A hat-trick from Rachel Daly saw Aston Villa come from behind to beat Reading in the Women’s Super League.
Lauren Wade gave Reading an early lead but Daly headed twice to put Villa ahead before the break.
Reading’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the second half as goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns was sent off for a foul on Kirsty Hanson.
Daly sealed her excellent performance after beating substitute keeper Grace Moloney from the penalty spot.
The result sees Aston Villa sit fifth in the WSL with 12 points. Reading is in second place with three.
Daly is firing on all cylinders for Villa
England international Daly, who joined Aston Villa this summer from the Houston Dash, has already scored eight goals for a club that scored just 13 goals last season.
The versatile player, who was used as a full-back by Sarina Wiegman for England, is now top of the WSL goalscoring charts alongside Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw.
Villa boss Carla Ward claimed earlier in the season that “she’s not a defender, she’s a centre-forward”, and Daly’s latest goals continue to add to her case.
Wade’s opener gave the visitors hope, but their aspirations for a second win of the season were crushed by Daly at half-time.
She met a well-guided cross from Rachel Corsie to score her first goal of the match, before converting Kenza Dali’s corner, although the ball deflected off Royals defender Natasha Dowie on the entrance.
Burns’ sacking saw Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Moloney appear in a Royals shirt for the first time since September.
She was beaten from the spot by Daly just minutes after coming on after Gemma Evans fouled the Villa striker inside the box.
And the Villa striker nearly scored minutes later when she had the ball in the back of the net again, but was ruled offside.
Aston Villa Women
- 19BlindReplaced byMcLoughlinat 79′minutes
- tenDaliReplaced bymuleat 90+3′minutes
- 8DalyReplaced byGoodwinat 90+3′minutes
- 20HansenReplaced byGregoryat 69′minutes
- 25burnsBooked at 65 minutes
- 17CaldwellReplaced byCooperat 62′minutes
- 37primerReplaced byMoloneyat 70′minutes
- 11WadeReplaced byBrysonat 62′minutes
- 33Tuson Meadows
- Adam Herczeg
Match ends, Aston Villa Women 3, Reading Women 1.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa Women 3, Reading Women 1.
Foul by Freya Gregory (Aston Villa Women).
Deanna Cooper (Reading Women) scores a free kick in the defensive half.
Replacement, Aston Villa Women. Georgia Mullett replaces Kenza Dali.
Replacement, Aston Villa Women. Isobel Goodwin replaces Rachel Daly.
Failed attempt. Rachel Daly (Aston Villa Women) header from the center of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Kenza Dali from a cross.
Anna Patten (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Natasha Dowie (Reading Women).
Foul by Rachel Daly (Aston Villa Women).
Rachel Rowe (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Anna Patten (Aston Villa Women) header from the center of the box is blocked in the middle of the goal. Assisted by Kenza Dali from a cross.
Alisha Lehmann (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Gemma Evans (Reading Women).
Attempt saved. Rachel Daly (Aston Villa Women) header from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Kenza Dali from a cross.
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Corner conceded by Deanna Cooper.
Attempt blocked. Sarah Mayling (Aston Villa Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Anna Patten (Aston Villa Women) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Kenza Dali from a cross.
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Corner conceded by Faye Bryson.
Failed attempt. Deanna Cooper (Reading Women) left footed shot from outside the box is close but misses to the right.