View: Aston Villa Women stifled by physical Brighton defence in 1-1 draw
Carla Ward’s Aston Villa Women failed to break down a determined Brighton defence in the WSL on Saturday (4 February) and will feel two points were missed instead of one point gained in the 1-1 draw.
The Villans went into the encounter against the second-to-bottom side on the back of some stunning form that had seen them claim a point against Manchester City and annihilate A.F.C. Fylde 11-0 in the FA Cup.
However, Brighton – who recently brought in former Bayern Munich women’s manager Jens Scheuer’s to take the reins – proved a tough nut to crack all afternoon long. [Guardian, 28 December]
After a scratchy opening half an hour, Sarah Mayling’s cross from the right wing was turned into her own net by Kayleigh Green to give Villa the lead before a defensive mix-up gifted Julia Olme the equalising goal after 75 minutes.
During the match-however, Villa were uncharacteristically lax in front of goal, with Rachel Daly lashing a simple volley over the bar from six yards out after 55 minutes and Kenza Dali also going close.
And considering they were lining up against a Brighton side who had let in at least three goals in each of their last five WSL matches, the Lioness will be disappointed she didn’t add to her goals tally for the season.
The game plan from Scheuer was an impressive feat, however, and Brighton must be given due credit for the way they marked Daly out of the game.
The Seagulls were physical in the way they defended against Daly and ensured that she was never given enough time to carve open any goalscoring opportunities. This will come as a worry to Ward, with fellow WSL teams now likely to double up on Villa’s top scorer and mark her out of the game in the coming game weeks.
Although being held at bay for large portions of the encounter, a draw maintains Villa’a unbeaten record in the league since the mid-season break and continues their progression towards the top five of the WSL.
With another clash against the Seagulls awaiting this Sunday (12 February), Ward will hope to take note of their opponents’ tactics at the Poundland Bescot Stadium and come out of the blocks firing.
In other Aston Villa news, Unai Emery must end Matty Cash’s exile in defence and bring him back into the side for Ashley Young.