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Aston Villa Women vs Manchester City at Villa Park

Villa Park Referee : Louise Saunders
18th September 2022 12:30 PM (BST)
  • 4 Aston Villa Women

    • ‘22' Alisha Lehmann
    • ‘32' Rachel Daly
    • ‘58' Kenza Dali
    • ‘76' Rachel Daly
  • 3 Manchester City

    • ‘45'+1' Laura Coombs
    • ‘53' Khadija Shaw
    • ‘55' Laura Coombs


Commentary By George Kelsey



That's all from me - a thrilling encounter at Villa Park unfortunately ends in defeat for City.

A Laura Coombs brace and Bunny Shaw header weren't enough for the three points, with a Rachel Daly double plus further strikes from Alisha Lehmann and Kenza Dali proving our undoing.

It's still early in the season though, and the team will be desperate to put things right when we face Chelsea next week.

Be sure to keep across and the official Man City app for plenty of post-match reaction and stats.

Thanks for your company this afternoon ๐Ÿ’™ 


Taylor on bouncing back ๐Ÿ—ฃ

"Of course it's a tough one to take but we've been in tough moments and situations before and had tough starts.

"For us it's simple, we have to dust ourselves down, we support each other really well and stick at it.

"We know, or have an idea, of what this group of players are capable of doing.

"It'll take a bit of time and it's not the start we wanted, there's no denying that, but there'll be no sad faces come Chelsea away next week.

"We need to work hard in that game to get anything form it, it's onwards and upwards."


Taylor on Aston Villa ๐Ÿ—ฃ

"They caused problems, they're a different team, very much like ourselves.

"They've invested and the team looks completely different to what it was previously. They fought really hard today to get the win."


Taylor on half-time message ๐Ÿ—ฃ

"[I just said] that we needed to be better with and without the ball. There was more fight in the Villa team in the first half and we were probably waiting or expecting things to happen.

"We got a lifeline with Laura's goal just before half-time came. We tweaked a few things that helped us but without the ball today we had issues."


Taylor on performance ๐Ÿ—ฃ

"Especially with the way we turned the game around within ten minutes of the second half, to lose the game from that point is a tough one to take.

"We showed good character but if you concede four goals you'll struggle to get anything out of the game."


One of those days

Not the start we wanted.

Despite a spirited turnaround after the break, goals from Kenza Dali and Rachel Daly mean the hosts take home the points.

Reaction to follow shortly.


Villa free-kick

Credit where it's due, Rachel Daly has run herself into the ground for Aston Villa today.

She wins a free-kick inside the City half after a clash of heads with Laia Aleixandri.


Villa counter

The corner is well defended by the hosts, with Hanson and Dali running down the clock in the corner of the City half.

We regain possession though and race forward.

Keep going, City!


Still time

A chance for City to push players forward with a free-kick just inside our half.

Added time approaching, but surely there'll be a fair few minutes added on given a couple of lengthy stoppages?


Villa chance

Villa are inches from a fifth.

The ball is cut back into the path of substitute Gielnik, but the forward can't make a clean contact and Roebuck claims.


End to end

Hanson tries her luck from distance after working the ball onto her left foot.

Roebuck's behind the effort and comfortably claims.

At the other end, Morgan launches an effort towards goal from a similar sort of position, but puts a little too much on it to trouble the net.

Plenty of life left in this game.


Putting on the pressure

City continue our pursuit of a fourth, with Hemp and Villa stopper Hampton smashing into each other as they look to claim a looping ball in the box.

There's nothing malicious in there, but Hemp's absolutely clattered into her England team-mate, who receives treatment inside the area.



The ball is worked down the left by Villa, with Dali feeding Hanson.

The midfielder strikes across goal and when Roebuck can't keep hold of the effort, Daly is on hand to tap home.

Definitely questions of an offside in the build-up, but there's work to do if City want to avoid defeat.


Thriller at the Villa

This has been a captivating game of football - while City have enjoyed larger spells of possession, the hosts always look dangerous on the counter.

Both sides will feel like they could still come away with all three points.


70th minute applause

The entire crowd rise in applause on the 70th minute in commemoration of the Queen's 70-year reign as monarch.

Meanwhile Raso is in late on Pacheco, receiving a yellow card from referee Louise Sanders for the challenge.



So close from Bunny!

The striker is inches from Hemp's teasing cross to the far post, but can't quite make contact.

