Manchester United and Aston Villa played out a 1-1 draw in the Continental Cup group stage early on Saturday afternoon, with Villa eventually taking the bonus point on offer in the penalty shootout thanks to four saves from goalkeeper Anna Leat.

Villa named a strong side at the Bescot Stadium following their impressive start to the WSL season, although an element of rotation from Carla Ward still saw Leat replace England international Hannah Hampton, as well as chances go to Emily Gielnik, Olivia McGloughlin and Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah.

United boss Marc Skinner made as many as nine changes for this one, with only Ona Batlle, who was named captain for the day, and Maya Le Tissier surviving the same XI that had started successive WSL wins over Reading and West Ham last month.

On her first start in United colours, Nikita Parris gave the visitors an early lead when she drilled an effort into the top corner from just outside the penalty area.

United held that lead at half-time and even brought on usual starters Katie Zelem, Hannah Blundell, Hayley Ladd and Lucia Garcia while still leading.

But Rachel Daly continued her outstanding start to the season with yet another goal. The England international now has four to her name in just three appearances since her permanent return home thanks to the close-range equaliser.

Although not a knockout competition just, draws at this stage of the Conti Cup are still settled on penalties to determine which side gets an extra point.

Both goalkeepers covered themselves in glory in this one. United’s Sophie Baggaley, in for Mary Earps, saved three from Villa. But it was Leat, who stopped Ella Toone from winning it, who denied Batlle in the seventh round of kicks and allowed Maz Pacheco to take it for Villa.

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