Rachel Daly scored twice on her debut as Aston Villa made a stunning start to the new Women’s Super League season with a 4-3 win over Manchester City.
Daly, employed as a full-back during the Lionesses’ European Championship-winning campaign, was in clinical form up front as she inspired Villa to claim their first top-flight points against the visitors.
City looked to have weathered the storm as they battled from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 early in the second half, only for Villa to rally with Daly repelling the winner with 14 minutes remaining.
Gareth Taylor’s side struggled in their first game since Keira Walsh’s world-record departure to Barcelona, and Daly played his part in a 22nd-minute opener when they dispossessed Laia Aleixandri and let Alisha Lehmann drive and flush shoot Ellie Chevreuil.
Khadija Shaw fended off a good chance for City before Villa doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark when Daly fired a brilliant shot into the corner after the visitors failed to clear a corner.
City have been hit with a string of exits with Walsh and Lucy Bronze (both to Barcelona), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich) and Caroline Weir (Real Madrid) high profile departures to Europe, while Ellen White, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley have all retired. .
But they grabbed a lifeline at the stroke of half-time when Villa keeper Hannah Hampton let a Laura Coombs shot slip past her.
And they appeared to be making Villa pay after grabbing two goals within 90 seconds early in the second half, Shaw leading the leveler before Coombs netted his second with a clean finish from Chloe Kelly’s right wing cross.
But three minutes later Villa were back level when Kenza Dali capitalized on a sloppy ball from Steph Houghton and passed Roebuck with the help of a strong deflection from Alex Greenwood.
Roebuck was at fault for the winner when she knocked down a cross from Kirsty Hanson and let Daly in to claim the simplest of winners.