The opening FA Women’s Continental League Cup group stage game saw Aston Villa level against Manchester United and then win the shoot-out.
Villa’s Rachel Daly hit the bar from the edge of the box but United took the lead after a quarter of an hour, Nikita Parris firing home from 20 yards.
Sophie Baggaley turned an Emily Gielnik angled shot round the post in first-half stoppage-time but Villa wasted the resulting corner.
Villa’s Laura Brown hit the post after the break and on 72 minutes Daly headed the equaliser from a Kenza Dali free kick.
Hannah Blundell saved United with a late clearance off the line, then at the death Anna Leat rushed out to deny Ella Toone.
Aston Villa gained a bonus point with a 4-3 shoot-out win, Maz Pacheco tucking away the decider after seven spot-kicks were saved.