A valiant defensive display against top tier opposition wasn't enough for Sheffield United's women to hold out against a strong Birmingham City side in the Continental Cup.
Some superb defending under constant pressure saw Carla Ward's side keep the FA WSL side at arm's length for a large majority of the match before a stunning goal from England international Lucy Staniforth broke the deadlock.
Shania Hayles added a second with six minutes to go to give Marc Skinner's side a comfortable margin for the rest of the game but United's resilience ensured it was a tough match for the visitors.
Whilst United struggled to create chances against a solid defence, Birmingham did hit the woodwork a remarkable five times on a day where United did ride their luck on occasion.
The first was of United's own doing when Lisa Ryan turned a cross onto the bar before Chloe Arthur hooked an effort over debutant Nicola Hobbs and onto the same crossbar.
Arthur had another go soon after, this time from 30 yards but was once again denied as the ball rebounded back off the bar and into play.
Bex Rayner had a half chance with a free-kick that was spilled by Hannah Hampton but Birmingham continued their dominance into the second half.
Captain Kerys Harrop headed against the post from a corner before substitute Staniforth opened the scoring in style.
After Jade Pennock and Sophie Barker collided in midfield, Staniforth picked the ball up inside the centre circle and looped a brilliant effort into the net over Hobbs.
Birmingham didn't stop there, Charlie Wellings rattled the post before Connie Scofield put the rebound wide before Hayles sealed the three points.
A flick on allowed Hayles to take the ball down, swivel and fire a volley into the corner of the net to seal a deserved win for the visitors on a day where United did themselves plenty of justice ahead of their next league game against Manchester United on Thursday night.
Blades: Hobbs, Fletcher, Cox, Ryan, Kemp (Paul 70), Barker (Merrick 75), Pennock, Tierney (Cresswell 60), Rayner, Marsden, Gilliatt.
Unused: Draycott, Dixon.