It'll be the Jamaican's last act, with Deyna Castellanos ready to come on for her WSL debut.



City are on the hunt for a fourth - and we almost get it through Morgan!

The ball sits up invitingly for her, but just before she can pull the trigger, a Villa toe steals it away.

It's reworked out to the left as Hemp slaloms through the challenges, but is eventually put behind for a City corner.


...And breathe

A frantic 15 minutes is brought to a close as Shaw and Daly both receive treatment.

The pair clashed as the Jamaican picked up possession inside the City half, but while Daly seems to have come off better, both seem alright to continue.


Fine margins

A loose pass out from Houghton is pounced on by the hosts, with Dali trying her luck from the edge of the box.

The midfielder's effort takes a deflection, moving it out of reach of Roebuck's despairing dive.


Tremendous turnaround

Laura Coombs' second, City's third.

We've looked a different team after the break, and the midfielder has completed an incredible turnaround.

Kelly is in the thick of the action once again, cutting the ball back into the path of Coombs, who composes herself inside the area before volleying into the top corner.



Deserved leveller

The City pressure tells inside ten minutes of the restart!

It's straight off the training ground, with Kelly's deep cross nodded back into the path of Bunny, who heads into the far corner!



Another chance for City!

Greenwood wins possession just inside the Villa half, releasing Kelly down the right.

The winger cuts it back to Morgan in a promising position, but her effort is blocked behind for a corner.

Another decent spell from City.


Brief respite

A brief stoppage in play while Danielle Turner receives some treatment after clashing with Shaw.

The pair went up to try and claim a vicious near post ball from Kelly, with the Villa defender coming off worse.

Thankfully, she's okay to continue.



Close again from City!

Houghton rises highest to meet a corner, with her header blocked en route to the goal.

Shaw is first to it, but her effort loops onto the roof of the net after a brief spell of pinball in the penalty box.


Early promise

Great feet from Kelly, who sells Hanson a dummy down the right flank.

The winger's cross can't find a City team-mate, but we look in the mood early in the second half.


Second half inbound

City are back out on the pitch ahead of the second half, no sign of the hosts yet though.

Mary Fowler is going through a pretty rigorous warm up, could she be introduced at the break?


Familiar face

Former City star Jill Scott makes her way onto the pitch following her retirement earlier this summer.

The midfielder spent the end of last season on loan at the Villans, meaning both teams have been able to celebrate her success with England at the Euros!

She stops for selfies with some supporters and gets a massive round of applause from both sets of fans - a fitting tribute for a City legend!



Coombs' goal brings an end to the first 45 here at Villa Park.

Not an ideal start for City with the hosts racing into a two goal lead through Lehmann and Daly, but that strike right on half-time could prove vital.


On the scoresheet

A really important goal for City, which offers us some hope going into the second half.

Bunny does brilliantly to spin away from her marker before finding Coombs on the edge of the box.

The midfielder cuts back onto her right foot and tries her luck, with the ball too hot to handle for Hampton, who parries it into her own net.



Villa chance

Anna Patten heads wide from a corner, and will probably feel like she should've done better.

It looks like the defender lost the flight of the ball as it came in, with Houghton doing just enough to put her off.


Knocking on the door

Houghton picks up play after Morgan recycles possession following a corner.

The skipper curls an effort towards goal, but it's too close to Hampton to cause the keeper any real trouble.

Keep going, girls!


Close call

Esme Morgan tries to knock a reverse pass through the Villa defence to Hemp - who has switched wings with Kelly - but the ball trickles away from danger.

Try as we might, it's just not quite falling for City at the moment.


Daly doubles the lead

Rachel Daly marks her Villa debut with a goal, finding the top corner of Ellie Roebuck's net with an impressive strike.

City had cleared the hosts' corner to the edge of the box, but after regaining possession, the midfielder's effort on the turn was destined for the top corner.

Nothing Roebuck could do about that - but it's been a frustrating afternoon for City so far.



Shaw gets her first real chance as she heads Coombs' looping cross towards goal.

Hampton is alert to the danger though, and is quick across her line to catch the Jamaican's effort.


Keep pushing

Hemp scampers away from Lehmann down the left, but eventually runs out of room before she can square it to a teammate.

We've responded well to the setback, but haven't been able to carve out a clear cut chance as of yet.



It's come against the run of play, but Villa are in front.

Laia Aleixandri has her pocket picked by Rachel Daly around 25 yards from goal, with Lehmann picking up the loose ball.

