Remi Allen’s late strike saw Aston Villa Women deny West Ham Women their first home win since February 2020, drawing 1-1 in the Women’s Super League.
Heading into the game, Olli Harder’s side had not found the net in around 600 minutes of football, but very soon after kick-off, Leon (8) – fresh from her Olympic gold with Canada – turned home after a poor defensive error from Aston Villa.
But the visitors soon found their feet in the WSL match-up. Aston Villa had numerous chances – debutant Emily Gielnik hitting the post in the second half – but captain Allen delivered once again.
She sent Mayumi Pacheco’s initial shot home with a leaping header in the 92nd minute, securing a point for Villa after her winner also saw Leicester beaten last weekend.
West Ham had been on the cusp of their first home win since beating Liverpool 4-2 before the Covid-enforced shutdown, continuing their run of no wins at Victoria Road in the 2020/21 season. However, they did break their scoring drought, having gone six WSL games without a goal.
Ahead of the remaining weekend games on Sunday, Villa go top of the WSL after another battling performance from Carla Ward’s side.
How Aston Villa secured a point
It was a lightning-quick start from West Ham, taking advantage of Villa’s early defensive confusion. Anita Asante was unable to clear the ball inside her own area, with Lisa Evans robbing her easily. She then found Leon in the middle, who turned home over the flying body of Sarah Mayling in the six-yard box.
Another potentially calamitous Villa error almost handed West Ham their second goal inside 11 minutes. Elisha N’Dow’s simple back pass was not dealt with by Hannah Hampton, as she and Leon both slid for the ball. The West Ham forward was quickest back to her feet and looked to have an open goal to score into, but Hampton scrambled back in time to block.
West Ham: Arnold (7), Longhurst (7), Parker (7), Flaherty (7), Evans (7), Brynjarsdottir (8), Stringer (7), Filis (6), Wyne (6), Leon (8), Walker (6).
Subs used: Joel (6).
Aston Villa: Hampton (6), Mayling (7), N’Dow (6), Asante (6), Pacheco (7), Allen (7), Arthur (6), Littlejohn (7), Lehmann (7), Boye-Hlorkah (7), Gielnik (7).
Subs used: Petzelberger (6), Davison (5), Hayles (n/a).
Player of the match: Adriana Leon.
But Aston Villa soon began to find their rhythm. The early warning shot was fired when debutant Gielnik fired over from range. Shortly after, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah sent in a superb cross from the left wing – the first time Villa had really found the channel – and it needed a one-handed save from Mackenzie Arnold to palm it away.
On the half an hour mark, Arnold needed to make another vital save. Allen and Gielnik linked up well inside the area, with the latter striking, but the West Ham goalkeeper was at the near post to push it behind. From the resulting corner, Boye-Hlorkah nodded wide at the back post.
Aston Villa continued to see the better of the chances, but went into the break a goal behind.
West Ham could have doubled their lead early in the second half. Leon swung in a lovely ball from deep on the right wing, and Dagny Brynjarsdottir making a perfect run into the six-yard box. However, her header went straight at the goalkeeper, before Aston Villa managed to clear.
But as with the first half, Villa pushed hard for their goal as the second half continued. Pacheco forced a fine save from Arnold, before the ball was recycled and found Gielnik at the top of the area. However, her strike came off the post. Allen and Shania Hayles both tested Arnold as the game entered a frantic final ten minutes, but the Aston Villa captain popped up with the winner in the second of four added minutes.
Pacheco fired from the top of the area, but did not quite catch the ball as she would like. However, Allen was on the move and leaped to turn the miss-hit past Arnold, deservedly securing a point for Aston Villa.
Player of the match – Adriana Leon
Laura Bassett on Sky Sports:
“I think she’s worked tirelessly. If she doesn’t perform as well as she did in the first 20 minutes, West Ham don’t go in front.”
After the international break, West Ham resume their WSL campaign at home to Leicester on Saturday 26 September; kick-off 3pm. For Aston Villa, they will travel to Brighton on the same day; kick-off 2pm.