Rovers Ladies crashed out of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup following a 4-0 defeat away to Sheffield FC.
Rovers conceded two goals in each half and had goalkeeper Jo Hutcheson sent off on a disappointing day for Gemma Donnelly’s side.
Sheffield started the second round tie brightly and opened the scoring inside five minutes. Emma Johnson played the ball over the top to Jodie Michalska, who fired into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.
A fantastic goal-line clearance from Sophie Flynn prevented the hosts from doubling their advantage, but Sheffield scored their second shortly before the break when Carla Ward steered home her 100th goal for the club.
Rovers improved after the interval, but conceded a third goal just past the hour mark when Michalska floated the ball over Hutcheson’s head and Suzanne Davies nudged it over the line.
The visitors were left with a mountain to climb when Hutcheson was shown a straight red card for bringing down Michalska just outside the box, with Katie Anderton taking over the goalkeeping duties for the final 25 minutes.
Anderton made a couple of fine saves, but was powerless to prevent Sheffield from adding a fourth on 76 minutes when Michalska lobbed the stand-in stopper from 30 yards.
Rovers rallied late on, with Jess Holbrook hitting the bar, but Sheffield were good value for their place in the quarter-finals.
Manager Gemma Donnelly said: “Sheffield were very sharp, clinical and well organised, and it took us time to settle and get to grips with the poor pitch, so conceding so early on put us on the back foot from the start.
“I was disappointed with the display given that we opted for experience over youth in our selection, yet there were elements of naivety in individual performances. Sheffield were better across all areas of the pitch, but I was pleased with the way we competed right until the end.
“It’s a good gauge of where we’re at and it’s clear that we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re a new team and we can’t expect miracles over night, so I’m not as disappointed with the result as I was at Coventry when we crumbled, but the players need to understand that they can’t expect just to turn up and win. A lot of hard work goes into getting results, especially against the top teams.”
ROVERS: Hutcheson, Shaw (Bourne 78), Shepherd, Twohig, Westerman (Chandarana 78), Sheen, Holbrook, Jones, Fleming, Flynn, Anderton.
Subs not used: Taylor.