WSL: Reading v Aston Villa
Three goals and two assists from Rachel Daly saw Villa dominate a 5-0 win over Reading
Aston Villa WFC
9 May 2023
A superb performance from Rachel Daly helped Aston Villa to a 5-0 win over Reading in the Women’s Super League on Sunday. The Villans and England forward scored a hat-trick and assisted the other two goals, which were scored by Alisha Lehmann and Kirsty Hanson. The defeat leaves Reading two points from safety at the bottom of the WSL table with two matches left to play.
Kelly Chambers made one change from Reading’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend with Jade Moore coming in for Tia Primmer. Lehmann and Hanson came in for Ruesha Littlejohn and Jordan Nobbs as Carla Ward made two changes for Villa from their late defeat to Manchester United.
On a nice Spring afternoon at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, the hosts had the first chance of the match in the 9th minute but Rachel Rowe’s shot from 25-yards went over.
Villa took the lead in 14th minute when a Hanson cross from the left found the unmarked Daly who finished from around 8-yards.
The Royals had a chance to equalise two minutes later but Sanne Troelsgaard saw her shot from an angle hit the post and bounce away.
It was the away side though who were having more of the first half chances with Lucy Staniforth seeing a shot from distance saved. On the half hour mark, Hanson headed a free kick just wide. A minute later, Staniforth sent a long-range shot over.
Aston Villa made it 2-0 in the 41st minute when Daly’s cross from the left found Lehmann in so much space and she put the ball into the net from 10-yards.
Daly put effort over after a free kick before the visitors made it 3-0 in the 44th minute. Daly won the ball off Easther Mayi Kith whilst Reading were trying to play out from the back then crossed to the unmarked Hanson who finished into an empty net from close-range.
Reading had an opportunity to get a goal back in the 53rd minute but Moore blasted the ball over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Villa made it 4-0. Kenza Dali provided the cross from the right this time and Daly got in front of her marker to finish from 10-yards.
Daly completed her hat-trick in the 63rd minute when she got onto a lovely through ball from Mayumi Pacheco and finished low into the corner of the net. By scoring this goal, Daly becomes the first English player to score 20 goals in a WSL season, and the third player in the leagues history to be directly involved in five or more goals in a single game.
Rowe saw a long-range effort easily caught as the home side looked to score a consolation goal.
During the second half, Remi Allen, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Simone Magill came on for the Villans, all making their first appearances after ACL injuries.
Pacheco and Daly both had chances during second half stoppage time to increase Villa’s lead but neither found the net.
When speaking to the media after the match, Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said she was “delighted” with the performance and win. She praised Daly, saying she has “been sensational for us” and that she is running out of plaudits for her. “She is constantly wanting more, constantly wanting to give more to the team” continued Ward about Daly. She also remarked that it is a “credit to all three” of the players coming back after ACL injuries and “we are so happy for them”.
Reading manager Kelly Chambers was in the dressing room for at least half-an-hour after the match with the players and didn’t speak to the media on the day.
The Royals next match is a big one away against fellow strugglers Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 20th May. It is taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and will be the first WSL/Premier League double-header. Aston Villa’s next game is at home to Liverpool on Sunday 21st May with this one being played at Villa Park.
Reading (4-4-1-1): Moloney, Eikeland, Caldwell (Hendrix 67’), Mayi Kith (Woodham 45’), Mukandi (c), Harries, Vanhaevermaet (Perry 67’), Moore (Primmer 56’), Wellings (Wade 56’), Rowe, Troelsgaard
Unused substitutes: Poulter, Bryson, Evans, Alexander,
Booked – Vanhaevermaet, Rowe
Aston Villa (4-1-2-3): Hampton, Mayling, Patten, Turner (c), Pacheco, Staniforth (Littlejohn 58’), Dali, Blindkilde (Allen 58’), Lehmann (Boyle-Hlorkah 58’), Daly, Hanson (Magill 75’)
Unused substitutes: Leat
Goals – Daly 14’, 55’, 63’ Lehmann 41’ Hanson 44’
Referee – Abigail Byrne