1st October 2023 – (Villa Park) In an exhilarating start to the Women’s Super League (WSL) season, Manchester United showcased their resilience and determination by overturning a deficit to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday. Substitute Rachel Williams emerged as the hero, scoring the winning goal in the dying moments of the match.
With the game entering the second minute of added time, Nikita Parris delivered a precise cross into the penalty area, finding the head of Rachel Williams. Williams expertly redirected the ball into the back of the net, eluding Villa goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar and sealing the dramatic win for Manchester United.
Reflecting on the match, Lucia Garcia, who contributed to United’s comeback with a goal, expressed her satisfaction, stating, “It was a top match, we fought to the very end. We are very happy to score the two goals and come back from behind. It was hard work, but we just kept going.”
Last season’s runners-up in the WSL, Manchester United found themselves trailing in the 76th minute when Rachel Daly, last season’s top scorer, controlled a pass from Adriana Leon and unleashed a powerful strike past United’s goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Aston Villa’s lead, however, was short-lived as just two minutes after Kirsty Hanson received a red card for a high tackle on Hayley Ladd, Manchester United quickly capitalized on the numerical advantage. In a goalmouth scramble from a United corner kick, the ball fortuitously fell to Lucia Garcia, who took a decisive first-time shot that found the back of the net. With the extra player and renewed momentum, Manchester United knew they had the opportunity to secure a late winner.
Respecting the tragic loss of Sheffield United player Maddy Cusack, who passed away on September 20, both teams wore black armbands as a gesture of remembrance. Prior to kick-off, a poignant one-minute silence was observed in her memory, highlighting the unity and compassion within the women’s football community.