Jordan Nobbs’ hat-trick inspired Aston Villa to a stunning 6-2 win at Brighton that takes them up to fifth in the WSL ahead of the international break.

Carla Ward’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at home by the same opponents just eight days ago, but emphatically demonstrated their superiority at Broadfield Stadium.

It was Brighton who held the early advantage thanks to Julia Zigiotti Olme’s goal after just three minutes, with the midfielder making the most of some slack marking to nod in a header from a right-wing corner.

But Villa responded by pouring towards the hosts’ goal and quickly turned the game around when Lucy Staniforth headed in a corner (15) and Kirsty Hanson turned in Kenza Dali’s cross at the far post (17).

Jordan Nobbs had played a key role in setting up Villa’s second and she was the one who fired in their third, with Hanson given far too much time to tee up the England midfielder, who lashed the ball past Lydia Williams at the first time of asking (23).

Brighton looked shocked at the speed in which they had lost control of the game and the contest was out of their reach by half-time after Hanson was granted the freedom of the penalty area to square the ball to Rachel Daly for a tap-in (36), before Nobbs claimed her second after latching onto Hanson’s through ball and scuffing a volley past Williams (43).

Jens Scheuer’s side gave themselves hope shortly after half-time when they capitalised on some complacent Villa defending to win a penalty through Anna Patten’s pull on Geum-Min Lee, although the offence looked to have taken place outside the box.

Danielle Carter’s spot-kick squirmed through the gloves of Hannah Hampton (49), who may feel she should have kept the ball out of her net, but Brighton were unable to build on their second goal.

Instead, Nobbs re-established Villa’s four-goal lead with the best strike of the day, taking Dali’s pass around 30 yards from goal before lashing her third into the top corner (69).

While Villa can now set their sights on Arsenal in fourth, 10th-placed Brighton will be looking nervously over their shoulders, with Leicester – who are bottom – just two points behind them.

Kirk’s Leicester collect second win to ease drop fears

Hannah Cain’s eighth-minute goal earned Leicester just their second win of the season

Leicester boosted their hopes of staying in the WSL as they battled to a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Prenton Park.

Following a positive start, Willie Kirk’s side deservedly took the lead with eight minutes on the clock, as a corner routine straight off the training pitch was executed to perfection.

Hannah Cain pulled away from the pack to the edge of the area to latch onto Courtney Nevin’s low delivery and fired in a fierce shot. It was only Leicester’s sixth goal of the season and only the third time they had taken the lead in 2022/23.

It could well have been two less than 10 minutes later, when CJ Bott received a square ball 25 yards from goal and took aim with an effort that Liverpool goalkeeper Rachel Laws tipped onto the bar.

The Reds lacked quality in the final third in the first half, but that changed after the break and they should have been level shortly after the hour mark, when Natasha Dowie hit the bar and several other players tried their luck before the ball was scrambled to safety.

Gemma Bonner then dangled a leg at a corner and flicked a shot narrowly over the bar, while in stoppage time, Missy Bo Kearns’ shot was hooked off the line, but there was to be no way through.

Leicester held on for just their third WSL win in 12 months and moved to within a point of 11th-placed Reading, with a game in hand, while Liverpool stay eighth on 11 points.

Man Utd return top of WSL after fiery Spurs win as Toone sees red

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Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Tottenham and Manchester United

Manchester United returned to the top of the Women’s Super League after edging Spurs 2-1 in a fiery encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite midfielder Ella Toone seeing red.

Leah Galton, scoring her fifth goal of the season, had given the visitors a deserved lead (67) but Marc Skinner’s side were pegged back by a wonderful solo strike from Bethany England (75).

Leah Galton netted her fifth of an impressive WSL campaign
Leah Galton netted her fifth of an impressive WSL campaign

The celebrations were ultimately short-lived, though, after Molly Bartrip turned substitute Lucia Garcia’s cross into her own net just 14 seconds after Spurs drew level (76).

Tempers flared thereafter, as Toone clashed with Eveliina Summanen before losing her cool and raising her hand to the Norwegian international, leaving the referee no choice but to serve Toone her marching orders (80).

Skinner’s side managed to limp over the finish line, nonetheless, and have re-entered the title race as a result – they now hold a one-point advantage over Chelsea having played a game more.

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