Women's Football

Gemma Davies reflects on Villa’s crucial draw against Reading

Aston Villa Women’s poor form meant they had it all to do on Saturday afternoon when they welcomed Reading to the Banks’s stadium, in their first home game since December 5.

A difficult first half that saw the visitors dominate meant Gemma Davies’ side went in at the break a goal down and greater control was needed as Villa looked to step it up second half.

“It was just to remind them of the key principles of what we’re asking them to do,” Davies said, revealing what was discussed in the half time team talk. 

“We needed to deliver them better.

“Reading are a very good counter-pressing team and sometimes we didn’t accept that pressure very well which meant we sometimes had to have two or three touches of the ball to get it under control.

“It was just about accepting that pressure and moving the ball quicker and I felt we did that better in the second-half.”

Villa sought a reaction and their efforts paid off on 55 minutes when new signing Mana Iwabuchi netted her first goal in her first start for the club, following a well-worked free kick.

Natalie Haigh sent a low ball into the box, and into the path of the Japanese international who was able to get a touch on it and send it beyond Grace Moloney to level the score line.

“Total genius” the Villa boss joked, referring to Haigh’s assist. 

“I can’t claim that one! She’s a switched-on character.”

The rest of the Villa team weren’t quite as switched on as their teammate though, as just two minutes after drawing level, Reading regained their lead through Rachel Rowe.

With their ‘never-say-die’ attitude, the Villans kept pushing and a 90th minute equaliser from Diana Silva ensured they walked away with a crucial point in the race for top-flight survival.

Following a 7-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City last time out, confidence was understandably low amongst a squad still finding their feet in the league.

Davies is well aware of the position they find themselves in, saying: “It’s been a difficult couple of weeks and coming off the back of Sunday, I think we’ve had our most challenging week. 

“The one thing we asked of the players today was to be themselves and show up, to graft and give as much as they can. 

“That’s what we’re about and I think we saw that across the 90 minutes.

“Perhaps in spells across this season we’ve been a little bit inconsistent with that, but we’re a really young team, both players and staff. 

“We’re new to the league and it’s going to take time, but you saw more of what we’re about today.”

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