Clinical Villa tame sloppy Leicester

Aston Villa 5-0 Leicester City

by Nathan Edwards at Villa Park with EXCLUSIVE photos from Suvadeep Biswas (27/3/23)

Above: Leicester City goalkeeper Janina Leitzig makes a save at Villa Park yesterday. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.

Rachel Daly and Alisha Lehmann both scored twice as Aston Villa took advantage of a wasteful and sloppy Leicester City side to make history by winning four WSL games in a row.

Daly pounced on Sarah Howard’s heavy touch to slot Villa’s third goal in a rampant first period after Kenza Dali and Alisha Lehmann raced the Villans into a strong position in the game.

Villa’s top goal-scorer then poked in Lehmann’s cross ten minutes into the second half, before the Swiss international finished Villa’s tear on bottom-of-the-table Leicester.

It was a victory that would have delighted Ward, especially after seeing her side reach the FA Cup semi-final after beating Manchester City seven days prior.

Villa’s thrashing of the Foxes highlighted why both teams lie where they are in the table. Leicester registered more shots, and dominated possession, only for them to ship in five goals in a difficult defeat.

Above: Kenza Dali rifles in a shot for Aston Villa yesterday. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.

And just before Dali put Villa ahead, with a cultured finish from outside the box, Leicester saw a combination of Hannah Hampton and her defence clear Sam Tierney’s shot off the line.

Even after they fell behind, the side propping up the WSL table created chances, with Dali being an influence in both boxes, blocking Hannah Cain’s goal-bound shot.

Willie Kirk said, “When my analyst told me we had more possession and shots on goal, I failed to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes but I think that probably tells you the story of it.

“I think Villa were very clinical and I think we didn’t get some fundamental basics right for large periods of the first half, and we got punished by it.

“I think we were bright enough going forward at times, we created chances but we certainly weren’t as clinical as Villa and that sums up a lot of their season.

“They have been massively clinical throughout which has put them in the position that therein, and we need to find solutions going into the last six games.”

As for Villa, this victory helped them keep a strong hold on a top-half finish for the first time in their history.

Above: Rachel Daly goes close for Aston Villa against Leicester City. Photo: Suvadeep Biswas for Impetus.

Their journey to this feat has been helped by the skill and goalscoring talents of Rachel Daly, who is two goals off the WSL top goalscorer, Manchester City’s Khajida Shaw.

Carla Ward said, “She has been first class for us all year and she is a complete team player. Normally we might have considered taking her off but the reason I didn’t is that I want her to continue to strive for that Golden Boot. I want to give her the opportunity to go get it, but today she was fantastic.”

But it isn’t just the experienced players such as Daly, Lehmann and Dali who are fundamental to the Villans’ rise, with Ward praising Hampton as the most inform shot-stopper in the league.

Villa’s goalkeeper is just one of the multiple exciting prospects coming through at Villa right now and with the security that five goals gives a team, Ward flexed the quality of her side’s youth by ending the game with five academy players on the pitch.

Georgia Mullett came on for her WSL debut and nearly capped off a historic Villa win with a towering header that forced Janina Leitzig into a sharp save.

Talking about her younger players, Ward said, “We have a good mix. Some injuries in the week meant Evie Rabjohn got her debut and so did Alice (Keitley) which is great.

“They are young kids that have been training really well and stepped up to the first team. Georgia (Mullett) has come on and she is going to be a handful.

“It is what this football club is about, not just with us but with the men as well, and it is really important we will continue to develop youngsters and it is a big priority as this football club.”

The day was a rememberable one for the Villans who continue to grow under Carla Ward and look forward to testing that growth with two back-to-back clashes against Chelsea.

Whilst Kirk believed that their fate remains in their control still, and will be needing a quick turnaround from this damning defeat when they play relegation rivals Reading next weekend.

Suvadeep Biswas’ EXCLUSIVE photo gallery for Impetus at Villa Park:

Teams: ASTON VILLA (4-3-3): Hampton, Rabjohn, Patten, Turner, Pacheco, Dali, Staniforth, Nobbs, Lehmann, Daly, Hanson. Substitutes used: Mullett, Blindkilde, Keitley, Gregory.


LEICESTER CITY (4-2-3-1): Leitzig, Bott, Howard, Plumptre, Nevin, Tierney, Mace, Whelan, Green, Jones, Cain. Substitutes used: Eaton-Collins, Purfield, Siemsen, Pike, Goodwin.

Referee: Jane Simms.

Attendance: 6,489.

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