Manchester United bounced back from a 6-1 thrashing against Chelsea last time out to enjoy a comfortable WSL victory over Birmingham on Sunday night.
Marc Skinner’s team were in control throughout the contest at St Andrew’s and took a deserved lead midway through the first half when Leah Galton turned in a low cross from marauding full-back Hannah Blundell, who had a barnstorming evening.
Galton, who scored in the WSL for the first time since January, was starting to look like her former self after a difficult few months. Ella Toone was also shining for United, while Jackie Groenen and Katie Zelem were running the show in midfield.
Birmingham are yet to register a point so far this season and struggled to compete, but it could have been much more one-sided had it not been for the heroics of Louise Quinn at the back.
Toone narrowly missed out on doubling the lead when she hit the post deep into the second half. She didn’t have to wait much longer to celebrate, though, and the killer second goal came shortly afterwards when Blundell again burst forward and fed Toone for an easy finish.
United sit fourth as a result of the win, on the same number of points as Chelsea, while Birmingham are 11th, only out of the relegation zone on goals scored.
Birmingham player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Emily Ramsey (GK) - 6/10 - Facing her parent club but could do nothing about the goals.
Jamie Finn (RB) - 5/10 - Struggled to keep a vibrant Galton under wraps.
Louise Quinn (CB) - 8/10 - Huge performance at the back. Kept Birmingham in the game with key blocks and headers.
Gemma Lawley (CB) - 6/10 - The youngster stood firm next to Quinn as best she could.
Rebecca Holloway (LB) - 5/10 - Lost the runner on her flank when the second goal was scored.
Jade Pennock (CM) - 6/10 - Became more involved after the break. Had a chance to equalise but her shot was tame.
Lisa Robertson (CM) - 5/10 - Struggled to compete in midfield and only lasted 45 minutes.
Lucy Whipp (CM) - 6/10 - Carved out a brilliant but rare chance in the final stages of the first half.
Harriet Scott (RW) - 5/10 - Moved into a deeper role in the second half.
Lucy Quinn (ST) - 6/10 - Couldn't convert a glorious chance in front of goal.
Veatriki Sarri (LW) - 4/10 - Didn't get into the game in the first half and the Blues opted for a different option after the break.
Emily Whelan (LW) - 5/10
Eleanor Ryan-Doyle - 5/10
Libby Smith (ST) - N/A
Abi Cowie (CM) - N/A
Man Utd player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Mary Earps (GK) - 6/10 - Had to be more alert in the second half as Birmingham got a little more adventurous.
Ona Batlle (RB) - 6/10 - A more subdued performance than usual.
Maria Thorisdottir (CB) - 7/10 - Her incisive through ball cut Birmingham open and served as a 'pre-assist' for the Galton goal.
Aoife Mannion (CB) - 6/10 - Will be pleased with a clean sheet against her former club. Never in real danger at the back.
Hannah Blundell (LB) - 8/10 - Two assists with impressive bursts forward. Should have also scored herself in between the two.
Katie Zelem (CM) - 7/10 - Dictated things as the deep-lying playmaker and carved the opening for the second goal.
Jackie Groenen (CM) 7/10 - Performed well and went close to scoring.
Lucy Staniforth (AM) - 6/10 - Played with swagger and picked passes throughout the first half. Withdrawn to save her from a second yellow card.
Ella Toone (RW) - 8/10 - Full of quality in various passages of play. Moved to a more central role after half-time. Hit the post but did get a goal.
Alessia Russo (ST) - 6/10 - Made a positive impact but wayward finishing cost her a goal. Good progress in her first start for a year.
Leah Galton (LW) - 8/10 - Scored a welcome first WSL goal since January in the first half and looked to be getting back to her best in the second.
Kirsty Hanson (RW) - 7/10
Vilde Boe Risa (CM) - 6/10
Carrie Jones (FW) - N/A