Marc Skinner’s United missed a golden opportunity to top their Conti Cup group as Leicester won on penalties at Leigh Sports Village.
Former Reds Jess Sigsworth and Abbie McManus were in the starting 11 for the Foxes with the latter captaining the side.
United showed promise as they played good attacking football but they struggled to hold their line.
In the sixth minute the ball was kicked out as fans and players held a minute’s applause in memory of Arthur Libinjo-Hughes.
Batlle had a good chance in the opening twenty minutes, she found space on the edge of the box and took the shot but it flew over the bar.
The best chance of the half however came for Lucy Staniforth, a lovely ball played across the box found its way to her, she was given plenty of space by the Leicester defence and she connected with it first time but it went wide.
United would come to rue their missed chances as against the run of play it was Leicester who made the breakthrough. Howard rose highest from a corner and headed it into the back of the net.
There was little urgency amongst the United players but it looked like they would go in at the half a goal down.
Another promising chance came from Leah Galton who took a right footed shot on the edge of the box but couldn’t find the goal as it flew just over the crossbar.
The second half got under way and United started off well. Just three minutes after the restart Russo found the back of the net as Galton picked her out with a beautiful pass across the box.
The referee’s decision-makinb was questionable as the first three yellow cards she fished out were for players taking a shot after the flag had gone up. There were numerous fouls that went unpunished.
Leicester had the odd chance, United’s defence seemed to just disappear and Flint was through on goal but took a heavy touch and Baggaley came out to claim it.
It was Leicester who took the lead again, Baggaley hesitated in claiming the ball and it was slotted through her legs.
Less than a minute later captain Katie Zelem powered in an equaliser for the Reds. It would be a nervy ten minutes as it looked like it was heading to penalties.
The full time whistle blew.
It was Jess Sigsworth who stepped up first for the Foxes, she converted. Toone took United’s first and slotted home.
Flint also found the back of the net for Leicester. Mannion made it 2-2 for United!
Former Red, McManus put the Foxes in front but low and down the middle, Russo scored.
Leicester missed their fourth whilst Zelem’s was saved well by the Leicester keeper.
Leicester scored their next but Boe Risa’s was well saved. Leicester took the bonus point and United missed their chance to top the group.
Team: Baggaley, Turner (Ladd), Mannion, Blundell, Batlle, Toone, Zelem, Galton (Fuso 88), Staniforth (Hanson 78), Russo, Boe Risa