First time fans at Villa Park might have been forgiven for thinking that Sophie Haywood’s third minute snapshot just whistled over Demi Lambourne’s crossbar was the start of an attack-filled 90 minutes. In reality, the first half was much more about feeling each other out and probing for openings, Leicester’s first shot taking 15 minutes to show up, Rosie Axten’s low effort comfortably held by Sian Rogers.
The second half saw a greater attacking thrust from the Foxes, the chances suddenly raining down in Rogers’ box, the visitors unable to capitalise. The greater intent from Leicester enough to spur the hosts on, a failed clearance dropped for Jodie Hutton, the attacker denied by Lambourne’s fingertips, the goalkeeper bright to keep Kerri Welsh out moments later.
The match very nearly decided 12 minutes from time when Sophie Domingo headed home, the host saved by the lofted flag, the decision enough to save a point as the match wore down.
In a match of fine margins, it was Lambourne who had the biggest say in the result, her super reflexes enough to keep the hosts out as they tried to build a head of steam after the break. At the other end of the pitch, Leigh Dugmore did well to put herself out and keep Elisha N’Dow and Jade Richards busy in the Villa defence, the centrebacks fulfilling their roles will aplomb.
In a year of learning for the Foxes, this will go down as just another lesson for Jonathan Morgan’s team and for Gemma Davies at Villa, fifth is still very much within reach. The generous crowd at Villa Park probably not left overwhelmed by the match, whether or not they’ll make their way to Boldemere St Michaels.