Bedford’s starting lineup had only one change from the Tottenham match, with O’Brien replacing Flint up top. The formation of a 3-5-2 remained with Levell in goal, Plumptre, Tierney, and Howard the back three. The midfield remained unchanged with Purfield, Pike, Green, Whelan, and Simon filling the five spots, leaving Carrie Jones to pair with O’Brien up top.
The Foxes started the match with a sloppy a tackle by Simon on Hanson, providing Villa with a penalty within three minutes of play. Daly put it low into the corner as Levell guessed wrong and dove the opposite direction. The rest of the first half was mostly in Leicester’s favor, as they had most of possession and chances. The attack all came down the right side with Simon, Green, Whelan, and Jones linking up well. O’Brien had several opportunities in front of goal, but could make nothing of them.
The second half saw Villa come out looking to score. Villa maintained more of the ball, keeping the Foxes quiet. In the first 20 minutes Leicester’s passes were sloppy, but started to improve with link ups continuing down the right side. With about 20 minutes left Bedford made several subsititutions with Flint coming on for O’Brien in hopes of better finishing. Ellen Vance made her Leicester debut, replacing Purfield on the left. Bott came on for a flagging Simon on the right. The substitutions added much needed energy to the match, opening up play immediately. Unfortunately, the openness of the match benefited Villa, with Gielnik getting past Tierney and Plumptre to score a low shot past Levell.
The Foxes are showing improvements from last season, with them coming empty handed again mostly due to poor finishing. The positives from this match are that they’re creating the chances, and the new signings are working well in the team. With most of the strikers on the team out injured, the finishing issues may continue for a bit longer. Bedford will need to figure this out soon. This season’s only goal is an own goal from Tottenham and of the five shots on target this season, three are from defenders.
Levell – Didn’t have much to do in the first half besides the penalty and a shot from Lehman that she comfortably scooped up. Saved a shot from a well-positioned free kick, with a total of four saves on the match. May have been able to do a little more on the second goal. 7
Tierney – Overall she was again solid. Had some blocks and marshalled the defense well until the closing stages of the match. She was beat on the second goal. 6
Pike – She wasn’t involved much in the attack, as it all came down the right side again. She did have the first shot on target, with a long range attempt on cleanup from a corner. She didn’t contribute much defensively with Villa often able to create their attack down that side. 5
Whelan – First half linked up well with Jones and Simon. She was more consistently involved in this match. Once her and Green get more attuned to each other, it feels like they will spark more of the attack going forward. 7
Simon – Sloppy tackle within the first minutes to concede the penalty. The tackle wasn’t needed, as Howard had it covered. Most of the attack came down the right side, with her again making good runs and linking up with the midfield and Jones. Had a few well placed crosses and passes into the box, that with more natural strikers on the pitch should find the back of the net. 6
Green – Quieter in the first half. Had a few link ups with Simon and Jones. The second half she was more direct with her play, dribbling through Villa’s midfield and getting off shots. She had three shots, with one on target. She started a counter that led to one of the best opportunities in the match, but ended with a foul on Jones in the box that wasn’t called by the refs. 7
Howard – Covered the right side well defensively, winning tackles and intercepting passes. Several of her long passes landed far from their intended recipient, allowing Villa to regain possession and keeping the Foxes stuck in their defensive half for beginning of the second half. 7
C. Jones – Creating chances for the attack down the right side, with her and Simon the best options at the moment for the attack. Should have gotten the penalty called in the second half when the Villa defender took her down in the box. 7
Plumptre – Beaten by Lehman for Villas first chance of the match. Slow to react on the second goal, leaving the space for Gielnik to receive and take the shot. Failed to connect with Purfield’s crosses and corners. The Foxes can’t afford their target for set pieces to miss when so many attackers are out injured. 5
Purfield- Her set piece deliveries are well placed, unfortunately there is still no end product for the Foxes. She couldn’t get forward often, having to cover when Pike didn’t track back. 6
O’Brien- Several chances to score in the first half were missed. She pressured their back line well to pick off one pass, but couldn’t convert. Whether she continues to fill in up top, or whether she moves back to the midfield she will have to do better with these chances. 4
Flint – Came on at ’69 for O’Brien. Used her physicality well to get a cross into the box to Jones. She didn’t get any shots off while on the pitch. 6
Bott – ’74 came on for Simon. Continued the attack down the right side getting a couple of crosses off. 7
Vance – ’74 came on for Purfield for her Leicester debut. Was a bit cavalier attempting to dribble out from in front the Leicester goal. Play opened up when her and Bott came on, with both getting forward. At times she wasn’t getting tracking back quickly opening up space for Villa to attack. 5
Goodwin – ’86 came on for Pike. Not enough time to make a difference. N/A