A below-par performance proved costly, as Rovers Ladies succumbed to a 2-1 defeat away to Derby County.
Gemma Donnelly’s side were given an early let-off when Alex Taylor’s mistimed tackle saw the home side awarded a fourth-minute penalty, but the subsequent spot-kick hit the post.
Rovers took full advantage by opening the scoring just before the quarter-hour mark. Megan Taylor played a ball through to Georgia Stanway, whose powerful strike from an acute angle beat the Derby keeper.
However, the Rams responded almost immediately, with Emily Jeffery grabbing the equalising goal.
Rovers dominated possession and looked a threat going forward, but failed to test the keeper from the chances they created – Jess Holbrook the guilty party on a couple of occasions.
And they were made to pay just seven minutes into the second half when a long ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the Rovers defence and Melissa Johnson scored what proved to be the winner.
Donnelly said: “It was a poor game in terms of technical quality and we struggled to get to grips with Derby’s physicality and direct style of play, on a bobbly pitch.
“We spoke with the team after the game and everyone acknowledged that the performance was way below average and what is expected of a team of this calibre. Hopefully we can rectify that ahead of the next game.
“We’ve got two games left and need just a point to secure third place, which would exceed expectations, so there’s still plenty to play for, not least personal pride and wanting to finish the season on a high.”
ROVERS: Hutcheson, Shaw, A. Taylor, Westerman, Jones, M. Taylor, Fleming, Holbrook, Sheen (Bourne 74), Boyle (Bradshaw 46), Stanway.