Claudia Walker’s fifth goal in five games was enough for Birmingham to beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the first WSL Second City derby on Women’s Football Weekend.
Both teams started cautiously playing at Villa Park for the first time with no fans to create a derby atmosphere.
Villa’s first real opportunity came in the 22nd minute when Shania Hayles shot straight at goalkeeper Hannah Hampton.
Birmingham, who could only name two substitutes due to an injury crisis, looked to soak up the pressure and try to catch Villa on the break.
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A clever reverse pass from Walker played through Mollie Green in the 31st minute, but her shot was gathered gratefully by Lisa Weiss.
The best chance came just before half-time when Villa won a free-kick near the right-hand corner flag, but Stine Larsen could only direct her free header wide of the post.
The second half was in need of a spark and Birmingham came out pressing higher up the pitch.
They were rewarded in the 72nd minute with the first goal in a top-flight Second City derby when Walker thundered in a shot off the underside of the crossbar after Villa defender Elisha N’Dow could only head Lucy Whipp’s cross into her path.
Villa couldn’t find a response despite seeing much of the ball in the closing stages, leaving the Blues to take the spoils in an historic derby.
Earlier in the day, Manchester United fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with rivals Manchester City, a result that keeps Casey Stoney’s side unbeaten and top of the table.
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