Jodie Michalska scored a first-half hat-trick as Rovers Ladies slipped to a 3-1 defeat away to Women’s Premier League champions Sheffield.
There was little to choose between the two teams in the early exchanges, as chances came and went at either end.
Rovers came close to breaking the deadlock on 18 minutes when Georgia Stanway delivered a brilliant ball in from the right, but Kaz Boyle volleyed just wide at the back post.
And it proved a costly miss, as Sheffield went straight down the other end to open the scoring. After great work by Becky Lee, Lisa Giampalma played in Michalska for a fine finish.
The hosts doubled their lead four minutes later when Emma Johnson picked out Michalska for her second and the Sheffield striker completed her hat-trick six minutes before the break.
Rovers improved after the restart and were more than a match for the all-conquering Sheffield side.
Just past the hour mark, Stanway’s sweet strike sailed inches wide of the target, but 16-year-old got the goal her display deserved 15 minutes from time. Midfielder Megan Taylor played the ball to Emily Bradshaw, who crossed from the right for Stanway to slot home.
Manager Gemma Donnelly said: “We started sprightly and it was a fairly even contest up until they scored, but after that we lost our momentum and they were very clinical in front of goal.
“To go in 3-0 down at half-time against the champions would be a tough task for any team to recover from, but I was pleased with the reaction from our players and we caused Sheffield some problems.
“We were strong, we played purposefully, we were threatening going forward and scored a well-worked goal.
“There were some encouraging performances from some of the younger players and we pulled together as a team. It was a vast improvement from Sunday and we need to carry that forward into our final game of the season against Huddersfield.”
ROVERS: Hutcheson, Flynn, Westerman, A. Taylor, Shaw, Holbrook, Fleming, M. Taylor, Sheen, Boyle (Bradshaw 49), Stanway.