Mollie Green's early strike clinched an important 1-0 win for Manchester United Women over Durham in the Continental Tyres League Cup Group 2 North.
United will go into next week's game away to Everton — now managed by Casey Stoney's former assistant, Willie Kirk — knowing that victory will clinch progress to the next round.
The Reds made the perfect start with just over 30 seconds on the clock. Green, fresh from being named FA Women's Championship Player of the Month for November, latched onto a pass from Jess Sigsworth and coolly fired home her 10th goal of the season.
Lauren James then twice went close to extending the lead, first crashing a curling effort against the inside of a post from the edge of the box before later seeing her powerful drive tipped onto the bar by Durham goalkeeper Megan Borthwick.
James had another attempt from distance which was palmed away by Borthwick before Sigsworth saw a header saved as United took a narrow but deserved one-goal advantage into the break.
The start of the second half was sadly disrupted by a serious-looking injury to Durham's Zoe Ness, who was taken off on a stretcher and replaced by Rachel Lee.
Chances were harder to come by after the interval as the visitors — to date, the only side to take a point from United in the league — began to show their solidity in a closely-fought contest.
United Women: Chamberlain; Harris, A. Turner, M. Turner, Greenwood (c); Zelem, Green, James (Devlin 88); Hanson, Galton (Arnot 83), Sigsworth (Toone 70).
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Hartley, Roberts, Palmer.
Goals: Green (1).
Next up for the Reds is another meeting with Durham, this time away in the league on Sunday 9 December, with kick-off at 12:00 GMT. The aforementioned cup trip to Everton follows on Thursday 13 December (19:00 GMT) before a three-week Christmas break.
United's next home game will be in the New Year, when London Bees are the visitors to Leigh Sports Village on Sunday 6 January 2019 (kick-off 12:00 GMT). Match tickets are on sale at www.manutd.com/womenstickets and priced at £5 (£2.50 for U16s/65+).
Women win at Lewes Gallery
Check out these pics from a successful away day for Casey Stoney's United team.