Last season’s double cup winners toiled in the opening 45 minutes, when the visitors had the upper hand, but that all changed after the break as City took control and were rewarded with Caroline Weir’s incredible match-winner.
WATCH | Every angle: Weir's winner
Thirty-one thousand people turned out at the Etihad Stadium and though Houghton admits the occasion may have affected her team early on, she said the aim at half-time was to give the record-breaking crowd something to shout about.
“We knew we weren’t at our best,” admitted the skipper.
“They won a lot of first and second balls and seemed to want it a little bit more.
"First games of the season are tough and I think maybe the occasion got to us a little bit, but at the same time we have a lot of experience in this squad.
“We didn’t want to let people down and especially ourselves, so for us it was all about making sure we got on the front foot and took the game to them and we did.”
With the Etihad hosting the first Manchester derby of the professional era this was a momentous day for women’s football in England.
Even for Houghton, the Lionesses captain with a bulging medal collection, it was a day that will live long in the memory and she says the sense of occasion was not lost on the players.
With a chance to showcase the women's game to a wider audience, City had to win, she felt and having done so, the 31-year-old hopes it can have a positive impact on attendances at the Academy Stadium.
“It was an unbelievable occasion”, she added.
“There was a lot of build-up beforehand, with the fact it was in the Etihad and with so many tickets being sold.
“We played here a few years ago and there were only two thousand people, so to get a record-breaking crowd and for us to make sure Manchester stays blue, it’s unbelievable.
“We want to thank the fans and hopefully when we’re playing at the Academy Stadium, they come to watch us then.”