Svitkova strikes as Hammers move up to 7th with 2-1 win at Aston Villa
By football reporter
Katerina Svitkova struck in the winner as West Ham United made the most of Aston Villa mistakes to record a 2-1 victory at the Banks’s Stadium.
The Hammers moved above Brighton and up to seventh in the FA Women’s Super League following what was the final fixture of the weekend, but they were helped along the way by their hosts’ generosity.
West Ham were ahead after 12 minutes when Svitkova’s corner was dropped by Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and the ball was forced into the net by Abbey-Leigh Stringer following a scramble.
The hosts had actually started well but were restricted to shooting from distance, with captain Remi Allen and Sarah Mayling both sending efforts harmlessly off target.
However, Villa were awarded a penalty three minutes before half-time when Ramona Petzelberger was bundled over in the box by Lucy Parker and Alisha Lehmann sent her spot kick into the bottom corner.
Parity lasted until the 52nd minute when the Hammers restored their lead, as Svitkova caught Anna Patten in possession on the edge of the area before scoring by shooting between Hampton’s legs.
The match had now come to the boil and Villa were almost level again when Allen’s first-time effort from Petzelberger’s low ball from the left was pushed around the post by Mackenzie Arnold.
The West Ham ‘keeper then blocked Lehmann’s shot from a narrow angle after the ball ran loose off her, while Svitkova almost had her second when she bent a long-range effort just wide as her side held on for the win.
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Aston Villa (4-3-3): Hannah Hampton, Sarah Mayling, Anna Patten, Anita Asante, Mayumi Pacheco, Jill Scott, Ruesha Littlejohn, Remi Allen, Alisha Lehmann, Emily Gielnik, Ramona Petzelberger
Substitutes: Laura Blindkilde Brown for Littlejohn 76, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah for Gielnik 88
Substitutes not used: Sian Rogers, Jodie Hutton, Olivia McLoughlin, Sophie Haywood, Marisa Ewers, Rachel Corsie
Goals: Lehmann 42 (pen)
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said: “I don’t understand how we lost the game, to be really honest.
“I think one team set up to go and win the game and it’s a tale of two boxes – we’ve obviously not managed to finish our chances, we’ve had plenty of them, and in our own box a couple of mistakes has cost us.
“We’re hugely disappointed because we feel like we’ve done enough to win the game.
“There’s an argument – we’ve seen it again – that it’s a foul on the ‘keeper [for their first goal], but regardless of that we’ve got to be better and it’s frustrating because we’re doing some good work at the minute.
“We played some really good football tonight and nobody can quite believe we’ve lost the game.
“Performances are great, but this is a result business and we have to make sure that we turn performances into points, and it’s important we do that as quickly as possible.”
West Ham United winger Katerina Svitkova said:
“It was a really tough game and I think we had to push each other.
“The conditions were not good and the pitch wasn’t good, but we managed it well and we played like a team, so I’m buzzing.
“For my goal, their midfield gave the ball away and I managed to get the ball.
“I got a chance and I was like ‘I have to shoot’ and I found out the space between the legs of the goalkeeper.
“I wasn’t sure about shooting for the far post, so I decided to shoot through her legs, and it worked.
“The game was up and down – we got some chances and we didn’t score and then they got some chances, and they didn’t score.
“Obviously, it came down to the one goal and we scored it, so we are very happy.
“We want to win every game and we’re now focusing on the Leicester game. “
West Ham United (3-5-2): Mackenzie Arnold, Gilly Flaherty, Lucy Parker, Grace Fisk, Kate Longhurst, Abbey-Leigh Stringer, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Emma Snerle, Katerina Svitkova, Lisa Evans, Claudia Walker
Substitutes: Mel Filis for Evans 45, Zaneta Wyne for Snerle 76
Substitutes not used: Anna Leat, Emily Moore, Lois Joel, Halle Houssein
Goals: Stringer 12, Svitkova 52
Bookings: Stringer 36, Walker 40, Longhurst 60
Referee: Lucy May