For all their trading of world-class attackers this summer, Alessia Russo leaving for Arsenal before the World Cup’s top scorer Hinata Miyazawa and the Champions League winner Geyse arrived, Manchester United were indebted to the veteran substitute Rachel Williams for securing a winning start to the WSL campaign.

Aston Villa had taken the lead through Rachel Daly, the WSL golden boot winner last season, just two minutes after going down to 10 players – Kirsty Hanson sent off against her old club – in a dramatic finale to a thrilling game in front of a Villa women’s record 12,533 crowd.

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