The midfielder works the opening on her right foot before firing back across goal and into the bottom corner.

Frustrating for City, who were looking the more likely to score.


Another effort on goal

City once again win the ball deep in the Villa half, with Coombs squaring for Hemp on the edge of the box.

The winger tries her luck, but Hannah Hampton is behind the effort and comfortably claims.



Aaaargh - another inch and we'd be ahead!

Hemp races to the by-line and plays an inviting low ball across the box.

Bunny Shaw looks destined to tap home the opener, but the forward can't quite get her foot to the ball.

Agonisingly close for City!


Wing command

Kelly skips away from Mayumi Pacheco, but is convinced she was pulled back by the defender.

The assistant referee isn't budging, but it again demonstrates our threat out wide.


Searching for the opener ๐Ÿ”Ž

A brief lull in play for a Villa throw.

The ball is pinged over to Mayling but the defender can't bring it down, and City regain possession.

While we haven't been able to carve out any chances as of yet, it's been a pretty solid start from Gareth Taylor's side.



A clever corner routine from City, as Kelly looks to whip a low ball in at the near post to Morgan.

The cross doesn't quite find the full-back and Villa scramble it away, but the loose ball could've landed anywhere in the box.


Wing wizard

A typical darting run from Hemp almost releases Coombs, but Villa skipper Rachel Corsie gets a toe to it.

City are pressing the hosts high up the pitch and gaining a decent foothold so far.

Sarah Mayling in particular is going to have her work cut out at right back - Hemp looks like she's in the mood!


End to end

Kirsty Hanson steals in on a loose ball and races towards the City goal, with Angeldahl hot on her heels.

The Swede does enough to force her wide, and the ball eventually goes behind for a goal kick.

End to end stuff so far at Villa Park.


Strong start ๐Ÿ’ช

City work the ball out nicely from the back, letting Filippa Angeldahl race into space.

She plays it out to Chloe Kelly on the right, whose effort on goal is deflected behind for a corner.

A decent start for Gareth Taylor's side!


Here we go...

Out come both sets of players to a vocal reception from the Villa Park crowd.

They go through the pre-match pleasantries before a minute's silence and singing of the national anthem to commemorate the passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth II last week.


Gareth Taylor speaking to the BBC ๐Ÿ—ฃ

โ€œI want us to play well, I think thereโ€™s some familiar faces in the starting eleven today, but we look strong as a group of players and we are asking the supporters for a bit of patience but theyโ€™ll be right behind us.

"I think weโ€™ve shown previously that we are more than capable of challenging for honours and I donโ€™t see any change in that.

"I think that weโ€™re a very good team and hopefully we can hit the ground running todayโ€


Fine form ๐Ÿ“ˆ

City come into today's tie in brilliant form on a domestic front.

We've won each of our last nine matches in the WSL, keeping eight clean sheets in the process, and with a goal difference of +29 (31-2).

Meanwhile, Aston Villa earned 21 points last season, but an astonishing 76% of those points were won away from home (16).

It was the highest such percentage for any side in the competition last term.


Target practice ๐ŸŽฏ

Deyna Castellanos forces an incredible save from Ellie Roebuck in the warmup, as City's forward players sharpen up ahead of kick-off.

It's back for a quick running drill, before we make our way back into the changing rooms!

The atmosphere is building here at Villa Park!


Chloe Kelly preview ๐Ÿ—ฃ

Chloe Kelly starts for City today at Villa Park. She sat down with City Studios recently to reflect on a memorable summer and look ahead to the new season!

โ€œA lot of teams have brought in great players, as have we,โ€ she said.

โ€œI believe that our signings are brilliant, young talents that have great years ahead of them. We have a great group of players with brilliant futures.

โ€œIโ€™m excited to be on the pitch with those girls and learn off a great manager like Gareth [Taylor].

โ€œWe lost such great players which is sad, but I believe in the group that weโ€™ve got and hopefully thereโ€™ll be plenty of years to come with a lot of talent.โ€


Preparations continue ๐Ÿคž

Both sets of players make their way out onto the pitch for the pre-match warmups with City sporting our luminescent green training tops.

It's a stretching circle to kick things off at Villa Park, while our three goalkeepers have their reflexes tested with some close-range shots on goal.

For anyone over the age of 25, "The Weekend" by Michael Gray is also blaring out over the tannoy - one to get you moving about on a chilly afternoon! 


