A superb second half display claimed a crucial win for Gareth Taylor's side at the Academy Stadium, courtesy of Hayley Raso's first goals for the Club, plus Caroline Weir, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp strikes.
The triumph ensured we leapfrogged Villa in the table, whilst extending our impressive 100% record over the visitors, and restored some much-needed confidence after what had been a difficult week, sending the team off onto international duty on a positive note.
Eager to bounce back from two disappointing results, City came flying out of the blocks, laying immediate siege to the Villa goal.
The first chance of note arrived just before the 10-minute mark as Keira Walsh tried her luck from just outside the area – her low drive deflecting into the arms of Hannah Hampton.
While Villa were content to threaten on the counter, the home side dominated the opening 45 minutes, probing patiently for the opening.
Lauren Hemp tried her luck, cutting inside, but her effort suffered the same fate. Walsh and Weir also fired over the bar.
Hampton produced an excellent save two minutes before the break, as a well-worked free-kick saw Jill Scott rise highest to head the ball back across goal into Ellen White’s path. The Ballon d’Or nominee stretched out a leg to make contact but the Villa goalkeeper made herself big to block the attempt at point-blank range.
The hosts’ pressure finally paid off after the break. Released down the left flank, Hemp cut the ball back into Weir’s path and the Scot took a touch to compose herself, losing her marker, before curling beautifully into the top corner.
With the momentum, City almost doubled the lead instantly – Hemp again cutting back; this time for Filippa Angeldahl whose first-time strike was well-blocked by Mayumi Pacheco.
From the resulting corner, it would be two – Stanway reacting quickest to poke home from close range to continue her fine personal record against Villa after a goalmouth scramble caused havoc inside the penalty area.
The forward then almost added another, arrowing just wide of the post, before Villa rallied, seeking a route back into the game.
Alisha Lehmann called Karima Benameur Taieb into action, who gathered comfortably, while substitute Emily Gielnik was inches away from converting in the six-yard box.
Heeding the warning, City stepped up a gear and extended the lead when Raso capitalised on a Hampton error - the 'keeper trying to prevent a corner but playing the ball straight through to the winger, who finished well with the aid of a deflection.
Raso then turned provider to tee up Hemp at the backpost, who made no mistake with a thumping finish, and the roles were reversed a matter of minutes later when Hemp's powerful strike struck the crossbar and fell kindly for Raso to smash home.
A deserved and pivotal win for Taylor's side to reignite our league campaign.
How we lined up
Head Coach Taylor made five changes to the side that fell to defeat in Wednesday's Manchester Derby.
Weir and Angeldahl occupied central midfield, flanked by Hemp and Jess Park, while captain White led the line upfront.
CITY XI | Taieb, Stokes (Mace 80'), Greenwood, Scott, Stanway, Walsh, Weir (Coombs 80'), Angeldahl (Losada 73'), Hemp, Park (Raso 64'), White (C) (Shaw 64')
SUBS | Beckie
VILLA XI | Hampton, Mayling, Sargeant, Allen, N'Dow, Asante, Lehmann (Gielnik 69'), Arthur (Boye-Hlorkah 46'), Petzelberger, Ewers (C) (McLoughlin 69'), Pacheco
SUBS | Hutton, Haigh, Gregory, Blindkilde Brown, Rogers, Littlejohn
What it means
City move up to sixth in the table, overtaking the Villans on goal difference and moving to within five points of third place.
Villa drop to seventh.
● The win marked 300 points in the FA WSL for City, and yielded our 300th home goal in all competitions!
● City have a 100% record against Aston Villa, scoring 34 goals without reply - our best streak against an opponent without conceding.
● We have had eleven different league goalscorers this season (excluding own goals) - the most in the competition.
● Georgia Stanway has five goals in her last four appearances against Villa.
● Hayley Raso has been directly involved in six goals in two WSL games against the Midlands outfit (four goals, two assists).
● Laura Coombs' appearance from the bench marked her 50th game for City.
The squad break for international duty now, reconvening in December for our final three games of 2021.
Taylor's side face travel to Birmingham on Sunday 12 December (14:00) in the WSL and Leicester on Wednesday 15 December (19:00) in the Continental Cup, before completing the calendar year with a home game against Reading on Sunday 19 December (14:00).
Tickets for all City home games are on sale and are able to be purchased online or at the Academy Stadium on the day of the game.
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