Aston Villa Women 3 Sheffield United Women 2: Blades see run ended after surrendering two goal lead
Sheffield United Women saw their seven match winning run in the FA Women's Championship ended with a 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa.
A Melissa Johnson hat-trick saw Villa come back from two goals down to end United’s run which stretched back to last season.
Former Villans Olivia Fergusson and Katie Wilkinson had given the Blades a two-goal lead before Johnson’s heroics ended their seven-game winning run dating back to end of last season in the the FA Women’s Championship.
Gemma Davies’ side almost drew first blood when Becky Flaherty spilled the ball but a last-ditch block from Leandra Little denied Sophie Haywood a certain goal.
However, the next goalkeeping error was punished ruthlessly. Sian Rogers scuffed her clearance, allowing Wilkinson to set up Fergusson for a goal on debut.
Wilkinson was at the heart of the action again as her neat footwork drew a foul in the box, and the ex-Aston Villa striker converted the penalty to double the visitors’ lead.
Haywood then spurned another glorious opportunity as she rounded the goalkeeper but delayed her shot and was crowded out by recovering defenders.
Johnson halved the deficit just before half-time as she beat the offside trap and stabbed the ball under Flaherty.
And the Villa debutant grabbed a second shortly after the restart when she found a pocket of space outside the area and curled the ball into the top corner.
Johnson found herself through on goal again only to graze the post with her effort. Yet the ex-Leicester City striker wouldn’t be denied, completing her hat-trick with a first-time finish in the area to turn the game completely on its head.
United pushed for a late equaliser, but Villa held firm to take all three points in their opening league game.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Rogers; Franklin-Fraiture, N’dow, Haigh (Greengrass 72), Ale; West, Ewers, Follis; Haywood (Hanssen 75), Walsh (Syme 62), Johnson. Subs not used: Kosinska, Hurley, Warner, Hayles.
Sheffield United (4-2-3-1): Flaherty; Barker, Hartley, Little, Johnson (Tinsley 75); Cusack, Tierney; Matthews (Dixon 60), Sarri, Fergusson; Wilkinson. Subs not used: Emily Batty, Alethea Paul, Izzy Ford
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis