WSL Special

This weekend, Impetus covered two WSL matches. Ben Phillips was pitchside at Victoria Road as West Ham United hosted Arsenal to provide us with a photo gallery, and Nathan Edwards was in the press box for Aston Villa’s home game with Brighton and Hove Albion (6/2/23).

Above: A battle for possession between West Ham United and Arsenal last night. Photo: Ben Phillips for Impetus.

Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

by Nathan Edwards

Jens Scheuer picked up his first point in the Women’s Super League as they held Aston Villa to a draw, with Villa boss, Carla Ward, slamming the referee’s performance.

The first half at the Bescot Stadium was starved of any quality in the final third, until 12 minutes from the break when Sarah Mayling’s cross was missed by Megan Walsh.

As the ball evaded Walsh’s attempted punch, the ball rebounded off Kayleigh Green’s thigh and into her own net.

It was the only real chance created in the first half, with Walsh’s save from Kenza Dali’s shot looping high in the air and rebounding off the crossbar.

But as the two sides came out in the second half, Brighton played with new intentions, pushing higher up the pitch and pressurising Aston Villa’s deeper passing.

It did leave some spaces in behind, that Villa struggled to exploit on most occasions but when they did, Rachel Daly was unable to get the clinical touch on Kirsty Hanson’s cutback header and fired her volley over the bar.

The WSL’s top goalscorer was marshalled well throughout the game, and with Brighton hunting down the Villans’ players more effectively they got their reward.

Laura Blindkilde’s heavy touch was pounced on by Veatriki Sarri. Hannah Hampton was quick off her line to thwart her effort but Julia Olme struck in the rebound.

Above: Celebrations for Aston Villa, but the Midlands side had to settle for only a point. Photo: Sports Mole.

Scheuer said, “In my opinion, in the second half we were the better team. In the first half, we had real problems but, at half time, we changed the formation to a 4-2-3-1, which I think was a good decision.

“So we are really happy to come here and get a point, we didn’t steal the point, in the end, we earnt it, and we are really happy to do it against a great Aston Villa team.”

After being drawn level in the game, Villa had a penalty appeal waved away, and with multiple tight offside decisions that went out of their favour, Carla Ward called for better standards of officiating.

The Villa boss said, “We are talking about professional football and a professional league, but what we had today was amateur officiating and it’s not okay.

“It’s not just, me, it’s every single manager and every single player and every fan wanting the standards to go up.

“But as you’re seeing there’s a lot of talk and not a lot of action, so at what point do we realise that as professional football managers, their futures are sometimes in the hands of those who aren’t professional and that’s not okay.”

With the rapid growth of the WSL in almost every aspect, the league have aimed to increase the standards of refereeing, through more reviews of the officials’ performances and accountability in place.

Ward said, “The fourth official [Robert Massey-Ellis] just mentioned to me then that he’d love to have a conversation about that because he probably felt he had to make quite a lot of decisions from where he was stood and that shouldn’t happen so, we’ll have a conversation with Bibiana Steinhaus-Webb [PGMOL’s women’s select group director]. Monday morning we’ll be on the phone.”

Teams: ASTON VILLA (4-3-3): Hampton, Mayling, Patten, Turner, Pacheco, Staniforth, Nobbs, Dali, Lehmann, Daly, Hanson. Substitutes: Corsie, Gielnik, Draper, Blindkilde, Littlejohn, Mullett, Shaw.

Scorer: Green (OG) 33′.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION (4-4-2): Walsh, Fox, Bergsvand, Stott, Morse, Robinson, Carter, Connolly, Olme, Green, Lee. Substitutes: Pattinson, Visalli, Bance, Park, Kullberg, L. Williams (GK), Jarvis, Williams.

Scorer: Olme 74′.

Referee: Louise Saunders.

Attendance: 1,365.

West Ham United 0-0 Arsenal

EXCLUSIVE photo gallery from Ben Phillips at Victoria Road.

Teams: WEST HAM UNITED (4-3-3): Arnold, Shimizu, Fisk, Cissoko, Smith, Stringer, Brynjarsdóttir, Hayashi, Snerle, Asseyi, Filis. Substitutes: Evans, Atkinson, Longhurst, Thestrup, Parker, Denton, Cooke, Hillyerd, Flannery.

ARSENAL (4-3-3): Zinsberger, Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Carvalho Souza, Catley, Maanum, Little, Williamson, Foord, Blackstenius, Hurtig. Substitutes: Beattie, D’Angelo, McCabe, Marckese, Queiroz Costa, Pelova, Møller Kühl, Weinroither, Agyemang.

Referee: Richie Watkins.

Attendance: 2,632.

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