Manchester United were 3-1 winners at Reading to go clear in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League third place.
Alessia Russo hit the Royals’ crossbar after only 17 seconds, the opener coming less than four minutes later as Leah Galton headed in Hannah Blundell’s cross.
However, it was Blundell who gave the ball away on 15 minutes, as Rachel Rowe played Deanne Rose to equalise.
The Red Devils restored the lead on the break midway through the half, Russo sending Galton away to round Grace Moloney and slot home.
Ona Battle was denied a goal when her strike came down off the bar but Russo rifled into the corner.
Gemma Evans should have quickly got one back for the hosts but hit the frame if the goal.
Mary Earps made a double save from Rose in the second half and also got a crucial boot on Justine Vanhaevermaet’s goal-bound header.