Manchester United Women began the WSL Championship campaign in devastating fashion, by hitting Aston Villa Ladies for twelve in front of a packed crowd at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground.
Jess Sigsworth scored five goals, with braces for Lauren James and Kirsty Hanson, while Katie Zelem, Mollie Green and Ella Toone added to the score-line as the Reds ran riot in the West Midlands.
United took the lead inside ten minutes when sixteen-year-old James’ effort from inside the box was deflected past the helpless Villa goalkeeper Sian Rogers.
The Villans had a chance to equalise soon after. Aoife Hurley had a crack at goal from outside the area, however the ball didn’t have the pace to trouble United shot-stopper, Siobhan Chamberlain.
The Reds’ quality soon shone through and they scored three goals in the space of five minutes, midway through the first half. James added a second to her tally as she unleashed a clean effort from outside the area, which was quickly followed by Sigsworth’s first goal in United colours.
The referee awarded a penalty to United three minutes later after Martha Harris was brought down inside the area. Zelem made no mistake from the spot and United looked to be home and dry.
Sigsworth completed her hat-trick before half-time. The forward weaved her way through the Villa defence and rocketed a shot into the top-left corner to score her second, before coolly slotting home from close range after a good work from Hanson.
WELL PLAYED, LADIES!GALLERY
See the best images from United Women’s incredible 12-0 win at Aston Villa.
United scored a seventh goal of the game soon after the break when half-time substitute Mollie Green delivered a brilliantly-weighted ball across the area for Sigsworth to tap into the net.
The Reds – wearing the new adidas pink kit – weren’t finished there! Hanson, who had been causing Villa problems throughout the game down the right, got in on the act with a second-half brace: the midfielder rounded the goalkeeper to score the Reds’ eighth and then caught Rogers out at the near post to add a ninth.
Chamberlain had very little to do in the United goal but she had to be on hand to deal with Jodie Hutton’s left-footed shot, which was lashed at the Reds’ goalkeeper. That was as good as Villa could muster in the second half.
With just over an hour played, Sigsworth scored her fifth and the Reds’ 10th goal as the striker compounded the hosts’ misery with a confident finish.
Green hammered home a half-volleyed shot five minutes later to make it 11-0, as the midfielder was given plenty of time to take a touch and place the ball into the net. Ella Toone, another substitute, scored the twelfth after Hanson’s shot was initially saved onto the post by Rogers.
The Villa goalkeeper was on hand to prevent United further adding to their advantage before full-time. Green was through on goal and looked certain to score her second of the game, but Rogers made herself big and parried the effort away.
Stoney’s side saw out the final ten minutes and will hope to carry this confidence into the next game, which will be at home against Sheffield United.
United Women: Chamberlain; Harris, A. Turner (c), M. Turner, Smith; Galton, Devlin (Green 45), James (Palmer 64), Hanson; Zelem (Toone 54), Sigsworth
Subs not used: Bentley, Palmer, Hartley, Roberts, Arnot.
Goal times: James (10, 23,), Sigsworth (25, 33, 35, 49, 62), Zelem (28), Hanson (55, 59), Green (66), Toone 68)
NEXT HOME MATCH
United Women’s next home match is against Sheffield United on Thursday 20 September at 19:00 BST. Tickets are on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets and priced at £5 (£2.50 for U16s/65+).