Manchester United won promotion to the Women’s Super League as they beat Aston Villa 5-0 to secure at least a top-two spot in the Championship.
United now need just one more victory to lift the second-tier title, one year after reforming a senior women’s side.
Millie Turner, Alex Greenwood, Jess Sigsworth, Ella Toone and Charlie Devlin all netted.
United’s promotion will be subject to them meeting the Football Association’s criteria for a place in the top tier.
But it is understood that no issues are expected regarding their WSL licence application.
Confirmation of their 2019-20 top-tier spot is therefore expected to be confirmed in the middle of May.
Turner’s header, a well-taken penalty from England left-back Greenwood and then Sigsworth’s cool finish had Casey Stoney’s side 3-0 up at half-time against Villa, at a lively Leigh Sports Village.
Toone then made it four, before the visitors’ goalkeeper Sian Rogers was sent off for a second bookable offence and, with no substitute keeper, defender Jade Richards deputised between the sticks.
Devlin’s fine fifth completed the rout, although the hosts could not quite repeat the astonishing 12-0 win they enjoyed against Villa in the opening match of the season.
As the only fully-professional outfit in a predominantly part-time division, United were favourites for promotion this term, but still had to overcome the challenge of rebuilding a senior team from scratch.
They have so far won 15 of their 17 league matches and will clinch the title if they beat 10th-placed Crystal Palace at home on Saturday.
Stoney’s side are seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, who have three games to play.
Having scored 81 goals in their 17 games and conceded only seven times, United – League Cup semi-finalists – will be confident of adding significant quality to the WSL next season.