Aston Villa 1-2 Everton: Nathalie Björn spot on as Toffees emerge victorious at Villa Park

Seeking their maiden victory of the 2023/24 Barclays Women’s Super League season in front of the Villans’ home faithful, Carla Ward recalled a number of first-team regulars following her decision to field a somewhat weaker starting lineup for their 7-0 midweek thrashing of Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers in the Conti Cup.

On the other hand, Everton were seeking their first victory since celebrating a notable 1-0 win over fierce local rivals Liverpool at Anfield in the Merseyside derby in mid-October.

AVL: van Domselaar; Mayling, Patten, Turner, Pacheco; Dali, Corsie, Nobbs; Hanson, Daly, Leon

EVE: Brosnan; Holmgaard, Finnigan, Veje; Wheeler, Vanhaevermaet, Bennison, Holmgaard; Snoeijs; Sørensen, Payne

Victorious in their last two Barclays Women’s Super League matches, Aston Villa began assertively, amassing close to 60% of the possession throughout the opening quarter-hour at Villa Park. Meanwhile, Everton defender Karen Holmgaard received the first caution of the game in the 20th minute for a clinical foul on Kirsty Hanson as the Scottish international menacingly beared down on visiting keeper Courtney Brosnan’s goal.

Hanson’s fellow attacking asset, Kenza Dali, would then get herself in on the action moments later as she fired straight at Brosnan – following determined attacking build-up play down the centre of the pitch from the in-form figure of Rachel Daly.

With the game well under way, Daly was presented with the game’s most clear-cut opportunity in front of goal. However, last season’s WSL Golden Boot winner could only disappointingly fire into the arms of Brosnan from around her promising position of the penalty spot.

Katja Snoeijs then forced Villa number one Daphne van Domselaar to tip her fierce effort over the crossbar as both sides returned to the welcoming warmth of their respective dressing rooms with the game goalless at half time.

With the game on a knife-edge following a back-and-forth bums-off-seats opening half in front of goal, Everton broke the deadlock in the 54th minute as Villa defender Anna Patten inadvertently sent the ball past her own goalkeeper, van Domselaar, from close range.

However, in ruthless fashion, Carla Ward’s side got themselves back on level terms immediately from the restart as Daly netted her seventh goal across her last five matches with an expertly-taken finish from inside the penalty area.

Embed from Getty Images

On the back of her brace against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night, Alisha Lehmann was called upon from the home dugout, alongside Lucy Staniforth, by Ward shortly after the hour-mark to help manufacture a match-winner for the hosts.

However, Everton would restore their lead in the 74th minute, as half-time substitute Nathalie Björn confidently fired the Toffees back ahead from the penalty spot following Hanson’s foul on Heather Payne.

Nicoline Sørensen and Dali would see respective efforts well-saved at either end of the pitch within the space of quick-fire 60 seconds, as ultimately, Everton valiantly navigated their way through the concluding moments of the contest to register their first victory in six matches.

Meanwhile, the defeat condemned Aston Villa to their first loss since comprehensively being beaten 6-0 by reigning WSL champions Chelsea in front of their own supporters at the beginning of the month.