WSL Matchday 6 round-up: Ward thanks Villa fans for patience after first win
Carla Ward hailed Aston Villa's loyal supporters for helping her avoid the sack following Sunday's 2-0 win at Bristol City.
Villa were the division's surprise package when finishing fifth last term but started the 2023-24 campaign with five straight defeats, leaving them rock bottom of the Women's Super League ahead of the trip to Ashton Gate.
Yet Megan Connolly's own goal and an Ebony Salmon strike sealed a crucial success for the visitors against their fellow strugglers.
A relieved Ward, 39, said at full-time: "If you said to me, 'If you lose the first five games, do you think the fans are going to have your back?', I probably would have said 'no'.
"I'd have thought they probably would have come hunting for me and hunting for blood but no, they've stuck with us, which has been unbelievable.
"That's a credit to them. So thank you to them. They're sensational."
Villa will fancy their chances of moving up the table in the coming weeks, with four of their next five matches against fellow bottom-half sides.
Mary Earps believes a settled backline is beginning to reap rewards for Manchester United after they thrashed West Ham 5-0.
Earps, 30, kept her second clean sheet of the season for the Red Devils, who had Geyse, Millie Turner, Nikita Parris, Lucia Garcia and Melvine Malard all on target.
However, the England No1 was still called into action a couple of times despite the convincing scoreline which saw United move up to third in the table.
"I feel like hopefully things are starting to click really nicely for us at the back.
"The game is all about momentum and if we concede early, it changes the game, so we need to keep dominating games and putting our chances away when they come."
Next up for Marc Skinner's side is a mouth-watering derby with Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Sophie Ingle was "honoured" to become the WSL's joint-record appearance holder in Chelsea's convincing 3-0 win at Everton.
Wales international Ingle, 32, was introduced by Emma Hayes just after the hour mark for what was her 183rd outing in the English top flight — matching Kerys Harrop's long-standing tally.
Reflecting on the achievement, Ingle said: "It's a nice record to get to. I've been in this league for many years now and I suppose it shows my age as well!
"But it's an honour for me to reach this, especially at a club like Chelsea."
And on the prospect of gaining the record outright against Liverpool next weekend, she joked: "I'll have to speak to Emma and see if she can get me on the pitch."
Goals from Jessie Fleming, Sam Kerr and Aggie Beever-Jones were enough to ensure the Blues remain three points clear of Arsenal at the summit.
The win was Chelsea's first outing since record-breaking boss Hayes announced she will depart the Blues at the end of the season.
WSL Matchday 6 results in full
Bristol City 0-2 Aston Villa
Everton 0-3 Chelsea
Leicester 2-6 Arsenal
Manchester City 0-1 Brighton
Manchester United 5-0 West Ham
Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool