A dramatic season came to a close on Sunday afternoon and it ended in celebrations for Aston Villa Women as they secured their Women’s Super League status with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal.
Villa end the season unbeaten in their last five games with five draws, but the fact they held Arsenal will no doubt feel like a win for Marcus Bignot’s side, who picked up their first point against one of the top five.
Bristol City fell to a 3-1 defeat to Brighton on the south coast, which saw them relegated before the final whistle in London.
Mission accomplished!!! Thank you to every single @AVWFCOfficial player who put in an incredible performance today to keep the club in the @BarclaysFAWSL Huge achievement. So much work put in. Thoroughly deserved!!! https://t.co/YfJdShxTNx— Eniola Aluko (@EniAlu) May 9, 2021
It was a quiet start to the game as Villa’s defense were once again difficult to break down, even for an Arsenal side that have scored 63 goals this season.
Stine Larsen was a constant threat for Villa and 15 minutes in, she nearly latched on to an Asmita Ale cross, but was unable to convert.
But, the first real opportunity of the game fell to Vivianne Miedema on the 20 minute mark as she was denied by Lisa Weiss from close range.
The goalkeeper spilled the ball forward into the box, but was quick to smother it before a red shirt could reach it.
Miedema once again went close to giving the Gunners the lead on the brink of half-time after Leah Williamson chipped a dangerous ball into the Villa box that was headed marginally wide by the Dutch international.
As the second-half kicked off, the hosts continued to stretch and put pressure on the Villans, who remained resolute and were able to frustrate their opposition.
In quick succession, Arsenal had two chances as Miedema was once again denied at the near-post before Williamson curled a shot wide.
Bignot’s substitutions nearly paid off as it was Villa that ended the 90 minutes on top as Emily Syme made a fantastic run through the center of the pitch and attempted to slip in Larsen.
The forward was about to release her shot, but Stephanie Catley made a well-timed challenge to send it out for a Villa corner.
It was a positive end to proceedings for the visitors, who secured safety in style by holding Joe Montemurro’s to a draw and celebrations erupted as the final whistle blew.
Even though Bristol City were already relegated following their defeat, Bignot will be delighted his side finished the season well and stayed up on their terms and through their own result, as opposed to their rivals’.
It’s been a challenging season for many reasons, but the foundations are there for the club to keep building in the top-flight and push on from here.