Aston Villa recorded their first Barclays FA Women’s Super League win over West Midlands rivals Birmingham City with a narrow 1-0 victory in the Second City derby on Sunday.
A first half header from Anita Asante made the difference in an otherwise quiet affair at St Andrew’s, as the visitors emerged with local bragging rights on Women’s Football Weekend ’21.
It was not quite the derby spectacle many were hoping for but Ward and her Villa side will hardly care. The victory means they have hit the 10-point mark in the league, moving up to sixth in the table ahead of the likes of Manchester City and Everton.
A quiet start from both sides was a precursor to what was to come. Clear-cut chances were few and far between as the Midlands rivals struggled to get out of second gear.
Villa dominated possession throughout the first half and saw the first chance of the match fall their way. Maz Pacheco sent a corner into a dangerous area which bounced around the box before Alisha Lehmann’s connection send the ball just wide.
Then in the 25th minute, Villa did find the breakthrough, unsurprisingly from another well worked set piece. Sarah Mayling’s pinpoint corner was met by Asante, whose emphatic header blindsided Marie Hourihan and nestled into the back of the net.
The Villans had chances to double their lead as the half drew to a close. Lehmann was unable to guide her shot on target after the ball was headed into her path by Remi Allen and minutes later, Veatriki Sarri almost turned the ball into the back of her own net from yet another Mayling set piece but Hourihan was on hand to come to her rescue.
The second half was an even more uneventful affair than the first. Blues grew into the game and saw a lot more of the ball but the Villa defence managed to keep shots on target to a minimum.
Birmingham City’s best chance came through Jade Pennock, whose shot hit the side-netting after some good link-up play on the edge of the box but otherwise, any real threat of a late equaliser for Scott Booth’s side was scarce.
Both sides are back in action in midweek with Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Birmingham City facing West Ham United in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup.