Williams sinks Villa as Spurs Women get back to winning ways
Aston Villa Women 1-2 Spurs Women
Sun 12 December 2021, 19:50|Tottenham Hotspur
Rachel Williams, six years at Birmingham City earlier in her career, scored the winner against her old city rivals Aston Villa as Spurs Women stepped back into the top three of the Barclays FA Women's Super League on Sunday evening.
The striker finished clinically after Jessica Naz's break and precise pass in the 68th minute. Earlier, Kyah Simon struck her first goal for the Club from the penalty spot on the half-hour after Ria Percival was tripped by Meaghan Sargeant, equalising Remi Allen's opener on 19 minutes.
We were forced to fight all the way, but you just felt our quality in forward areas would see us home. The result sees Rehanne Skinner's team back to winning ways after defeat last time out against West Ham back on 21 November.
Rehanne made two changes to the team that started the 1-0 loss at West Ham. Skipper Shelina Zadorsky made a welcome return alongside Naz, both back from injury, in place of Asmita Ale and Kit Graham, who is unfortunately out for the season with a knee injury sustained against the Hammers.
It was honours even in the first half at Walsall's Banks's Stadium - a goal and one noteworthy chance each.
Our chance came first on eight minutes. Ria Percival drove forward and fed into Naz, she quickly moved the ball into the path of Williams who clipped over the advancing Hannah Hampton but agonisingly wide.
Villa grew into the game and took the lead on 19 minutes. Alisha Lehmann cut in from the left, crossed right-footed and Allen timed her run to perfection to divert past Tinja-Riikka Korpella from eight yards.
Molly Bartrip tried her luck from 30 yards before we levelled on the half-hour. Percival cut into the box from the left and was tripped by Meaghan Sargeant. Simon made no mistake from the penalty spot, firing low into the corner beyond Hampton's dive.
Villa's chance arrived on 39 minutes. Korpella initially touched away Sarah Mayling's cross, the corner was scrambled away but fell to Sargeant, who dragged her shot wide from 14 yards.
Into the second half, and Percival's cross just evaded Simon and Williams on 57 minutes, before the winner 10 minutes later. Naz got away down the right and threaded through to Williams at the right angle of the goal. Williams took a touch, composed herself and drilled past Hampton.
Maeva Clemaron's clever reverse pass almost played in Simon and Naz connected well from distance, straight at Hampton. Defensively, we looked in control, but there was one scare before the final whistle. Allen floated in a free-kick, Korpela spilled it under pressure, Sargeant aimed at the bottom corner but Bartrip was there to clear the ball off the line.
'We dominated large spells'
Speaking to Spurs TV after Sunday's win at Banks's Stadium, Rehanne said there had been a 'clear focus' on Villa once the squad was back together after the international break. "There are a lot of contributing factors," she said. "The West Ham game wasn’t our best performance and we wanted to rectify that, so we’ve been working hard during the international window, finally getting the squad back together at the end of last week. There has been a clear focus on everything we needed to do coming into this game. There were a couple of spells where we weren’t at our best, but that’s football, that’s the game. We dominated large spells of the game, dealt with the direct football quite well and came from behind to win, so there are loads of positives to take out of it."
Aston Villa Women 1-2 Spurs Women
Aston Villa Women: Hampton, Mayling, Sargeant, Allen (c), Asante, Lehmann, Arthur (Brown 74), Gielnik (Gregory 83), Boye-Hlorkah (Hayles 89), Littlejohn (Ewers 89), Pacheco. Substitutes (not used): Rogers, N'Dow, Hutton, McLoughlin, Gregory, Davison.
Spurs Women: Korpela, Neville, Bartrip, Zadorsky (c), Harrop, Clemaron (Addison 73), Cho, Naz, Percival, Simon (Ayane 90+1), Williams. Substitutes (not used): Spencer, Ale, Green, Tang, Ubogagu.
Goals: Villa - Allen 19; Spurs - Simon (penalty) 30, Williams 68.
Yellow cards: Villa - Littlejohn 45, Mayling 78; Spurs - Clemaron 61.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle.
Venue: Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC.
Weather: Breezy, 11 degrees at kick-off.