Manchester United’s investment in their Ladies side, and Villa’s summer of turnover where both on show today as Villa were roughed up by a dominant Manchester side who barely gave them time to think and move. Villa were returning to Boldmere for their first home match of a new FA Championship season, and were greeted by a large crowd of just over 1,000, who were vocal until the end.
In goal, Sian Rogers was easily beaten after just ten minutes by the teenage Lauren James and again nearly ten minutes later when James doubled up with a cracking solo effort. Jess Sigsworth found United’s third goal within the opening 25 minutes.
A rash challenge in the box worsened Villa’s first-half, as Katie Zelem dispatched the resulting penalty to give United four goals in the first forty-five. There were some valid grumbles emanating from the Villa team about the penalty, but challenges within the confines of the penalty area are always going to carry that risk. Sigsworth mirrored James by quickly bagging a 5th goal and double her tally for the day. Jess then went one further than James by grabbing a first-half hat-trick and giving United their sixth of the day.
Villa’s nightmare looked like it would be fading, especially after Rogers found her feet with some smart saves early on in the second-half, but Jess Sigsworth was just as capable of raising her game, stabbing home her fourth of the afternoon to continue the rout. United found their eighth of the game when they rounded the keeper to bury the ball into an empty net. Hanson, who scored the eighth, then continued the Manchester United habit of doubling up, by adding 9. Sigsworth made it ten shortly after. Sian Rogers prevented the 11th after Elisha N’Dow was robbed of the ball by a forward United press.
Jodie Hutton came close to opening the score up for Villa, but her lashed effort was tipped over the bar. United responded by finding their 11th goal of the match through Green. Hanson came back with another after for 12. Rogers in goal for Villa prevented a thirteenth with another low save - and full credit must be given to her for not switching off.
In all honesty, it’d be incredibly drastic to judge Villa based on this result. They could barely spend any time on the football at all. It’s clear that Manchester United’s investment in their Ladies team (enough to buy them into the league in the first place, it should be added) has produced a team that is far too good for this division. Villa, on the other hand, will have to find their feet - and their identity after a summer of turnover - if they want to make something of this season.