Kirsty Hanson goal gives Aston Villa a hard-fought draw at Manchester City

Aston Villa's Kirsty Hanson controls the ball during their match against Manchester City.
Aston Villa's Kirsty Hanson controls the ball during their match against Manchester City.
Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Aston Villa took a hard-fought point home after a 1-1 draw against Manchester City, which saw Kirsty Hanson's lob cancel out Deyna Castellanos' opener at the Academy Stadium on Saturday.

Unbeaten in their last eight Women's Super League (WSL) outings, Manchester City looked to have found their footing at home to Aston Villa and fast began to dominate possession, denying their opposition the chance to build.

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Unable to find a clear route through to goal despite their dominance, the hosts were given a warning about half-way through the first half when Villa began to settle and find some joy going forward.

But, as soon as it looked like the hosts might concede, they burst forward once more and took the lead when Khadija Shaw drew the defence in before threading a ball through to Castellanos who dashed through the centre of the box before firing the ball low beyond goalkeeper Anna Leat.

The advantage was only momentary, however, with Villa finding an equaliser just three minutes later when Rachel Daly picked out Hanson with a dinked ball to the far side of the box. Having brought the ball down, Hanson raised it over the onrushing goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, managing to evade Alanna Kennedy on the line with her looped shot to restore the parity.

Much more of an even affair after the break, Villa came close to taking the lead five minutes into the half when Hanson clipped the upright with Roebuck rooted to the spot. A handful of half-chances for the hosts followed before Villa pushed them back, forcing City to slot the ball back and forth sideways across their backline.

Villa's high press began to pay greater dividends with the visitors getting closer and closer to their second goal, first Alisha Lehmann curled her shot just wide of the far post before Kenza Dali drew a strong save out of Roebuck from her volley. After an audacious effort from Jordan Nobbs comfortably cleared the crossbar, the hosts snapped back to life with a dash forward by Yui Hasegawa almost bringing about the defining moment as she picked out Hayley Raso. Yet the second half substitute was forced to watch her effort ping off a pair of shins and out for a corner that City could do little with.

The first time the two clashed at the start of the season, Villa came from behind to snatch all three points but in Manchester, the visitors seemed far more content to sit back for the last ten minutes and repel the better efforts of the opponents. And hang on they did, including managing to avoid conceding a penalty at the death for a shot that appeared to strike the arm of defender Rachel Corsie.

The draw highlights a trying season for City who haven't had things all their own way and will be harder for them to break into a Champions League berth with the teams above them not in the habit of dropping many points.