WSL: Everton back to winning ways with Aston Villa victory

Aurora Galli of Everton interacts with teammates.
Aurora Galli of Everton interacts with teammates during the FAWSL match against West Ham United on 23 January 2022 in Dagenham, England. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

Everton managed their first Women’s Super League victory since November as an Aurora Galli strike handed them a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

After a Covid postponement earlier in the season, the two sides met at the Banks’s Stadium in Walsall to play their rearranged fixture under the lights. Both clubs were looking for important three points in the WSL.

The Toffees sported white shirts without a sponsor after the club pulled all funding by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s owned companies, as they played this game against Aston Villa. 

Everton played under the stewardship of coach Chris Roberts who took temporary charge after the dismissal of Jean-Luc Vasseur a month ago.

The same two sides met in Aston Villa’s last outing on February 13th when Carla Ward’s side won 2-0 at Walton Hall Park. But every game is a different one, and this was no exception to the rule.

First half

It was Villa who took the first initiative in the match and attacked early on with Alisha Lehmann and Ramona Petzelberger seeing long-range efforts saved by Sandy MacIver. Although not successful, the first moments were for the home side.

Villa’s Full back Maz Pacheco looked the most dangerous with continued space down the left-hand side. The 23-year-old delivered an array of dangerous crosses into the box, which were met with different successes. Attacking those crosses meant threat, but the end product wasn’t always there for the home side

Second half

After 45 minutes, the score was still 0-0 and both teams knew they had to tweak their teams tactically to have an advantage in the second half.

Everton made a double change at the break with Hanna Bennison coming on for the booked Lucy Graham and Poppy Pattinson replacing Leonie Maier.

In the second half, Aston Villa set out to be decisive in the attack. Jill Scott saw a header saved after another enticing Pacheco cross before Emily Gienik pulled an effort wide of the mark.

While both sides didn’t manage to cause much threat in front of the opposition’s goal, this was also the consequence of adequate goalkeeping. It was a battle of the keepers as Hannah Hampton was called into action. She denied another second-half substitute in Anna Anvegard opening the scoring with a low drive. 

The stalemate was finally broken on 80 minutes when Galli became the first Italian goalscorer in the WSL. She latched onto a Bennison ball to control it expertly and fire a shot under the reach of Hampton. 

With just over 10 minutes to play, she gave Everton a huge boost in their quest for three points.

Villa had arguably been the better side. This led to irritations. Tempers flared late on with Dali and Sarah Mayling both booked for a late scuffle. But the old rule still counts in the beautiful game. You can have as many chances as you would like, but in the end, only goals count.

Aston Villa were defeated 0-1 against the guests from the blue side of Liverpool. It was the a ninth consecutive home game without victory in all competitions.

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