Supersub Hayley Raso struck her first goals for Manchester City to lift the mood at the English Womens Super League club.
Raso also had an an assist as City beat Aston Villa 5-0, their biggest win of a difficult season.
The 27-year-old Queenslander joined City in the northern summer from Everton and would have expected to be challenging for honours on all fronts.
However, last season’s Women’s FA Cup winners and league runners-up have endured a poor start to the season amid a horrific injury crisis, especially at the back.
City had won one of their past six league games and been dumped out of the Champions League and FA Cup, putting manager Gareth Taylor, a former wales international, under pressure.
At half-time, with the game goalless despite City having more than 8-0 per cent possession, another inquest beckoned.
But City then cut loose. Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir curled City into a 48th-minute lead and – less than three minutes later – Georgia Stanway hooked home the second.
Raso then came off the bench to immediate effect. She ended Villa’s hopes of a fightback, finding the net via a deflection after Hampton scurried out of goal in an attempt to prevent a corner, but instead played the ball to the Australian international.
Lauren Hemp then met a Raso cut-back at the back post to make it 4-0, before Raso converted another loose ball from a corner.
“We’ve had our struggles and we’re still not out of the woods,” said Taylor, whose side climb to sixth with the win.