Match: Aston Villa Women v Leicester City
Competition: FA Women’s Championship
Date: Saturday 7th December 2019
Venue: Boldmere St Michaels FC
Ewers 78, Johnson 86, Hayles 90
Rogers, Haigh, Ale, Ewers, Hutton, Syme, West, Hanssen (N’Dow 80 (Greengrass90)), Haywood (Hayles 73), Johnson, Follis. Unused subs: Greengrass, Kosinska, Hassall, Warner, Welsh.
Story in brief
Four goals in the final 12 minutes brought a hard-fought match to life as Aston Villa Women extended their unbeaten FA Women’s Championship run to ten games.
A resilient Leicester set up to defend and make life hard for Villa, who found themselves frustrated by an inspired Demi Lambourne time and time again.
But with just over ten minutes left, the goals flowed after Marisa Ewers opened the scoring with a smart finish inside the penalty area.
A poacher’s finish saw Mel Johnson take her tally to 11 for the season as Villa looked to have sealed the three points.
But the visitors responded almost immediately to set-up a tense finish before Shania Hayles put the game to bed in the final seconds.
Rock at the back
Natalie Haigh has been an ever-present in the league this season, starting every match in the back four.
As personnel has changed around her, Haigh has been the model of consistency, bringing experience, aggression and quality to the back four.
Her importance to the team was underlined on Saturday as she marshalled emergency centre-back Marisa Ewers through the match.
Leicester City couldn’t get anywhere near Emma Follis for the entire 90 minutes.
The winger’s close control and quality delivery was a thorn in the visitors’ side as she became Villa’s major creative force.
The crowd rise in expectation when Follis receives the ball and though she didn’t score, she was instrumental in the victory.
Super sub Shania
With Villa struggling to breakdown a stubborn Leicester, Shania Hayles’ introduction gave her side the spark they needed.
Her pace and power was a nightmare for the fatiguing Foxes backline, and she carved out a number of openings after entering the field.
An injury time goal was not the first time she’s come off the bench to play a pivotal role for Villa this season.
Aston Villa Women have another two home matches to finish off 2019.
The team host Blackburn in the League Cup on Wednesday, looking to make it through to the quarter-finals, before they play London City Lionesses in the league on Sunday. Tickets for both games are available here.