Olli Harder frustrated that West Ham United Women couldn't see out Villa contest

West Ham United Women’s Manager Olli Harder was frustrated that his side conceded a late equaliser against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. 

The Hammers went ahead with nine minutes gone in the east London sunshine, when Adriana Leon placed the ball into the bottom corner after great work from Lisa Evans to win the ball back inside the Villa area. 

Having looked as though Harder’s side had done enough, there was late heartbreak when Aston Villa skipper Remi Allen was left unmarked at the back post and slotted the ball past Mackenzie Arnold to share the spoils. 

After the full-time whistle, Harder reflected on what could have been.

“Firstly, we weren’t efficient enough when we had the time and moments to score, we need to take those chances. The goal at the end was a sucker punch but we also need to be better and owning our moments. 

“It was a complicated last 10 minutes with that ball coming long every time, we tried to deal with it, but we didn’t and now the game has finished level and we miss out on our first three points of the season.

“It’s not good enough for us to go out here and get one point. Full respect to Villa, I thought they played well, but we need to be looking higher than just getting one point against Aston Villa, we need to be winning these matches.”

Aston Villa, led by former Birmingham City boss Carla Ward were the better side in the second half, with Arnold making some solid saves to keep the east London side in front. 

But the defence was finally broken with only a minute remaining, and Harder was disappointed that his side couldn’t see out the game. 

“It’s frustrating because we were so close, but we need to manage the game better. It’s about being switched on as well, clearing the lines well, and doing the basics well, and we didn’t do the basics well enough throughout the match.

Had we completed the basics, then we could have taken all 3 points,” he said. 

Despite the obvious frustrations, the silver linings for Harder were that the team scored their opening goal of the season, driven on by the returning West Ham United fans – who were in good voice throughout the afternoon. 

“It was great to have the fans back and have them celebrate a goal. It’s one of them games where there is a lot of ifs buts and maybes., and we had a couple of monster chances in the second half as well so, that’s how it goes.

“We were missing a couple of massive attacking options for us today, with Yui Hasegawa picking up a knock and Tameka Yallop still unavailable to play because of passport issues. 

“I think both of them could have made a difference today, so we’re looking forward to having them back on the pitch to improve the team in an attacking sense, Harder concluded.