Match report as West Ham end Aston Villa’s unbeaten start to the WSL season; Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Honoka Hayashi score in first half before Alisha Lehmann misses penalty after break; Kenza Dali pulls a goal back but visitors, who have Hawa Cissoko sent off in stoppage time, hold on
Dagny Brynjarsdottir celebrates with her West Ham team-mates after opening the scoring against Aston Villa
Dagny Brynjarsdottir and Honoka Hayashi scored first-half goals as West Ham ended Aston Villa’s unbeaten start to the WSL season with an impressive away victory.
Brynjarsdottir’s smart header (2) and Hayashi’s composed finish (11) were enough to secure a first win on the road for the Hammers and condemn Villa to their first defeat of the season.
Alisha Lehmann saw her penalty saved by Mackenzie Arnold in the second half with the score at 2-0, before Kenza Dali eventually pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion (77) to give the hosts hope of rescuing a point.
But despite Hawa Cissoko’s red card in stoppage time for an angry reaction to a Sarah Mayling challenge (90+1), which caused a long stoppage and resulted in West Ham manager Paul Konchesky being sent off, the visitors held on for an important three points.
The result sees Konchesky’s side move up to sixth in the table and level on points with Villa having played a game more.
How Hammers held on to shock Villa
As the WSL returned following the international break, both teams came together before the game to display a banner reading “protect the players” after a recent report in the United States found “systemic” abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League.
After wins over Manchester City and Leicester, Villa were looking to continue their impressive start to the season which earned Carla Ward and Rachel Daly the manager and player of the month awards for September, but they were stunned by two early goals from a West Ham side who had lost their previous two games.
Villa forward Daly came closest to cancelling out Brynjarsdottir’s opening goal with a looping header, but Hayashi’s driven strike – her first for West Ham – gave the Hammers some much-needed breathing space just minutes later.
Seconds before the half-time whistle, Villa’s Anna Patten hit the outside of the post and despite dominating possession after the break, the hosts struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
Villa were given an opportunity to half the deficit when Kate Longhurst was penalised for handball in the box, but Lehmann’s penalty was palmed away by the impressive Arnold.
They finally grabbed a lifeline through Dali’s fantastic curling effort in the 77th minute, but the home team were unable to rescue a point despite there being over 10 minutes of stoppage time due to Cissoko’s late red card.