Sheffield United Women came fast out of the traps as they found the Leicester goal 3 times in the first 20 minutes on their way to a 3-1 victory over The Foxes at Olympic Legacy Park.
Both sides had little to play for in this Continental Cup Group One North fixture, but Carla Ward's troops headed into the game looking to make amends for defeats against Man City & Aston Villa.
The Blades showed real quality in the opening encounters of the game. Their constant pressing forced Jonathan Morgan's side into sloppy mistakes which resulted in United's opening goal.
After Jade Pennock regained possession in midfield, she calmly slipped though Sophie Jones into behind the defence. A natural goalscorer is a necessity for most sides and Sophie Jones showed her goalscoring prowess by sliding the ball past the on-rushing keeper to give the Blades an early lead.
United now had the bit between their teeth and almost straight from the restart found themselves two goals to the good. Blades' winger Chloe Dixon, picked up the ball on the left wing, cut inside, and unleased an arrowed shot into the top right-hand corner that left Leicester keeper, Charlotte Clarke, with no chance.
The pressing from United's front four of Jade Pennock, Chloe Dixon, Bex Rayner and Sophie Jones was relentless and Carla Ward's side nearly had a third on the 14th minute mark when Ellie Gilliatt was released down the left wing and found Sophie Barker on the edge of the box whose pass was just two far in front of Pennock at the back post
It only took United a few moments after this to have the ball in the back of the Leicester net once again. A Jade Pennock corner was met by a forceful Dan Cox header, a slight deflection directed the ball towards the right-hand corner and the Blades were now 3-0 up.
As the game headed towards the 30-minute mark, Leicester began to come to terms with United's high work rate. A Leicester corner almost nestled in the bottom left corner, but Blades' keeper Alex Brookes was equal to it.
A few moments later Leicester had their opening goal as Ella Franklin-Fraiture found the back of the net from quite some distance.
Carla Ward's side went at half-time much happier than their opponents and when they emerged for the second half solid defensive performances from Danielle Cox and Sam Tierney in the first ensured the Blades' were confident heading into the second 45.
Clear cut chances in the second half were few and far between. However, the quality of United's returning Bex Rayner should be noted. Her link up play in both halves fed Sophie Jones & Jade Pennock with multiple chances. The Lionesses U21 international showed what the Blades had been missing in their last two previous games and Carla Ward will be glad to have her back from injury heading into the new year.
Jade Pennock's performance should also be duly noted, her bombarding runs and terrier like closing down skills were a constant feature of tonight's game at OLP.
United were assured at the back with Sam Tierney marshalling her troops towards a Continental Cup victory. Her second half performance meant Alex Brookes had little or nothing to do in the Blades' net.
Carla Ward made two changes towards the end of the second half, with Izzy Ford and Tania Marsden coming on for Hollie Barker and the injured Sophie Jones. The United women comfortably saw out the last 15 minutes and cruised to a 3-1 victory in their final game of 2018.
Blades: Brooks, S.Barker, Tierney, Pennock, Cox, Gilliat, Jones (Marsden 68), Rayner, Dixon, H.Barker (Ford 68), Hartley.
Unused: Joyce, Kemp.