By Christian Radnedge
LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester United thrashed Aston Villa 12-0 in their first league match for more than 10 years as the top two tiers of women’s football in England got fully underway on Sunday.
United, in the second tier Championship, are playing their first league campaign since their previous team was disbanded in 2005.
Striker Jess Sigsworth scored five for Casey Stoney’s fully professional side. Lauren James and Kirsty Hanson bagged braces, while Katie Zelem, Mollie Green and Ella Toone also scored.
Super League champions Chelsea were held to a goalless draw at home by Manchester City who finished runners-up last year in the top tier.
Arsenal are the early pacesetters after putting five past Liverpool without reply with Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema scoring a hat-trick. The Gunners are followed by Reading who beat Yeovil Town 4-0.
Birmingham City forward Charlie Wellings scored after just 42 seconds and it proved enough to see off Everton 1-0. Former England manager Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion were undone by a second-half strike from Lucy Graham as Bristol City beat the Seagulls 1-0.
In the Championship, Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat London Bees 2-1, while Leicester City ran out 2-0 winners at Crystal Palace. Lewes enjoyed a 3-0 win at Millwall Lionesses and Durham beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Saturday.
This season is the first in a newly-rebranded format for England’s top two divisions, where all 11 teams in the Super League are fully professional.
(Editing by Toby Davis)