WSL: Daly strikes for first Aston Villa win of 2024

Rachel Daly of Aston Villa celebrates scoring a goal with teammates
Rachel Daly of Aston Villa celebrates scoring during the Barclays Women's Super League match vs Leicester City. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Aston Villa came out on top on Friday evening as they edged past Leicester for a crucial victory thanks to a Rachel Daly goal. The England international’s first half goal was enough to win it for the visitors in their first Women’s Super League clash of the year.

The game was being played at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton due to essential ground work at Leicester’s King Power Stadium.

Starting XIs

Leicester City

Leitzig; Howard, Thibaud, Cayman, Tierney, Rantala, Takarada, Nevin, Momiki, Petermann, O’Brien

Aston Villa

Van Domselaar; Mayling, Patten, Corsey, Maritz, Dali, Staniforth, Blindkilde, Leon, Daly, Lehmann

First half

The first real chance fell to the home side as Jutta Rantala sent a free-kick in and Lena Petermann headed over. New signing Noelle Maritz cut inside onto her right foot and curled an effort wide in Villa’s first attempt on goal. 

The Villans took the lead on 16 minutes when Daly struck home at the second Villa attempt from a corner. The England striker saw an initial shot blocked but powered in the rebound. The goal appeared to give the visitors confidence and Alisha Lehmann should have made it two soon after but Janina Leitzig saved well. 

Shannon O’Brien forced Daphne van Domselaar into a good save after a cross from the right from Momiki as Leicester looked for the equaliser.

At the other end, Anna Patten sent a lovely ball over the top for Adriana Leon and the Canadian smashed it just over as half time approached. Patten then headed wide from a free kick when well placed.

Photo credit: Lucy Jones (@LJones_Archive)

Second half

Willie Kirk shuffled his pack at half-time with Josie Green and Deanne Rose coming on for Rantala and Sophie Howard. 

Rose created a chance within five minutes, doing well on the right before O’Brien drew a save from van Domselaar. Some clever play from Villa then saw Leon force Leitzig into a save as Villa looked to extend their lead.

Leon had another big chance to make it two after being sent through on goal by Laura Blindkilde but Leitzig saved well once again. As the game opened up, the ever influential Rose had a big chance at the back post but fired over the bar.

Villa then had a penalty claim turned down when substitute Kirsty Hanson went down under a Julie Thibaud challenge.

Rose should have levelled the game late on but saw her effort saved and the resulting goal-mouth scramble was cleared by Villa with Ava Baker denied on the goal line.

Despite some late scares, Villa held on and picked up a vital three points that takes them above Leicester in the WSL.

Up next

Leicester host Everton in the Continental Cup on Wednesday night while Villa go to Sunderland in the same competition.

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