Remi Allen marked her Aston Villa debut by scoring the winner against her former club Leicester City in an absorbing Women’s Super League game.
Natasha Flint had put newly promoted Leicester City in front after a mistake by goalkeeper Hannah Hampton.
Villa turned it around with two goals in as many minutes after half-time.
Sarah Mayling equalised with a spectacular free-kick before skipper Allen hit the winner from close range to earn Carla Ward’s side three points.
Leicester went in front on 39 minutes, and were good value for their lead.
Hampton had already made a spectacular save to keep out Flint, but she was left holding her head in her hands after allowing the Leicester player’s attempt to spin off her gloves and into the net.
Villa were much more potent after the interval, and levelled through Mayling’s wonderful set-piece.
The home fans were still celebrating when Allen made it 2-1, but they had a scare when substitute Lachante Paul was denied an equaliser by Hampton in stoppage time.
While Villa now prepare for a game at West Ham on 11 September, Leicester will look to learn lessons from their first game in England’s top tier.
On this evidence, the Foxes have much to offer this season.
Aston Villa Women
- 3SargeantSubstituted forN’Dowat 50′minutes
- 6AsanteBooked at 59mins
- 7LehmannSubstituted forLittlejohnat 90+7′minutes
- 12HuttonBooked at 36minsSubstituted forHaylesat 45′minutes
Leicester City Women
- 3TierneyBooked at 68mins
- 5McManusBooked at 82mins
- 6BroughamBooked at 84mins
- 17Bailey-GayleSubstituted forHowardat 61′minutes
- 18BarkerSubstituted forDevlinat 45′minutes
- 21CainSubstituted forPaulat 79′minutes
- 14de Graaf
- Helen Conley
Match ends, Aston Villa Women 2, Leicester City Women 1.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa Women 2, Leicester City Women 1.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Ruesha Littlejohn replaces Alisha Lehmann.
Corner, Leicester City Women. Conceded by Hannah Hampton.
Attempt saved. Lachante Paul (Leicester City Women) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Georgia Brougham.
Lachante Paul (Leicester City Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Olivia McLoughlin (Aston Villa Women).
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Conceded by Sam Tierney.
Georgia Brougham (Leicester City Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alisha Lehmann (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Georgia Brougham (Leicester City Women).
Abbie McManus (Leicester City Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Abbie McManus (Leicester City Women).
Shania Hayles (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Charlie Devlin (Leicester City Women).
Olivia McLoughlin (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Leicester City Women. Lachante Paul replaces Hannah Cain.
Offside, Aston Villa Women. Sarah Mayling tries a through ball, but Shania Hayles is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Natasha Flint (Leicester City Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jessica Sigsworth.
Offside, Leicester City Women. Sam Tierney tries a through ball, but Sophie Howard is caught offside.