Aston Villa picked up their first Women’s Super League victory over rivals Birmingham City on manager Carla Ward’s first return to her former club.
Anita Asante nodded in a powerful header at the back post from a corner to make it 1-0 in the first half.
But Birmingham grew into the game in the second half as substitute Sarah Ewens came close.
It was Villa’s third victory of the season at St Andrew’s, while Birmingham remain winless.
In the build-up to the derby, the focus naturally turned to ex-Blues boss Ward, who resigned last season after one campaign at Birmingham – and her side returned to haunt them.
Villa dominated possession and pinned the Blues into their own half in the opening 45 minutes but they were limited to few clear-cut chances.
They looked a threat on set-pieces though, and it was no surprise when Asante eventually capitalised on one in the 24th minute.
But Villa’s lack of ruthlessness up front and Birmingham’s stability through the centre of defence meant the visitors were unable to extend their slim lead.
Birmingham began to show glimpses of a threat on the break – largely through Jade Pennock and Lucy Quinn – but were ultimately isolated when they did get forward.
A few long-range efforts from Quinn and a smart save from Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton to deny Ewens were the closest Birmingham came to troubling Villa.
It means Scott Booth’s side, who face a trip to defending champions Chelsea next, remain 11th in the table with just one point on the board.
B’ham City Women
- 3ScottSubstituted forWhelanat 87′minutes
- 8RobertsonBooked at 90mins
- 14FinnSubstituted forEwensat 61′minutes
- 7SarriBooked at 75mins
Aston Villa Women
- 33PachecoBooked at 90mins
- 8ArthurBooked at 22minsSubstituted forGregoryat 56′minutes
- 21EwersSubstituted forLittlejohnat 76′minutes
- 11Boye-HlorkahSubstituted forN’Dowat 87′minutes
- 7LehmannBooked at 55minsSubstituted forHaylesat 75′minutes
Match ends, Birmingham City Women 0, Aston Villa Women 1.
Second Half ends, Birmingham City Women 0, Aston Villa Women 1.
Mayumi Pacheco (Aston Villa Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Mayumi Pacheco (Aston Villa Women).
Veatriki Sarri (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lisa Robertson (Birmingham City Women) is shown the yellow card.
Remi Allen (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Lisa Robertson (Birmingham City Women).
Foul by Remi Allen (Aston Villa Women).
Christie Murray (Birmingham City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Elisha N’Dow replaces Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah.
Substitution, Birmingham City Women. Emily Whelan replaces Harriet Scott.
Offside, Aston Villa Women. Ramona Petzelberger tries a through ball, but Freya Gregory is caught offside.
Corner, Aston Villa Women. Conceded by Louise Quinn.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Ruesha Littlejohn replaces Marisa Ewers.
Substitution, Aston Villa Women. Shania Hayles replaces Alisha Lehmann.
Veatriki Sarri (Birmingham City Women) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Freya Gregory (Aston Villa Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Veatriki Sarri (Birmingham City Women).
Corner, Birmingham City Women. Conceded by Hannah Hampton.