Manchester City scored six first-half goals as they thrashed Aston Villa to equal their biggest WSL winning margin.
The hosts were without several players and boss Gareth Taylor – who is isolating – but Lauren Hemp slid in Chloe Kelly’s cross to put them ahead.
Jill Scott and Hemp headed goals either side of Georgia Stanway’s calm finish, a Natalie Haigh own goal and Ellen White tap-in making it 6-0.
Villa improved in the second half but Kelly showed grit to add a seventh.
In their first game in more than a month, the seven-goal margin equalled City’s record Women’s Super League victory – their 8-1 demolition of Bristol City in November – and moves them to within a point of third place before the completion of Sunday’s games.
For Villa it was their heaviest defeat of their debut season in the top flight, all the more disappointing as Gemma Davies’ side had only lost 2-0 to the same opponents in the opening match of the campaign.
Assistant manager Alan Mahon led the home side in the absence of Taylor, while regular keeper Ellie Roebuck and influential midfielder Caroline Weir were among those missing – with American trio Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Abby Dahlkemper all on international duty.
Second-bottom Villa may have spotted an opportunity to pick up an unexpected result at the Academy Stadium but they conceded a regular flow of goals in the first 45 minutes as Hemp, Kelly and Lucy Bronze – who set up two goals before coming off at the break – showed a ruthless streak.
The visitors had a big chance to make it 1-1 but Nadine Hanssen dragged her shot just wide after England captain Steph Houghton had sloppily misplaced a pass, but otherwise it was attack versus defence.
Davies brought on World Cup-winning forward Mana Iwabuchi at the interval for her WSL debut as Villa moved to a more rigid five at the back, while City gave academy players Millie Davies and Alicia Window their professional debuts off the bench either side of Kelly’s richly-deserved goal, coming after she had hit the woodwork in each half.
Man City Women
- 20BronzeSubstituted forParkat 45′minutes
- 18WhiteSubstituted forWindowat 82′minutes
- 15HempSubstituted forDaviesat 75′minutes
Aston Villa Women
- 3AleSubstituted forMcLoughlinat 65′minutes
- 10PetzelbergerSubstituted forWestat 72′minutes
- 8ArthurSubstituted forN’Dowat 45′minutes
- 22HaylesSubstituted forHaywoodat 56′minutes
- 23HanssenSubstituted forIwabuchiat 45′minutes
- 19Abreu Sousa Silva
Match ends, Manchester City Women 7, Aston Villa Women 0.
Second Half ends, Manchester City Women 7, Aston Villa Women 0.
Attempt missed. Sophie Haywood (Aston Villa Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mana Iwabuchi.
Attempt missed. Stephanie Houghton (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.
Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Stine Larsen (Aston Villa Women).
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Alicia Window replaces Ellen White.
Attempt blocked. Laura Coombs (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Janine Beckie.
Attempt missed. Jill Scott (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Chloe Kelly.
Goal! Manchester City Women 7, Aston Villa Women 0. Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.
Foul by Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women).
Stine Larsen (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Manchester City Women. Esme Morgan tries a through ball, but Chloe Kelly is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Millie Davies replaces Lauren Hemp.
Offside, Manchester City Women. Lauren Hemp tries a through ball, but Chloe Kelly is caught offside.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Amy West replaces Ramona Petzelberger because of an injury.
Esme Morgan (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Olivia McLoughlin (Aston Villa Women).
Attempt missed. Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lauren Hemp.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Olivia McLoughlin replaces Asmita Ale.