Mancunian Unity stretched their 100 per cent record in the North West Regional Women’s League Division One North (tier 6) with a 2-0 win at fourth placed Preston North End, to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Following a bright start from Unity, the pressure was made to count on nine minutes when American midfielder Megan Cardenas struck a sweet left-foot 20-yard. The initial shot was well parried by Preston goalkeeper Justine Elliott, diving to her left. But onrushing winger Olivia Shaw was first to the rebound to convert from inside the six-yard box.

Unity continued to pile the pressure on, with Cardenas firing just wide after soon after, before Siddle was denied by another fine save shortly after the half hour mark, and Unity went into the break deservedly leading 1-0.

Unity doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half when Cardenas picked up the ball in the middle of the park and fed top scorer Harter to finish well to the right of the keeper when through one-on-one, for her 17th goal of the season.

Unity remained in control of the second half with some smart passages of play before PNE applied late pressure to the league leaders, having a goal ruled out for offside 10 minutes from time.

Goalkeeper Beth Harvey then saved brilliantly in a one-on-one from striker Alicia Scott to preserve another Unity clean sheet and a 14th league win in as many games.

Wins elsewhere for Accrington and Penrith ensured Unity remained eight points clear at the top, with a game in hand.

Currently, 56 points are required for Unity to mathematically gain a third promotion in as many seasons, meaning 14 points are required from the remaining eight league games.

Attentions now turn to two cup fixtures with Alliance Design & Print First Round tie away to Blackburn Community (second in tier 5) on Sunday, before hosting Bury FC (seventh in tier 5) at The Vestacare Stadium on February 18 in the Manchester FA Women’s County Cup Semi Final.