Aston Villa Women were in action on Tuesday night as they played out a goalless draw against relegation rivals West Ham United.
Both teams were desperate for points as they find themselves fighting for survival at the bottom of the Women’s Super League with only a few games to go.
This was the first league meeting between the two sides this season after fixture cancellations and they are due to face each other again at Villa park in the penultimate game of the season on May 2nd.
Villa have been desperate to change their fortunes after five defeats in the league since their victory over Tottenham Hotspur back in February.
Manager Marcus Bignot opted for a youthful squad with Freya Gregory and Olivia McLoughlin in the starting line-up.
Gregory, 18, signed her first pro contract with the club back in March and lined up against the Hammers at Victoria Park.
In an evenly-matched, cagey first-half, it was West Ham that carved the first opening of the game on 12 minutes.
Elisha N’Dow was called into action and cleared a dangerous attack, the Hammer’s resulting corner was headed wide by captain, Gilly Flaherty.
Moments later, the Villans were on the front foot and Asmita Ale sent a cross into the box, Gregory was the target, but the keeper was quick off her line to claim the ball.
We leave East London with a point after a strong defensive display. pic.twitter.com/97hVTPvdi6— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) April 20, 2021
Just before half time, another Villa cross was delivered into the box, but Kateřina Svitková stepped up with a good defensive header to clear the danger.
Svitková was also a huge a threat going forward for Olli Harder’s side with a fantastic strike saved by Lisa Weiss on 65 minutes.
Defensive stability was key for Bignot’s side as the hosts looked most likely to score after the break, Flaherty headed wide once again with just under 10 minutes left to play.
But it all ended square in East London and Villa have moved above Bristol City in the table ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Banks’s Stadium.
Both teams sit on 11 points, but Villa’s goal difference takes them above their opponents and they still have a game in hand against Birmingham City.
For West Ham, they face a difficult test against Everton as they host the Merseyside club on Sunday afternoon.
Villa were resolute, they were tough to break down, but draws simply won't be enough if they are to survive the drop.
This is a step in the right direction for Bignot’s side after a tough run of fixtures and disappointing results - now it’s time to push on.