Manchester United Women 5 Aston Villa 0
Manchester United Women had an afternoon to remember at Old Trafford, defeating Aston Villa 5-0 in front of 30,196 supporters - the team's record home crowd.
Marc Skinner's side took the lead just after the 10-minute mark through captain Katie Zelem, who reacted quickly to hit home a loose ball.
Our second came just before the half-hour point, with Leah Galton finishing off a wonderful team move that involved excellent combination play from Ella Toone and Alessia Russo. The Reds kicked off the second 45 with yet another great team goal with Ona Batlle playing in Toone, whose ball across the box was hammered into Hannah Hampton's goal from Russo.
A dazzling display from Batlle was topped off with a thunderous strike that struck the crossbar and flew in. And the Spaniard was on course to give United their fifth and final goal of the game, setting up second-half substitute Rachel Williams for a tap in.
A five-star afternoon!Gallery
See the best images from December's joyous Old Trafford, where United Women beat Villa 5-0 in front of over 30,000 fans.
Our first chance came inside the first 10 minutes, after Russo and Toone linked up well down the left wing before the former swung a great ball into the box. Galton was the first to react, but her initial touch ran away from her and Hampton gathered comfortably.
Three minutes later, much to the delight of our record crowd, we took the lead through none other than captain Zelem - a fitting moment for the lifelong United fan. Some fantastic link-up play from Toone and Batlle down the right-hand side saw the latter whip a great ball into the box. There was an initial scramble at the goalmouth, but our no.10 reacted quickly to fire home the loose ball and give us the lead.
But moments after it looked like Ward's side were getting back into it, United struck again with a sublime team goal. It began from Batlle's throw-in to Russo, who held the ball up before flicking it around her into the path of the oncoming Toone. Our no.7 played a brilliant pass behind the opposition defence, finding Galton who made no mistake in firing past Hampton.
Just before the end of the first half, Villa looked to have halved the deficit through Lehmann. Freya Gregory's volley forced a phenomenal save from Earps, but Villa's no.7 reacted first to tap in the rebound. The goal was flagged offside, though, for the initial ball over the top.
United's players came out of the traps in the second half just as they started the first: hungry for goals.
The warning signs were there after Toone and Batlle combined once again, but the former's ball across the box was deflected out of the path of Russo. But the two came together once again to give us our third goal of the game. Batlle played an excellent ball in behind for Toone, who fizzed it across the box where Russo was waiting unmarked to hammer home.
Now three behind, Ward's side began to see more dominance after the hour mark with a handful of efforts on United's goal. Rachel Daly had a strike from range which was comfortable gathered by our keeper - but it was quickly followed up by a venomous strike from Lehmann that forced Earps into a big save. The Villans created a handful of opportunities, though none truly threatened United's goal.
With 10 minutes to go, Galton looked to have added her second of the game but the referee had blown her whistle for an earlier foul - pulling play back for a free-kick that Zelem couldn't capitalise from.
The fifth and final goal would come in stoppage time, where second half substitute Williams was there to tap in after excellent work from Batlle down the wing.
United: Earps, Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Ladd (c), Zelem; Parris (Thomas 62), Toone (Williams 85), Galton (Boe Risa 85); Russo (Garcia 77).
Unused subs: Baggaley (GK), Thorisdottir, Leon, Tounkara, Staniforth.
Goals: Zelem 13; Galton 27; Russo 51; Batlle 75; Williams 90.
Aston Villa: Hampton; Mayling, Patten, Turner, Pacheco; Corsie (c), Dali, Blindklide (McLoughlin 85); Gregory (Gielnik 58), Daly, Lehmann.
Unused subs: Leat (GK), Goodwin.
Yellows: Patten 83.