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It was a busy first weekend of action as the FA Women’s Super League got back under way, with last year’s top-two facing off, a big win for former champions, and also an outstanding result in the FA Women’s Championship.
Arsenal, Reading, Birmingham and Bristol City all made perfect starts, whilst last year’s Super League winners Chelsea were held to a goalless draw with Manchester City.
And in the Championship, Manchester United certainly lived up to the hype as they made an outstanding bow in the league, putting 12 past opponents Aston Villa.
Deadlock at Kingsmeadow
The outstanding fixture on matchday one, Chelsea vs Manchester City had fans licking their lips when the fixtures were announced.
But the defensive quality on show ensured that the two sides cancelled each other out as they played out a goalless draw in front of 2,501 fans.
City’s Nikita Parris came closest to breaking the stalemate from a corner but Jess Carter provided a crucial block, and both sides emerged with a point.
Gunners on fire
Vivianne Miedema was involved in all five of Arsenal’s goals as they recorded a dominant 5-0 win over Liverpool.
The Dutch international grabbed a hat-trick and set up Lisa Evans and Kim Little as the Gunners made an early statement to the rest of the league.
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They raced into a four-goal lead at half-time, but for Miedema to complete her treble late on, curling an indirect free-kick into the top corner.
Reading make Royal start
A comfortable 4-0 win over Yeovil Town ensured that Reading picked up where they left off after last-year’s excellent fourth-place finish.
The home side controlled the match throughout, making the perfect start thanks to early goals from Gemma Davison and Fara Williams.
Lauren Bruton added a third from the spot in the second period before Remi Allen added extra gloss to the scoreline.
Graham downs Albion
Lucy Graham’s second-half strike helped Bristol City consign Brighton to a battling defeat in their first Super League match after promotion last season.
Hope Powell’s side showed impressive resilience and came close to keeping their South West opponents out but for Graham to hand Tanya Oxtoby victory in her first game in charge of City.
And it was a worthy winner from the Scottish international as she spied Laura Hartley off her line and sailed a perfect lob over the Brighton keeper to snatch the spoils in the 71st minute.
Wellings wastes no time
It took just 42 seconds for Birmingham to score what proved to be the winning goal in their match-up with Everton.
A blistering start for the home side saw Ellen White feed Charlie Wellings, who finished past Kirstie Levell.
And whilst they continued to dominate proceedings, the Blues could not find another, and were almost made to rue their profligacy when Claudia Walker found space to shoot in the Birmingham box – but Paige Williams was on hand to make a last-ditch block.
United deliver on debut
In the Championship, Manchester United hit Aston Villa for 12 without reply in their first league game for 13-years, with Jess Sigsworth making a huge statement of intent in the face for the golden boot as she grabbed five.
Leicester City won 2-0 at Crystal Palace in a battle of league debutants whilst Lewes also won their maiden fixture in the division – a 3-0 victory over Millwall Lionesses.
Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat London Bees 2-1 and Durham downed Sheffield United 2-0.