Superb Shaw ๏ธโšฝ๏ธ

Bunny Shaw scored nine goals and grabbed three assists in her first WSL season. She managed that in just 795 minutes of action, averaging a goal or assist every 66 minutes.

Given she has started the new campaign with two Champions League goals and an assist in as many matches, the Jamaican doesn't look like she'll be slowing down any time soon!


Warming up ๐Ÿ’ช

Ellie Roebuck, Sandy MacIver and Khiara Keating are first out onto the pitch, getting a feel for the ball as they warm up.

They're playing a combined hand/feet game of keepy-uppy, testing their reaction before they get properly stuck in.


Aleixandri makes her WSL debut ๐Ÿ™Œ

Itโ€™s a typically strong City side at Villa Park this afternoon, which will line up in our usual 4-3-3 formation.

Laia Aleixandri makes her WSL debut in front of the back four, while captain Steph Houghton and Esme Morgan both make their first appearances in the competition since January 2022 and September 2021 respectively.

Demi Stokes and Alex Greenwood complete the defence, with Filippa Angeldahl and Laura Coombs also starting in the heart of midfield alongside Aleixandri.

At the sharp end, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly start on either flank, with Bunny Shaw leading the line as centre-forward.

Meanwhile, five of our new signings will be keen to make an impact from the bench here at Villa Park.


๐ŸšจTeam news๐Ÿšจ

City XI: Roebuck, Morgan, Houghton, Greenwood, Stokes, Aleixandri, Angeldahl, Coombs, Kelly, Hemp, Shaw.

Subs: MacIver, Casparij, Fowler, Castellanos, Raso, Ouahabi, Losada, Hutchings, Blakstad.


Captain's thoughts ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Steph Houghton has been speaking to ahead of the game today - she can't wait to get going!

โ€œ[Iโ€™m] really excited. Itโ€™s been a long time coming and thereโ€™s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

โ€œTo have everyone back and be able to train with everyone, we all just canโ€™t wait to get going.

โ€œWhenever weโ€™ve played Villa in the past, and Iโ€™m guessing this will be no different going forward, they make it difficult for us, theyโ€™ll want to press and be aggressive.

โ€œFor us itโ€™s just about being calm in those moments and really controlling the football in and out of possession."


Opening day delight?

Obviously picking up a win is never a guarantee, but historically City have had plenty of opening day joy in the WSL.

Our last defeat in the season curtain-raiser was also our first as a professional outfit, coming all the way back in 2014!

Since, then we've won five and drawn three - including a 4-0 win at Goodison Park last year.

Fingers crossed for another strong start ๐Ÿคž 


Early team news

City's first starting XI of the new WSL season will be announced at 11:30 (UK), but Gareth Taylor provided a squad update during Friday's pre-match press conference.

The boss said Yui Hasegawa and Ruby Mace were unavailable to face Aston Villa as they continue their recoveries from injury, but Australia international Alanna Kennedy could return to the squad.

Those three potential absentees aside, Taylor explained that he has a strong squad to choose from today!


It's Matchday ๐Ÿ™Œ

Hello and welcome to today's Matchday Centre, as City aim to get our Barclays Women's Super League campaign off to a winning start.

Gareth Taylor's side face Aston Villa, with kick-off scheduled for 12:30 (UK).

We'll bring you minute-by-minute updates from Villa Park throughout the day, while City's starting XI will be announced in around 30 minutes' time.

Between now and kick-off, you can also read the pre-match thoughts of the boss and players alike, including Steph Houghton, Chloe Kelly and Deyna Castellanos!

A detailed match report can also be enjoyed on and the official Man City app soon after full-time, as well as plenty of stats and reaction from the game.


Other games that day

  • Leicester City Women1
    Tottenham Hotspur Women2
  • West Ham United Women1
    Everton Women0
  • Liverpool Women2
    Chelsea Women1
  • Arsenal Women0
    Tottenham Hotspur Women0

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Arsenal Women 1 +4 3
2 Manchester United 1 +4 3
3 Aston Villa Women 1 +1 3
4 Liverpool Women 1 +1 3
5 Tottenham Hotspur Women 1 +1 3
6 West Ham United Women 1 +1 3
8 Chelsea Women 1 -1 0
9 Leicester City Women 1 -1 0
10 Everton Women 1 -1 0
11 Brighton and Hove Albion Women 1 -4 0
12 Reading Women 1 -4 0
Link To Full Table