West Ham denied win by late equaliser from Aston Villa
- Credit: PA
West Ham United were denied all three points in their first home game of the FA Women’s Super League season as Aston Villa snatched a late equaliser deep into injury time.
Both sides finished three points above the relegation zone last season, and it was West Ham who looked the more convincing here for large periods as they welcomed back supporters to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for the new campaign.
The Ironesses made the brighter start, with the impressive Iceland international Dagny Brynjarsdottir threatening down the left-hand side.
And after only eight minutes they made their early pressure tell, after a dreadful mix-up in the Villa defence left Adriana Leon with simplest of finishes to get the Hammers off the mark for the season.
The home side almost made it two a few minutes later as Aston Villa’s Elisha N'Dow sold her goalkeeper short with a poor back pass, only for Hannah Hampton to recover to prevent Leon from grabbing West Ham's second.
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Aston Villa mustered an opportunity for themselves on the half hour mark, with Emily Gielnik shooting straight at Mackenzie Arnold from a tight angle - but for most of the game they struggled to find a cutting edge, with substitutes Mayumi Pacheco and Romona Petzelberger missing chances in the second half.
Villa pushed hard for a late equaliser, and missed a host of good chances, with substitute Shania Hayles missing an excellent chance when she fired straight at the West Ham goalkeeper.
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But they were rewarded for their persistence into injury time as Remi Allen headed into the back of the net to build on their opening day win at Brighton last weekend.
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West Ham manager Olli Harder:
On conceding a late equaliser –
“We need to win these games. On the whole a point isn’t good enough. We need to be scoring more goals - we should have had more than one goal today, because that would have changed the game. It feels like you’ve lost two points not gained a point.
“There were positives, but positives don’t keep you in the lead and positives don’t give you points. Ultimately you’re here to win a football game and we didn’t go that today. We just need to do our jobs better.
“We just need to be more clinical, finish the opportunities that are presented to us. There was a header from three yards out that goes straight to the keeper -- if that goes in it’s 2-0 and the game’s done. We need to do better at taking advantage of those big moments.
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward:
On her sides slow start -
“The first 30 minutes wasn't good enough. But after that we had more of the ball. I heard someone say that West Ham dominated the game -- well if you look at the statistics, and what I saw, I don't think they dominated the game at all.
“The first 30 minutes they absolutely dominated us, but after that we had more of the chances. We made Mackenzie Arnold make more saves than Hannah Hampton did. If we'd lost the game I would have been really disappointed because I thought we did enough.
“I don't know [why we started so slowly]. It's a question I'm asking myself because last week we weren't at it before showing we are actually a really good side. We can't keep giving the opposition a 1-0 start, but I'm just delighted that we've turned it around to get four points.
On Remi Allen's equaliser –
“She's in the right place at the right time and she always gets into those positions. She's a really, really positive attacking midfielder and she brings so much quality on and off the pitch. I'm delighted that she took a chance.
On scoring late on to win a point –
“It was a fully deserved point if I'm honest. I'm delighted [with our start to the season]. It's not just about us winning points, it's also about stopping West Ham from getting three points. If anyone said to us that we'd get 4 points after two games then we'd take it.
On her goalie's performance –
“Name me a better English goalkeeper in form right now. I don't know if there is one. Today she was absolutely world-class. I would love for somebody to sit here and tell me a better English goalkeeper than Hannah Hampton.
West Ham United (3-5-2): Mackenzie Arnold; Lucy Parker, Gilly Flaherty, Kate Longhurst; Lisa Evans, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Melisa Filis, Zaneta Wyne; Adriana Leon, Claudia Walker.
Substitutes: Lois Joel for Claudia Walker 74
Substitutes not used: Anna Leat, Brooke Cairns, Grace Garrad
Goals: Adriana Leon
Bookings: Abbey-Leigh Stringer 64
Red cards: None
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Hannah Hampton; Sarah Mayling, Elisha N'Dow, Anita Asante, Mayumi Pacheco; Chloe Arthur, Remi Allen; Alisha Lehmann, Ruehsa Littlejohn, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah; Emily Gielnik
Bench: Romona Petzelberger, Jodie Hutton, Natalie Haigh, Freya Gregory, Laura Blindkilde, Gemma Davison, Shania Hayles, Sian Rogers
Substitutes: Romona Petzelberger for Chloe Arthur 55, Gemma Davison for Alisha Lehmann 68, Shania Hayles for Ruehsa Littlejohn 83
Substitutes not used: Jodie Hutton, Natalie Haigh, Freya Gregory, Laura Blindkilde, Sian Rogers
Goals: Remi Allen 90+1
Bookings: Ruehsa Littlejohn 31,
Red cards: None
Referee: Kirsty Dowle