Manchester City 1-1 Aston Villa: Kirsty Hanson earns Villa deserved point

Aston Villa celebrating Kirsty Hanson's goal
Kirsty Hanson has scored two goals and contributed two assists in her past three WSL matches

Kirsty Hanson’s close-range strike earned Aston Villa a deserved draw against Manchester City.

Deyna Castellanos gave City the lead in the first half with a cool finish from Khadija Shaw’s slide-rule pass.

But Hanson, on loan from Manchester United, leveled two minutes later from Rachel Daly’s searching cross.

Villa came closest to finding a winner in the second half but Hanson hit the post and Kenza Dali’s long-range effort was well saved by Ellie Roebuck.

The point moves Aston Villa above Everton into fifth place, having played a game more.

Manchester City stay fourth but miss the chance to move level on points with Arsenal and Manchester United in the Champions League qualification places.

Villa well worthy of a point

This hard-earned draw completes a fine run for Aston Villa, who beat Tottenham last weekend and saw boss Carla Ward sign a new contract midweek.

They demonstrated admirable character to recover from a poor start and could have easily won the game in the second half.

“There are definitely a lot of positives. It is a big point, City are a very, very good side,” said Ward. “But there were definitely a few moments there where if we sharpened up in the final third we could have taken one or two of those chances. But it was a collective team performance.

“We will be going home happy tonight but there’s still things to improve and kick on.”

For City, the draw extends their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions. But Gareth Taylor’s side have little margin for error as they attempt to chase down the top three, and the two dropped points could prove costly.

They started the game on the front foot, with Shaw having three shots from inside the area blocked in quick succession by Villa defender Danielle Turner before Chole Kelly rocketed a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

As well as being a threat in the box, Shaw’s hold-up play was troubling the Villa backline and led to the opening goal on 28 minutes.

The 25-year-old dropped deep before rolling her marker and sliding the ball through the heart of the Villa defense for Castellanos, who calmly side-footed home her first WSL goal.

Villa had offered little as an attacking threat at that stage but managed to level just two minutes later when Daly’s cross fell for Hanson – her half-volley from close range had too much power for Roebuck, who got two hands on the ball but could not prevent it from looping into the net.

Villa started the second half the better team and came within inches of taking the lead when Hanson hit the post with a curling shot from inside the area.

Dali, who was superb in central midfield, then went close with a snap half-volley from distance that was well pushed away by Roebuck.

City thought they had snatched a late winner but Anna Leat did well to block Shaw’s effort from close range in stoppage time.

“I thought it was flat,” Taylor told Sky Sports. “Even before we scored we were a bit slow to everything – slow in our play, in our reactions. We score a good goal and give a cheap one away soon afterwards.

“We weren’t clicking, not much cohesion. To come away against a decent Villa team with a point is better than losing the game.

“You can’t worry about dropping a point. We’re still unbeaten, that’s a positive for us. There’s a lot of football still to play so we just attack the next game.”

Line-ups

Man City Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Roebuck
  • 14morganSubstituted forCasparijat 45′minutes
  • 33Kennedy
  • 5Greenwood
  • 15Ouahabi
  • 25Hasegawa
  • 7Coombs
  • 9KellySubstituted forSatinat 73′minutes
  • 10CastellanosSubstituted forAngeldahlat 62′minutes
  • 11Hemp
  • 21Shaw

Substitutes

  • 2Casparij
  • 4Alexander
  • 6Houghton
  • 8Fowler
  • 12Angeldahl
  • 13Satin
  • 17losada
  • 22MacIver
  • 41Blakstad

Aston Villa Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Leat
  • 2Mayling
  • 15pattern
  • 14TurnerSubstituted forlanesat 45′minutes
  • 33Pacheco
  • 12Staniforth
  • 10From there
  • 19blindkildeSubstituted forLehmannat 45′minutes
  • 88NobbsSubstituted forlittlejohnat 90′minutes
  • 20Hanson
  • 8Daly

Substitutes

  • 1hamptons
  • 6lanes
  • 7Lehmann
  • 9Gielnik
  • 16McLoughlin
  • 31littlejohn

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