Bristol City 0-2 Aston Villa: Villa record much needed win
(Credit: Ryan Hiscott via Getty Images)

Aston Villa claimed their first WSL win of the season, as they recorded a 2-0 win away at Bristol City.

After a goalless first half, the game was decided late in the second half. A Megan Connolly own goal and a score from former Bristol City forward Ebony Salmon was enough to see Villa pick up their first points of the season.

The result means both sides switch places in the table; Villa moving up to eleventh, and City moving to the foot of the table.

Lauren Smith elected to make one change to the squad that started the last league game against West Ham United. Abi Harrison started for the first time since her injury, and she replaced Jamie-Lee Napier.

For Aston Villa, Carla Ward made three changes from the last league game against Chelsea. Rachel Corsie, Kenza Dali and Adriana Leon all came in for Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Staniforth, and Alisha Lehmann.

A large number of Aston Villa fans made the trip to Bristol, and they brought a lot of noise and entertainment. Something that neither of the two teams on the pitch could do early on.

To say the first 20 minutes were sloppy would be an understatement. Stray passes, poor touches, and bad decisions certainly all seemed to be on the menu, with neither the Robins nor the Villains able to establish a foothold in the contest.

However, the fans did have something to react to midway through the half. The ball broke kindly to Rachel Furness, who unleashed a sumptuous dipping volley on goal, and Daphne van Domselaar had to be at full stretch to make a stunning fingertip save.

Villa did improve towards the end of the first half, but they couldn’t find a goal.

Rachel Daly’s ambitious looping header was well held by Kaylan Marckese, while a goalmouth scramble couldn’t be converted by anyone in white.

A goalless draw at the break was more than fair, and it was difficult to predict which team would break the deadlock.

Aston Villa certainly came out with more of a swagger about them at the start of the second half, and they did a good job at penning City in.

In the ascendency, all Villa had to do was score a goal, but that was proving to be a difficult challenge.

Daly had two good chances, but a combination of excellent blocking and of less than clinical finishing meant the scores remained level.

But the visitors were edging closer. Sarah Mayling the next to test the home side’s defence with a free kick, but Olivia Clark, who came on for the injured Marckese, scrambled across her goal to make a save.

Time was ticking and someone needed something, and in perhaps fortunate circumstances, it was Villa who finally edged ahead.

Ebony Salmon skipped into the box unchallenged, and her knock through on goal was turned in by the toe of Megan Connolly at the near post. Villa won’t care how it happened, but they were finally leading.

Now with the onus on Bristol City, they had to try and come out and get an equaliser. But as they tried to venture forward, they would be caught out.

Former Robin Salmon once again found space in the box, and while her first effort was blocked, she was alert enough to slot the rebound home.

It wasn’t pretty at times, but there was certainly a palpable feeling of relief amongst Villa’s players and staff, as they secured their first win of the season.

Next week sees Bristol City make the trip up north to Merseyside to take on Everton, while Aston Villa will also be on the road, as they face West Ham.

Player of the Match: Ebony Salmon

Sometimes, you simply need your game changers to perform, and that’s exactly what Salmon did. Off the bench, she provided some much-needed energy into the Villa attack, which looked really tepid at times early on.

With one under her belt now, you can only imagine the confidence will start flowing for the summer signing.