point as we drew 1-1 with Amy West getting yet another goal.

We ended on a 0-0 draw at home to Crystal Palace with a bit of whimper as felt like an end of season game. 

Aston Villa's Elisha N'dow. Photo Adam Nunn
Elisha N'dow. Photo by Adam Nunn

Overview

After a rocky start trying to rebuild the squad and our style of play the start to the season wasn’t going our way as we tried to find our way on the pitch. Goals were hard to come by up early on but we started to become free-scoring while some of our play was breathtaking. I saw a stat other day that we would be a lot higher up the table on first-half results one thing we could need to improve on is game management.

A few games we threw away the three points with late goals or not taking chances while we dominate. But overall a very impressive season for us finishing 6th after the season before we finish 9th. We scored 39 goals and conceded 59 goals but 17 of those were against Manchester United. We won 32.1% of our games and drew 28.6% something we could improve on for sure with better game management. Gemma Davies has brought the best out of some people that other reigns have not been able to do and created a style of play that is fantastic to watch when we are on own game.

Off the pitch as well as a whole fan experience it has improved so much with being able to sponsor players and along the way as fans we were looked after. It’s a very good time to be an Aston Villa Ladies fan and this is hopefully only the beginning as we move on to our second year under Gemma Davies. 

Lewes FC Women 1-1 Aston Villa Ladies. Photo by James Boyes
Lewes FC Women 1-1 Aston Villa Ladies

Players

We have had 21 players put on the Claret And Blue this season, ranging from 28 appearances to 2 appearances but everyone has had a huge impact on our season whether on or off the pitch as it feels like a tight unit without any egos that’s play for each other, the badge and also us fans that turn up home and away to get behind our girls no matter what the score is. All we ask for is the pride and passion to be shown and we know our Ladies will always do this on and off the pitch.

Jodie Hutton was our top scorer with 11 goals, winning the supporters player of the year and having an incredible year on the pitch.

Amy West won the Player Of The Year And I don’t have to tell you how much she deserves this as her comeback changed everything once again.

Alice Hassall won Players Player Of The Year, the only player to feature in every single game and started from the bench but made her name one of the first ones on every team sheet.

Our supporter’s awards was given to every single player to say thank you for an incredible season.

Elisha N’Dow won our supporter’s club player of the year having one of the best seasons I’ve seen her have as she came to the front for us so many times showing how she has matured on the pitch.

Asmita Ale won our young supporters club player of the year which as Benny said be no surprise to anyone as Asmita came into the team and has played all over the back of defence and has smashed every single game and at the age of 17 she is going to only get better and better we are lucky to have a player like Asmita.

Sian Rogers was someone we talked about for the player’s award as she was fantastic for us all season in the goal pulling off some incredible saves along the way.

Every single player made this season for sure my favourite season as an Aston Villa Ladies Fan.

Adam Nunn
adamnunn86@live.co.uk