Aston Villa beat Everton away from home at Walton Hall Park on Saturday afternoon, in an important mid-table tie between the two. 

The match began with a promising start for Everton as they seemed to be on top of defence and attack and were confident on the ball.

The home team were relentless in their early attack but could not find the net despite stealing the ball away from Aston Villa in particularly dangers areas of the pitch. 

The first real attempt by Everton was by No.10 Hannah Bennison who was able to call Villa goalkeeper Anna Leat into action with a save.  

The first free kick of the game came from a late challenge by Aston Villa’s Danielle Turner. The free kick, taken by Elise Stenevik was in a good position just outside the box, but was met by the Aston Villa wall. 

The next attempt by Everton was the first corner of the game, the corner was taken again by Stenevik and delivered deep into the box but none of her teammates managed to get a head to the ball.

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25 minutes in, Villa continued in their struggle to settle into the game and had no real chances on goal. The first Villa attack that called Courtney Brosnan into action, was due to a failed clearance from the Everton defence which allowed Adriana Leon to fire the ball at the Everton keeper.

It almost seemed impossible for Ebony Salmon to get on the ball due to the solid Everton defence, and was she quickly dealt with even when she did get a touch. 

Towards the end of the first half, Villa began to build their dominance in the box , but Brosnan and the Everton defence were able to deal with their threat confidently.

Out of both teams Everton looked more likely to score first, but frustratingly for Toffees they weren’t as clinical in the final third as they would have liked. 

There were to be five minutes of extra time at the end of the first 45, but in the end the ref blew her whistle a minute early. 

Second half

When the second half started, Aston Villa came out of the tunnel a completely different team. They were able to challenge the Everton defence a lot more, and opened up the game as they finally found their rhythm. 

Villa forced Everton into making several defensive errors and they capitalised off one of these as the the first goal of the game came from Kenza Dali, just on the edge of the box.

The Villian’s first goal of the 23/24 season was a low drive past Brosnan into the back of the net against her former club. 

Everton became more frustrated throughout the second half as they gave away more free kicks in dangerous areas, inviting more pressure from the travelling side. It seemed only certain that Aston Villa were to score another goal as they over ran Everton defence.

Villa then had a corner that was taken short and in the same phase of play was whipped in by Ebony Salmon in the 60th minute.

In the space of 15 minutes, Villa had doubled their lead and flipped the game on its head, much to the dismay of the home fans.

The first substitutions of the game were by Everton. Martina Piemonte and Lucy Hope made way for Eleanor Dale and Emma Bissell as the Toffees searched for a way back into the game. 

Aston Villa quickly followed suit, making a double substitution of their own, as Simone Magill and Freya Gregory replaced Ebony Salmon and Maz Pacheco.

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Heading into the final 15 minutes, Everton remained two goals behind despite a flurry of chances.

The home side just couldn’t seem to get the ball into the back of the net, as Leat neutralised the danger time after time. By the 78th minute, Everton had reached nine shots with zero on target.

With ten minutes to go, there were more changes for Aston Villa as Adriana Leon came off for Georgia Mullet, and Miriael Taylor replaced Kenza Dali. 

Time was ticking away for Everton to try and to find a goal, but in the 84th minute, there was a new energy to the game as they were awarded a free kick.

Stenevik whipped the ball into the net with a glancing header, scoring with just five minutes to go. The race was back on, and it was time for the home side to see if they could muster a late minute equaliser.

But unfortunately for the Toffees, it went from bad to worse as a late challenge by Stenevik saw her receive her second yellow of the game and resulted in a sending off. 

The Norweigan defender will now face a one-match suspension and will miss next week’s derby game against Liverpool. 

After suffering the defeat, Everton are now 9th in the WSL table equal on points with Brighton, whilst Aston Villa have gone up to 7th, three points behind Tottenham.

Featured image courtesy of Emilie Mwanza