Match: Aston Villa Women v Sheffield United Women
Date: Sunday 18th August 2019
Venue: Boldmere St Michaels FC
Johnson (42, 55, 70)
Fergusson (10), Wilkinson (22)
Rogers, Franklin, Ale, N’Dow, Haigh (Greengrass), West, Ewers, Follis, Johnson, Welsh (Syme), Haywood (Hanssen)
Story in brief
Melissa Johnson scored a hat-trick on her debut as Aston Villa Women fought back from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 on the opening day of the FA Women’s Championship.
The home side, backed by a vocal support, fell two behind after 22 minutes as former Villans Olivia Fergusson and Katie Wilkinson netted.
Sophie Haywood spurned two gilt-edged chances before Johnson pulled one back with a close-range finish just before half-time.
And the striker, who netted five times in pre-season, showed how much of an asset she’ll be to Villa this season by sending a stunning long-range shot past the keeper to level the score.
With 20 minutes left, Villa completed the turnaround and secured a memorable triumph as Johnson netted her third.
A test of character
Two-nil down at home with just 22 minutes played, Aston Villa could easily have crumbled.
But this team are not short of self-belief, and they had to use every ounce of their quality to record a magnificent comeback.
The squad has nine new players, but they showed their togetherness and resolve to dig themselves out of a massive hole.
Melissa Johnson showed Villa fans her quality with five goals in pre-season.
But her friendly exploits were only a taster for what was to come when the real thing kicked off against Sheffield.
The striker showed her finishing ability with two close-range efforts, while her second goal was a stunning effort from outside the box.
Emma Follis was a marquee signing for Villa in the summer, joining from local rivals Birmingham City.
The midfielder showed flashes of her quality as she joined six others in making their debut for the club.
There were encouraging performances from the new recruits all over the pitch and that is cause for great optimism for Villa fans.
Gemma Davies’ side are on the road next Sunday to take on London City Lionesses.
And their next home match is a massive one. The team will take on Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park, and tickets will be on sale shortly.