LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United secured promotion to the women's Super League with three games to spare and in their maiden season on Wednesday after beating Aston Villa 5-0.
United, who were granted a licence to play in the second tier last year, lead the standings on 46 points to Tottenham Ladies on 39 and are sure to finish at least second in the Championship.
A Millie Turner header, an Alex Greenwood penalty and goals from Jessica Sigsworth put United 3-0 up at halftime and Ella Toone and Charlie Devlin rounded off the scoring at Leigh Sports Village.
Villa goalkeeper Sian Rogers was sent off for a second bookable offence with the score at 4-0.
Casey Stoney's side were favourites to go up as the only fully professional team in the Championship but promotion is subject to meeting WSL licence criteria and will be confirmed next month.
They have 15 wins in 17 league games and can take the title on Saturday if they win at 10th-placed Crystal Palace.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)