Manchester City beat Aston Villa 2-0 on the opening day of the Barclays FAWSL season at Villa Park.
Player of the Match
Georgia Stanway – There were several good performances within the City ranks. Chloe Kelly again demonstrated her talents while Sam Mewis grew into the game. But Stanway’s non-stop energy and running saw her hassle her opponents and capitalise on defensive errors to score the visitors’ two goals.
That’s Georgia for you…You wind her up before the game and let her go like a wind-up toy – she just gives you so much.
GARETH TAYLOR, MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER
We’re going to pick the two big goalkeeping saves made by Sian Rogers and Ellie Roebuck in the second half.
Rogers has to be given a lot of credit for the way she came out and performed in the second half after a problematic first 20 minutes. She kept her team in the game on several occasions, making a huge one-handed stop to deny Janine Beckie one-on-one.
Minutes later, down the other end of the park, Roebuck equalled her counterpart’s display. With a rare error from Gemma Bonner, Emma Follis pounced. Breaking into the box, the Villa forward looked certain to score. However, the young England goalkeeper was alert to produce a strong stop to prevent the hosts getting back into the game.
Sian’s a professional. She’s a tremendous talent. One thing she does very well is she self-corrects herself. She’s exceptionally resilient. She came out in the second half with a tremendous performance and pulled off the saves that ultimately kept us in the game in the second half. It’ll be one that she reflects on but she’ll come back stronger for it.
GEMMA DAVIES, ASTON VILLA MANAGER
- Villa’s second half performance will give them a lot to be positive about. Many teams making their FAWSL debut and facing 2-0 down within the first 20 minutes, accompanied by a series of defensive errors, could have capitulated. But the hosts kept on plugging away and should have scored on more than one occasion. Follis and Diana Silva were strong down the flanks while Ramona Petzelberger showed her qualities on the ball in the middle of the park.
- Manchester City’s attack is without doubt one of the strongest in the league but, as in the Community Shield, they struggled to take their chances. It goes without saying that they will need to become more clinical to challenge for the title. Gareth Taylor will also be a little concerned with how easily Villa’s pacy players broke through his defence in the second half, especially the space afforded to the opposition in the wide positions.
- Sam Mewis took a little while to settle into English football but her second half performance gave a glimpse of exactly how valuable she can become to this side. She drove the play forward with her vision and pinpoint passing while also fashioning a few chances of her own. She couldn’t take them on this occasion but it was a positive sign of things to come.
- What is women’s football without questionable refereeing decisions? Well both assistant referees did not have the best of days with their overzealous use of the offside flag. Mewis’ and Petzelberger’s disallowed goals should both have stood in the first period while Kelly’s pace seemed to flummox them on numerous occasions. Possibly the worst decision of the bunch was when the offside flag went up against White after a Villa back-pass. It’s when these simple rules are not understood that the frustration quite rightly increases. It is just not good enough for the top league in the country.