With pressure ever-growing on Manchester City, Gareth Taylor was in desperate need of a strong performance against Aston Villa.
The Sky Blues entered into Saturday’s fixture sitting ninth in the league, while their opponents occupied the seventh spot.
Midweek had brought more heartache for Taylor’s side as they suffered defeat to closest rivals Manchester United in the Continental Cup.
Taieb; Stanway, Scott, Greenwood, Stokes (Mace ’80), Walsh, Angeldahl (Losada ’73), Weir (Coombs ’80), Park (Raso ’63), Hemp, White (c) (Shaw ’64).
Hampton; Mayling, Sargeant, N’Dow, Asante, Pacheco, Arthur (Boye-Hlorkah ’45), Ewers (c) (McLoughlin ’68) , Allen, Petzelberger, Lehmann (Gielnik ’68).Embed from Getty Images
How it went
Just as they did in midweek, Manchester City were clearly eager to get off to a quick start. Just two minutes in, Jess Park forced Hannah Hampton into an early save as the No.16 curled the ball towards goal.
Despite enjoying the majority of the possession throughout the first half, City struggled to break down Villa’s defence. In the 44th minute, Hampton was forced to make only her second real block of the game. As Ellen White broke through on goal from a free-kick, the Villa keeper was able to meet the ball to keep the game level.
The second half however rapidly brought a change of fortune for the hosts.
Just three minutes in, Caroline Weir caught the ball on her left foot and easily placed the it out of Hampton’s reach and into the back of the net. Three minutes later, Villa’s troubles were worsened as Georgia Stanway slotted home following a scramble in the penalty area. Hayley Raso then opened her league portfolio for the Sky Blues as she capitalised on a mistake by Hampton in the 77th minute.Embed from Getty Images
The Australian international then added to her afternoon as she assisted Lauren Hemp for City’s fourth just one minute later.
The No.13 doubled her league goal tally three minutes later as the ball fell to her following Villa’s failure to clear the danger.
The match finished with a resounding 5-0 victory for the hosts, who move up into sixth heading into the international break.Embed from Getty Images
Stand out player
Despite only coming onto the pitch in the 63rd minute, Hayley Raso made an undeniable impact.
The Australian international may not have been a consistent starter for the Sky Blues, but her contribution to the team is evident. The No.13 managed to bag her first two WSL goals for City and an assist against a tight Villa defence.
Speaking on Raso’s contribution after the game, manager Taylor was full of praise.
“I think with Hayley we’ve got an exciting player with bags of pace. It was great today that she’s come on and has been a threat picking out different players.”Embed from Getty Images
Post match thoughts
Carla Ward was clearly hurt by the heavy defeat her side had suffered. Describing the feeling as one of the worst since becoming a manager, the Villa boss reflected on what she described as a “disastrous second half.”
Ward also admitted that the tactical change made at 2-0 may not have been the correct decision for her side.
When asked about his goalkeeping situation, Taylor confirmed that Grace Pilling had sustained a “minor injury” that had ruled her out of the game. He also revealed in the event of Karima Taieb needing to leave the pitch, the club had selected Georgia Stanway as her replacement.