Chelsea held in Barclays FAWSL opener as Stanway shines for City

·4 min read

Defending champions Chelsea couldn’t get their Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign off to a winning start after being held by Manchester United in their season curtain-raiser.

Leah Galton's equaliser gave Manchester United a hard-earned point against the title holders on a pulsating opening weekend of the new campaign.

The Blues led for the majority of the contest as Sam Kerr put her Community Shield frustrations behind her with her second goal for the club, but United responded strongly in the second half to claim a share of the spoils.

“I think we started the game strongly, got 1-0 in front, then I thought we got a bit complacent,” said Chelsea manager Emma Hayes. “It's probably been the poorest performance from our team in the pre-season.

“Real credit to Casey and her team – they made it difficult, they stayed in the game and by staying in the game they're going to get a chance.”

Here she is... @PernilleMHarder is on for her #BarclaysFAWSL debut! 💫#MUNCHE

— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) September 6, 2020

Elsewhere, Georgia Stanway's first-half brace earned Manchester City an opening day win as defensive errors cost Aston Villa in Gemma Davies' 50th game in charge.

It was one-way traffic in the early exchanges at Villa Park, and minutes after an opening goal for the visitors was ruled out for offside, the first goal of the new season was scored.

From Aston Villa's perspective it was one that could have been avoided, as a short backpass allowed Stanway to steal the ball from Sian Rogers and slot into the empty net.

The visitors doubled their advantage midway through the first half and it once again came from Stanway's pressing from the front. This time Rogers' clearance was charged down by the City forward, who watched as the ball inadvertently flew past the despairing Villa goalkeeper.

Arsenal were also victorious after Jill Roord’s hat-trick helped them to a convincing 6-1 win over Reading.

Roord – who joined the Gunners a year ago – was joined on the scoresheet by Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema (2), while former Gunner Danielle Carter pulled one back for Reading late on.

Stop that @VivianneMiedema! 😵@ArsenalWFC 🆚 @ReadingFCWomen

📺 Highlights & Full Match on the FA Player now! 👇

— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) September 7, 2020

Two goals in two minutes from Megan Connolly and Inessa Kaagman secured victory for Brighton over Birmingham while Lucy Graham scored two to help Everton beat her former Bristol City side 4-0.

While Adriana Leon’s sensational solo goal earned West Ham a point in their opening contest of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season with Tottenham at The Hive.

Liverpool’s opening FA Women’s Championship outing didn’t go all their own way with a resilient Durham holding them to a 1-1 draw at Prenton Park.

Beth Hepple’s sublime finish in the final stages of a close encounter saw Durham snatch a point after Rachel Furness had opened up for the hosts, relegated last season.

“It’s very frustrating, we knew what Durham were going to be about today,” said Furness “We knew they would bring the physicality and we knew we needed to manage the game a bit better.

...and it's all over in the #FAWC!

Any surprises here? 🤔

— The FA Women's Championship (@FAWomensChamp) September 6, 2020

“We were one-nil up with five minutes to go and today it just wasn’t good enough throughout and we will learn from that and bounce back quickly next week.”

Elsewhere, Neil Redfearn got his tenure as Sheffield United head coach off to the perfect start with a convincing 4-1 win at London City Lionesses, with Jade Pennock and Katie Wilkinson both at the double.

Coventry United overcame London Bees 3-1 while Blackburn went down 3-0 at Leicester.

Goals were also plentiful in south London where Charlton and Crystal Palace were locked at 2-2.

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