Bristol City 0-2 Aston Villa: Villans claim first win of WSL season

Bristol City 0-2 Aston Villa: Carla Ward’s side secure their first win of the Women’s Super League season thanks to two late goals as Megan Connolly’s own goal and Ebony Salomon’s strike lifts them off the bottom of the table

  • Aston Villa won their first game of WSL season to ease pressure on Carla Ward 
  • Megan Connolly put the ball into her own net before Ebony Salomon made it two 
  • What is the WORST Premier League hat-trick? – Find out on It’s All Coming Up 

After 65 minutes of football that can only be described as tepid at best, Ebony Salmon came off the bench to change the course of this game and potentially Aston Villa’s season.

The first goal may not be given to the striker, with Megan Connolly deflecting her shot past a helpless Olivia Clark, but there was no doubting the second – a solo run and finish into the bottom corner.

Salmon spent two years with Bristol City before leaving for America when the club was relegated from the Women’s Super League in 2021. Villa brought the 22-year-old back to England this summer but she has had to be patient for opportunities.

Returning to haunt her former club and give her new one their first points of the season was the perfect script.

Five defeats from five games had heaped pressure on Villa boss Carla Ward, who had described the last week as her most difficult in her managerial career so far. But her decision to introduce Salmon in the second half is one that may have saved her job.

Aston Villa left it late to claim their first WSL win of the season over Bristol City on Sunday

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Villa still look a million miles away from the team that finished fifth last season but this victory was crucial. A draw may have spared Ward the sack but she knew they needed a win here.

Bristol City’s 3-2 victory over West Ham last weekend had left Villa rock bottom of the table, the only team with zero points to their name. Villa were the better team but did not truly look like scoring until Salmon and Jordan Nobbs came off the bench.

Both teams struggled to build up any momentum in the first half, with passes going astray and several stoppages disrupting the rhythm. 

A long-range volley from Rachel Furness was the closest the hosts came to finding an opener, with Daphne van Domselaar making a fine save to tip the midfielder’s effort over the crossbar.

The result, thanks to a Megan Connolly own goal and Ebony Salomon’s strike, lefts the Villans off the foot of the table

Villa also struggled to create many openings before the break. Perhaps their lack of bite was best summed up by Rachel Daly inadvertently blocking team-mate Laura Blindkilde-Brown’s shot from inside the box.

Daly had a chance to put Villa ahead after the break but dragged a shot wide as the visitors continued to struggle in front of goal. But Salmon’s introduction gave Ward’s side a new lease of life and in the 77th minute she broke the deadlock.

The forward may have been shooting or trying to cross for Daly but the intention did not matter as Connolly’s outstretched leg diverted the ball past Clark. 

As the Robins pushed forward, they left space at the back for Villa to exploit and Salmon drove forward at speed. Her cross was initially cleared but the ball came back to the forward and she sent a finish into the near post to seal her side’s victory.


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