Melissa Johnson of Aston Villa Ladies celebrates the match ball. Aston Villa Ladies v Sheffield United Women, Women's Championship football match, Trevor Brown Memorial Ground, Birmingham, UK - 18 Aug 2019 Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

REWIND: Debut delight as Johnson nets hat-trick in Villa’s victory over Blades

Aston Villa displayed their FA Women’s Championship promotion credentials as they opened the 2019/2020 campaign with a determined 3-2 victory over Sheffield United at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground in Boldmere.

FA Women’s Super League Full-Time look back on what has turned out to be one of the games of the season so far as Gemma Davies’ Villa side came back from two goals down to record victory while new signing Melissa Johnson immediately proved her worth to her new club with a hat-trick.

It could have all gone to plan from the off for Villa but some superb last-ditch defending from Sheffield United defender Leandra Little denied Sophie Haywood the opportunity to open the scoring.

The visitors took heart from that moment and they soon took the lead when Sian Rogers’ poor clearance allowed Katie Wilkinson to set up Olivia Fergusson to score.

Former Villa forward Wilkinson would go on to enjoy a fine season with Sheffield United and she won her latest side a penalty kick which she stepped up to successfully convert to put The Blades 2-0 up after just 22 minutes.

It had not been the start that the hosts will have wanted but they regained a glimmer of hope just before the break when Johnson poked the ball home on her debut to reduce arrears to just one goal.

Villa were back on level terms nine minutes into the second half with Johnson again on the scoresheet. She opened up her body and curled a stunning effort into the net from distance to bring the scoreline back to 2-2.

The striker had her eyes on the match ball and she was inches away from a treble when her effort agonisingly struck the post.

Johnson’s disappointment didn’t last long. Another chance came her way and she produced a clinical finish in the area to complete her hat-trick and seal a 3-2 victory for her new club on opening day as Villa got their promotion push off the ground.

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