Bristol City 0-2 Aston Villa: Substitute Salmon seals Villa’s first win of WSL season

Ashton Gate would host the Barclays Women’s Super League’s bottom two teams on Sunday afternoon, as Carla Ward’s Aston Villa looked to move level on points with Bristol City – who recorded their sole win of the season last time out against West Ham.

BCI: Marckese; Powell, Layzell, Connolly, Aspin, Morgan; Jones, Rodgers, Furness, Harrison; Thestrup

AVL: van Domselaar; Pacheco, Patten, Turner, Mayling; Blindkilde, Corsie, Dali; Hanson, Daly, Leon

The first period of action at Ashton Gate wasn’t short of chances for either side, but a combination of subpar finishing and sublime goalkeeping from Daphne van Domselaar and Kaylan Marckese ensured the encounter remained goalless at the break.

Rachel Furness had perhaps the best chance of the half with just under thirty minutes played, but her outrageous volleyed strike was dealt with well by van Domselaar. Adriana Leon was a bright spark at the other end for the visitors, but saw yellow for an ill-natured challenge on Naomi Layzell.

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Marckese’s involvement would come to an end before the interval though, with the Arsenal loanee forced to be replaced by Olivia Clark in stoppage time. Initially injured as she leapt to deny Rachel Daly’s headed effort, the starting shotstopper re-aggrevated the issue a few minutes later and was unable to continue.

A bright start to the second half saw Carla Ward’s Aston Villa dominate proceedings, but with both Rachel Daly and Kenza Dali seeing their strikes denied, it looked set to be a long and frustrating afternoon for the visitors.

But their fortunes – and perhaps Carla Ward’s – would change in the 77th minute, with Ebony Salmon arriving on the scene to dispatch a low effort past Clark, as her strike snuck between the near post and the goalkeeper. The Villa substitute wouldn’t receive the plaudits for the goal though, with it instead credited as a Megan Connolly own goal after a minor deflection.

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With little under five minutes remaining on the clock, the visitors doubled their lead – with Salmon playing a key role once more. There was no doubting that she was the scorer this time, as she latched onto her own rebounded cross to squeeze a volleyed strike past Clark at the near post.

With the two sides now level on points, it’s Aston Villa that move out of the relegation zone as a result of their superior goal difference. Villa will look to build upon the momentum as they travel to West Ham United’s Chigwell Construction Stadium next weekend, while Lauren Smith’s side are heading to Everton’s Walton Hall Park.