A spectacular ball from Hanna Bennison to Aurora Galli was all Everton needed to put away Aston Villa and snap their winless run.
Everton were desperately in need of a pick up following a run of one win in the last six games prior to the showdown at Banks’s Stadium. Aston Villa on the other hand were looking to inflict more pain on the Toffees two weeks after beating them 2-0 at Walton Hall Park.
A relatively quiet half saw very few chances from both sides. The home side had a period of early pressure which resulted in one clear-cut chance of the half. This came in the 12th minute when Ramona Petzelberger had her shot turned away by Sandy MacIver in Everton’s goal. The resultant corner did not lead to anything.
Everton eventually got a foothold in the game and had a brief period where they dominated possession on the half hour mark. That soon petered out as the half wore on and they could find a way past the clarets and blue.Embed from Getty Images
Villa’s other notable chance came late in the first half where Alisha Lehmann broke out on a dazzling run skipping Lucy Graham and Danielle Turner in Everton’s defence before seeing her shot stray off target. Villa dominated possession for the most part of the half but a resolute Evertonian defence limited the Villa attack to the flanks.
An improved Everton
A much improved second half from the Merseyside club saw them settle in early on in the second half, compared to the first half. Toni Duggan had a chance in the 62nd minute with a half turn to get away from Asante but Hampton in goal easily saved the right-footed shot. Seven minutes later, another chance for Everton with Ana Anvegard again forcing Hampton into a save.
The visitors however were not to be denied much longer as Italian Galli brought down a beautiful ball from Bennison to slot it past Hampton. It was Galli’s first goal for Everton. Aston Villa could have equalised immediately at the restart but Lehmann saw her shot flash across the goalpost.Embed from Getty Images
Everton back to winning ways
Two wins and two cleansheets to begin with for Chris Roberts’ side is a positive sign. The club, prior to this game, sought to build on a commanding win against Charlton in the FA Cup weekend. The 2021/22 season has been a turbulent time at the club. They have gone through two managerial changes within the season. Willie Kirk was shown the door after a dismal start and former Lyon manager Jean-Luc Vasseur couldn’t keep his job for more than 100 days before exiting.
Before the Villa game, Everton were just one place above the relegation spot. The drop doesn’t seem to be a real threat as of yet and the win helped them move two points above Leicester with a game in hand. They also find themselves two points behind Villa in ninth which shows how much that win means to the team.
It is hard to think a club tipped to be the biggest challenger to the top three teams now find themselves in a battle at the foot of the table. With quality players at their disposal, it is safe to say Everton are having a very poor season. The European spots are a fading distance away and are vied for by Tottenham and Manchester United who hadn’t been given a chance by many fans WSL fans when the season kicked off.
Stand-outs in the Villa game
It was a stellar defensive display from the Toffees showing in a ‘backs-to-the-wall’ kind of game. The entire backline did a fantastic job keeping the home side’s attackers at bay. Villa had a very limited run at goal especially in the first half despite dominating possession on the flanks.
Goalscorer Galli had an evening to remember becoming the first Italian player to score in the WSL. Her overall game was impressive in the middle of the park partnering Lucy Graham. Defensively sound and breaking up any Villa offensive plays in the middle.
Next up for Everton is an interesting home match against Leicester who play Manchester United before going to Walton Hall Park. This is the best chance for the Toffees to get another three points on board and hopefully for Roberts, finish the season on a high.