West Ham United Women edge closer to WSL safety with Aston Villa point
Aston Villa Women 0-0 West Ham United Women
Barclays FA Women's Super League
Sunday 2 May 2021
West Ham United women were forced to settle for a point against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon following a 0-0 draw at Villa Park.
Both sides had golden opportunities to score what would have been the decisive goal in the contest, but clinical finishing was lacking for both teams.
The point does take West Ham up to ninth place in the Barclays FA Women's Super League table as things stand, with safety looking increasingly likely unless other results go against them.
Olli Harder made one change from the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday evening: Martha Thomas returned to the starting eleven, replacing Laura Vetterlein who dropped to the bench.
The Hammers started well at Villa Park, with two dangerous balls fizzing across the Aston Villa penalty area. Dagny Brynjarsdottir was close to making contact but couldn’t quite reach the first ball in from Cecilie Redisch.
Thomas had another opportunity with five minutes gone in the contest, but she couldn’t steer her effort on target after a driven corner from Kenza Dali.
Grace Fisk had the game’s first clear-cut opportunity with seven minutes gone. Brynjarsdottir did well to win a header at the back post, but Fisk couldn’t find the target with the flick on from close range.
The dominance continued for the Hammers and Kenza Dali was next to go close as her free-kick rustled the side-netting on ten minutes.
Villa grew into the game, but it was West Ham who continued to create chances, Brynjarsdottir going close once again, her header flying narrowly over the crossbar.
More nicely-worked play followed, with Dali and Thomas combining to set up Emily van Egmond, but the Australian’s effort was held by Lisa Weiss in the Villa goal.
Marcus Bignot’s team settled into the match but couldn’t offer much in the attacking third. The Hammers were keen to get the ball on the floor and play on the pristine Villa Park surface.
More good play down the right-hand side presented van Egmond with another opportunity from range, but Weiss was more than equal to the effort.
Another golden opportunity presented itself for West Ham with a minute to go before the break. Some more superb play down the right-hand side presented Brynjarsdottir with a tap in, but a block on the line thwarted the east Londoners.
The home side flew out of the traps after the break with Shania Hayles breaking behind the West Ham backline. Her tame effort was denied by Arnold, who pulled off two very good saves from point-blank range to keep the score line level.
Thomas continued to drop in between the three central defenders with her piercing runs in behind, but the forward was denied from an acute angle by Weiss.
After the scare at the beginning of the half, Harder’s side regained control of the contest, causing issues for Villa with their set-piece delivery.
Redisch had an opportunity to give her team the lead with 56 minutes on the clock, but the Norwegian fired her effort into the side-netting.
The home side had another opportunity on the break-away, but Hawa Cissoko and Gilly Flaherty combined to stop Stine Larsen from creating a shooting opportunity.
The Hammers responded with an unbelievable chance of their own when Dali appeared to have rounded Weiss, but some superb defending from the Villans kept the ball out of the net.
Thomas made another fantastic run in behind the Villa backline, only for the crossbar to deny her with only ten minutes left on the clock.
Villa were still threatening on the counter attack whenever they could, but Arnold was once again on hand to deny a snap shot from substitute Freya Gregory.
With the clock ticking down, West Ham looked to find that crucial goal, but Dali's effort flashed narrowly wide of the post - with the game looking destined to end level pegging.
Just as the fourth official's board was lifted to signal five added minutes, Flaherty had a shot that was blocked on the line.
Moments later, van Egmond saw her shot smash off the crossbar, as Bignot's side held on to claim a point at Villa Park.
West Ham United Women: Arnold, Redisch, Pacheco, Flaherty, Thomas, Longhurst, Dali, Fisk, Cissoko, Van Egmond, Brynjarsdottir (Vetterlein 90).
Subs: Brosnan, Mustafa, Barker, Denton.
Aston Villa Women: Weiss, Ale, N’Dow, Asante, Arthur (Hanssen 86), Larsen, Hutton (Ewers 45), Haigh (Follis 86), McLoughlin, Iwabuchi (Syme 79), Hayles (Gregory 65).
Subs: Rogers, Petzelberger, West, Siems.
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