The second home game of the season ended with a back-to-back home win of the season for Sheffield FC Ladies, after a 2-1 win at home to Aston Villa.
Chloe Dixon bagged a brace for Sheffield on Sunday afternoon as they held onto the three points at the Coach and Horses Ground against a very well put together Villa side. Villa went all out in attack towards the end of the game but only managed to put away one goal in the dying minutes, despite applying intense pressure on Sheffield’s back line.
Sheffield started the game exceptionally well with the first of the goals coming almost instantly, when Dixon tucked the ball away after some very questionable Villa defending in the first minute of the game.
Villa dominated possession early on as Sheffield’s midfield appeared to be playing a little below par. This led to numerous attacks on the Sheffield’s defence but they maintained a strong line to make up for their sloppy play in the middle of the park.
Quick counter attacking football from Sheffield was prominent in the first half with good spells of link up play between the front three of Melissa Johnson, Katie Anderson and Dixon. However, the end-product from both teams was weak as they struggled to finish on multiple occasions.
Just before half-time, Dixon’s wonderful strike from 30-yards doubled both Sheffield’s lead and her goal tally for the season, allowing Sheffield Ladies to go into the break with their heads held high despite an average display, as Aston Villa looked the more composed of the two teams.
The confidence attained by that late first-half strike was evident in Sheffield’s display, leading them to dominate the start of the second-half.
Villa had a couple of close range free-kicks given away by Sheffield due to a spell of poor, indecisive defending in and around the 18-yard box, but again they were unsuccessful in their hunt for a goal.
This was the start of Sheffield’s shaky end to the game, with Aston Villa Ladies firing on all cylinders trying to clinch their first point of the new season.
The Ladies began to tire going into the final ten minutes of the game, leaving the crowd with exciting but tense viewing with lazy tackles and wide-open spaces to exploit.
Aston Villa were rewarded for their continuous pressure when Kerri Welsh snatched a late goal, but it was not to be for the girls in claret and blue, as they lost their third consecutive game of the new season, leaving them near the bottom of the table with no points.
After the game, Sheffield FC Ladies manager, Zoe Johnson said: “Our girls had to dig extremely deep to be able to get the three points and it was probably our worst performance so far this season”
Johnson also gave her views on match winner Dixon, as she said: “Chloe was absolutely outstanding. She’s had a very good start to the season; she had very good pre-season seeing as she went to china with the Great Britain squad, and I think that’s given her a massive confidence boost as she’s come back flying.
“Most importantly I’m proud of how well she’s been playing defensively.”
Despite Dixon’s tremendous display, it was Ellie Gilliat who took home the Player of the Match award after a solid display both offensively and defensively.