Aston Villa Women fell to a second consecutive defeat on Sunday afternoon in a 3–0 loss to Manchester United.
Goals from Kirsty Hanson, Jessica Sigsworth and Katie Zelem were enough for United to walk away with a crucial three points.
A scrappy start to proceedings led to an early scare with Amy Turner on the turf holding her knee, but the defender was okay to continue.
Casey Stoney’s side piled on the pressure early and nearly took the lead on the seven minute mark whenElla Toone had an effort saved by Lisa Weiss.
Villa caused the United backline some problems themselves, but the hosts were able to carve out another opportunity on 10 minutes as they found space on the left and eventual goalscorer Hanson sent her shot straight into the hands of Weiss.
With 30 minutes gone, the Red Devils reaped the rewards of their pressure as a misplaced pass from Chloe Arthur was picked up by Hanson and drilled towards goal.
Her shot from just outside the box deflected in off the crossbar, giving United a much needed lead.
❤️ @KirstyHanson3 from outside the box! #BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/2z8C6zVMDh— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) March 7, 2021
There was some concern for Villa on the brink of half time as Jodie Hutton went down and needed to receive treatment following a collision with Lucy Staniforth, but the defender swiftly returned to the field.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors though as United netted their second before the half time whistle as Sigsworth sent a pinpoint header beyond Weiss.
Following a dominant first half display, Stoney’s side took a deserved 2–0 lead into the break, leaving Villa with it all to do in the second half if they were to get anything from the game.
Marcus Bignot made a double change at the break in hope his side could turn things around. Natalie Haigh and Shania Hayles both made way for Nadine Hanssen and Emma Follis.
It was to little effect though, as United continued to dominate and cause Villa problems. Hanssen was forced to make a block to deny Martha Harris and United their third.
The visitors then made their third change that saw Elisha N’Dow make way for Caroline Siems.
Just minutes later Zelem scored a third for United after connecting with a Hayley Ladd cross, giving Villa no way back on another disappointing afternoon for Bignot’s side.
Start the move, finish the move! @katiezel #BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/vT88XiiA8l— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) March 7, 2021
United were firmly in control as they ran down the clock, securing an important three points in their bid to secure European football next season and keep the pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of the table.
Meanwhile, Villa prepare to face Brighton in 10 days time in what could be a pivotal game in their fight to maintain top-flight status.
United face a difficult challenge away as they travel to face Arsenal on Friday March 19, in a third vs fourth battle.