#FAWC: Aston Villa Women fightback to beat Blades

Aston Villa's hat-trick hero, Melissa Johnson
Match ball winning debutant, Melissa Johnson. (Photo: @AVWFCOfficial)

The opening day of the FAWC season featured a Melissa Johnson debut hat-trick for Aston Villa, who came from 2-0 down to defeat Sheffield United 3-2.

FA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – Opening day results:

Lewes 5-1 Blackburn Rovers (Att: 420)
Crystal Palace 0-0 Coventry United (Att: 281)
Leicester City WFC 1-5 Durham (Att: 322)
London Bees 0-2 London City Lionesses (Att: 412)
Aston Villa 3-2 Sheffield United (Att: 500)

Johnson treble gives Villa victory

Mel Johnson turned the game around with a hat-trick for Aston Villa, wiping out Sheffield United’s two-goal lead,

The Blades cut through Villa twice in the first quarter of the game, Olivia Fergusson scoring against her former club and Katie Wilkinson winning and converting a penalty following a foul by Marissa Ewers.

Sophie Haywood had a couple of chances for Villa before Johnson halved the deficit on 42 minutes.

Johnson then made it 2-2 10 minutes into the second half, shortly after she clipped the woodwork but did complete her treble with 20 minutes to go.

Wildcats put five past Foxes

There was an early exchange of goals as Megan Bell turned in Jordan Atkinson’s cut-back for the Wildcats, 90 seconds later Libby Smith pounced for the Foxes after Hayley James effort hit the woodwork.

Nat Johnson cleared a Bell shot off the line but the hosts lost Demi Lambourne who was injured when making a save, her replacement Scarlett Field got a hand to Lisa Robertson’s fierce strike on the hour but could not prevent the goal.

Midway through the half and Sarah Robson’s header hit the underside of the City bar and Becky Salicki nodded in the rebound.

With 90 minutes played, Molly Sharpe hit a quickfire double with Bell the provider on both occasions.

Rooks over-run Rovers

Blackburn Rovers swiftly levelled after going behind on their FAWC debut at Lewes but the hosts retook the lead and added three goals in the last quarter of an hour.

Emma Jones made a strong run through the middle before firing home the opener before a deflected Natasha Flint  effort brought the visitors back on level terms.

Serena Fletcher and Katie Rood hit the woodwork for Rovers and the Rooks respectively before the break, Jess King restoring the advantage from close range 3 minutes after the restart.

Ellie Noble then netted twice from outside the box and Emily Donovan added the fifth for Lewes late on.

Flag foils last-gasp Coventry free kick

Coventry United were also making their first appearance in the FAWC and came away from Crystal Palace with a point but were denied a goal at the death

Uniited were pleased with a strong showing in the first 45, although Crystal Palace nearly broke the deadlock when Lucy Gillett’s long goal kick sent Ashlee Hincks through on goal but an awkward bounce resulted in her volleying wide.

Palace began the second period better and Cherelle Khassal volleyed across the face of Sue Wood’s goal, while Freya Holdaway flicked a corner goalwards only to see it cleared off the United line.

Coventry thought they had grabbed all three points with seconds to go with the ball in the net from a free kick but Amy Wathan was deemed offside.

Lionesses win London derby

London City Lionesses made a winning start from their journey across the capital, scoring once in each half at the Hive.

Lionesses led London Bees at half time, having taken just 8 minutes to score 8 through a Grace Neville header.

Lauren Pickett was close to levelling on 50 minutes but moments later the Lionesses doubled their lead as Lucy Fitzgerald smashed the ball home from a cut back by Leanne Cowan.

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