United's women's team got their new era off to the perfect start as a late Tania Marsden goal sealed an impressive 2-1 away at Aston Villa in the Continental Cup.
Marsden had been on as a substitute less than ten minutes when she was played through by Bex Rayner, the striker doing the rest with a calm finish.
United started the game as they meant to go on, creating several clear chances during the first half and should have been further ahead at the break.
Samantha Tierney saw a dipping half-volley drop just wide early on before Jade Pennock missed two big chances to put the Blades ahead. Once when she poked wide from Alethea Paul's cross and minutes later diverting Lauren Cresswell's cross past the post.
But United did take a deserved lead before half-time when Danielle Cox got her head to Cresswell's corner to open United's account for the season.
Sadly, the lead didn't last long once the action restarted. Nicole Kemp had to replace the injured Sophie Barker at the break and ten minutes later new Villa signing Nadine Hanssen swept home a corner of Villa's own after Hayley Crackle delivered a pin-point cross.
United didn't take the setback lying down though and almost scored what would have been a third corner of the game when Rayner headed against the crossbar from another Cresswell ball in.
Fatigue began to overcome both teams towards the end but it was the fresh legs of substitute Marsden that stole it for the Blades. Rayner won the ball back in midfield, found Marsden in space and the striker did the rest with a calm finish.
She could have had another in stoppage time but was denied by a last-ditch tackle from a Villa defender. Fortunately for Carla Ward's side, it was the last act of the match as United took their first three points of the Continental Cup campaign.
Blades: Davies, S. Barker (Kemp 46), Ryan, Cox, Gilliatt, Tierney, Paul (Merrick 55), Rayner, Dixon (Marsden 77), Pennock, Cresswell.
Unused: H. Barker, Stevens, Fletcher