Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa: Rachel Daly penalty gives Villa victory over Liverpool
Rachel Daly scored a second-half penalty to give Aston Villa victory over Liverpool at Prenton Park in the Women’s Super League.
England international Daly fired in the middle of the point after keeper Rachael Laws knocked Kirsty Hanson down in the box.
Villa had the better chances in a tight game as Alisha Lehmann was denied a one-on-one by Laws in the first half.
The win lifts Villa to sixth place, while Liverpool are winless in five games.
There have been a lot of distractions this week around the goalkeeper Hannah Hampton’s non-involvement but Villa boss Carla Ward praised her team’s professionalism.
“There was a lot of noise off the pitch but you wouldn’t know it with these players. There were no talks in the dressing room or around the club,” Ward told BBC Sport.
“They’re professional, show up and get the job done. We’ve been saying all week it could be a lousy game and we need to make sure we come away with the points.”
Penalty decides close encounter
It was a wet afternoon at Prenton Park and both teams canceled for the first half hour.
Liverpool wing-back Emma Koivisto and Villa’s Lehmann often managed to get behind the right side of their sides as both sides were sloppy in possession.
Reds defender Gilly Flaherty was particularly strong in the first half, while forward Katie Stengel held the ball well as Liverpool counterattacked.
Stengel caught Koivisto when she nearly rolled him up inside the right post, while Megan Campbell’s long throws caused Villa problems – Stengel fired one into the side netting from a tight angle.
Liverpool ended the first half strongly as Jasmine Matthews’ header cleared the line, but as it returned to Koivisto at the edge of the box it slipped, allowing Lehmann through clear.
She had to carry the ball almost the full length of the pitch and as she approached the goal, keeper Laws stabilized herself before flipping the shot brilliantly over the post.
It capped a first half in which Villa’s front three had posed a threat and been able to get behind, but Liverpool had looked more likely to score.
“I think the better team won that day. We dominated the ball. They had a foothold for about 10-15 minutes at the end of the first half and we had to weather the storm,” added Ward.
“We were in the second half in the first half and we needed to pick up the pace and manage the ball better. In the second half we were much better. The goal obviously changed the game.”
Villa’s quality began to show more after the break as Hanson and Kenza Dali began to bond more effectively and the Liverpool midfielder began to tire.
Hanson was played from behind and she got to the ball quicker than Laws to win Villa’s penalty, which Daly chilled straight through the middle.
The goal meant Liverpool became more open as they pushed for an equalizer – manager Matt Beard bringing in substitutes Shanice van de Sanden and Missy Bo Kearns to try and find a way back into the game.
“It was an official decision that changed the game,” Liverpool boss Beard told BBC Sport.
“I watched it back. I have respect for the referee but it’s not a penalty. It’s frustrating because I don’t know what a penalty is anymore.
“Moments like this shouldn’t define games. But we can’t lose our discipline like we did afterwards.”
Ward added: “I need to see him again but they feel quite strongly, maybe they have a case. I don’t know. Where I was from, I would have been amazed if it didn’t. had not been given.”
However, Villa, who now have three wins from their first six matches, looked comfortable at the back and didn’t look like they would concede in the second half.
They host Reading in their next game after the international break from a strong position in the league.
“I thought [the back four] were excellent. Dan Turner…find me a fitter center half in the league. There’s no. She must knock on the door [for an England call-up]”Ward said.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are entering what manager Beard has previously described as “season-defining”, in search of their first win since the WSL opening weekend.
“At the end of the day, if you want to win football games, you have to take a chance. If we had taken one or two today, it could have been a completely different outcome,” Beard said.
“We have to change it and we have to do it quickly. We have an international break now, so pray everyone is back in shape. It’s four big games now.”
- 5faheyBooked at 88 mins
- 28CampbellBooked at 56 mins
- 2KoivistoBooked at 59 mins
- tenfuryReplaced byKearnat 72′minutes
- 12hindsReplaced byHumphreyat 89′minutes
- 20danielsReplaced byvan de Sandenat 72′minutes
- 11LawleyReplaced byRobertat 89′minutes
- 3Dressing gown
- 19van de Sanden
Aston Villa Women
- 21leatBooked at 77 mins
- 33PachecoBooked at 38 mins
- sevenLehmannReplaced byHardingat 60′minutes
- 8DalyBooked at 67 mins
- 20HansenBooked at 90 minutes
- Robert Massey Ellis
Match ends, Liverpool Women 0, Aston Villa Women 1.
Second Half ends, Liverpool Women 0, Aston Villa Women 1.
Failed attempt. Emma Koivisto (Liverpool Women) right footed shot from the center of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Rhiannon Roberts with a cross.
Kirsty Hanson (Aston Villa Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Kenza Dali (Aston Villa Women).
Megan Campbell (Liverpool Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Corner conceded by Rhiannon Roberts.
Kirsty Hanson (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Gilly Flaherty (Liverpool Women).
Replacement, Liverpool Women. Carla Humphrey replaces Taylor Hinds.
Replacement, Liverpool Women. Rhiannon Roberts replaces Melissa Lawley.
Niamh Fahey (Liverpool Women) is shown the yellow card for dangerous foul play.
Kirsty Hanson (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Niamh Fahey (Liverpool Women).
Attempt blocked. Emma Koivisto (Liverpool Women) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.
Failed attempt. Missy Bo Kearns (Liverpool Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close but misses on the right. Assisted by Katie Stengel.
Failed attempt. Missy Bo Kearns (Liverpool Women) left footed shot from outside the box is close but misses on the left.
Foul by Mayumi Pacheco (Aston Villa Women).
Gilly Flaherty (Liverpool Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Corner conceded by Jasmine Matthews.