Johnson Delighted With Hard-Fought Win Over Villa
A goal at either end of the first half gave Sheffield the impetus, but they had to survive an onslaught from Aston Villa in the final 10 minutes of the game to secure their second three points in as many weeks.
Chloe Dixon netted after just 40 seconds as Sheffield got off to the perfect start, but it was the visitors who pulled the strings for large spells of the first half. Dixon produced the moment of the game just before half-time with a superb goal from 30 yards out, and although Kerri Welsh netted for the Villa three minutes from time, Sheffield dug deep to see out a very nervous end to the match as the visitors threw everything at Sheffield.
Sheffield manager, Zoe Johnson, acknowledged her team's ability to grind our a very important result:
“That was hard-fought. Other than the goal, we didn’t start off well. It was probably our worst performance of the season, but it’s a sign of a good team that we ground out a result today - that’s something we didn’t do in the Spring Series."
“It’s important we got an early goal - we’ve talked about that because we struggle a little bit when we’re coming from behind sometimes. It’s hit them hard a little bit the games we’ve had, and we’ve got another game coming up on Wednesday. The girls were under the cosh a little, so they were struggling a bit towards the end."
And Johnson was full of praise for Sheffield's goal scorer, Chloe Dixon, whose spectacular 30 yard effort just before half-time was the highlight of the match:
“She was great today," said Sheffield's manager. "Each week I stand here and talk about the young players who are coming through here. She works so hard, she’s come through over the past two seasons here, got selected to go away with the GB squad to the University Games, and it’s given her the world of confidence.”
Aston Villa coach, Ian Sankey, was frustrated his side couldn't turn their possession into goals, but admitted it was a recurring pattern in their three matches so far which have yielded just one goal:
“It’s been the story of our season so far; we’ve had good spells in games where we haven’t capitalised - we've had chances and not put them in the back of the net. Then we’ve had poor spells where we’ve thrown goals away, and that’s what we did."
"I suppose the game plan goes out the window a bit when you concede so early, but I thought after that we played some nice football and for 30 minutes of the first half we were the better side. But we didn’t trouble their goalkeeper and they didn’t really trouble ours."
"We had a bad spell before half-time, and they took advantage of it and scored a goal. I thought we were by far the better side after half-time, I told the girls that was a fantastic second half and that it will come, the goals will come and to keep going.”