Rovers Ladies suffered their first defeat in eight games, going down 4-3 away to Derby County.
Gemma Donnelly’s side, who had won six and drawn one of their previous seven matches, twice led thanks to goals from Sophie Jones, but the Rams battled back to secure the points.
Rovers made a flying start, opening the scoring inside three minutes. Alex Taylor crossed for Saffron Jordan, who saw her shot blocked, but Jones was on hand to fire home the follow-up, off the underside of the bar.
The woodwork denied Rovers a second moments later, as Lynda Shepherd’s shot deflected off Jordan and clipped the top of the crossbar.
Shortly after, Derby were level. A poor clearance fell to Melissa Johnson, who finished with aplomb.
Rovers restored their lead just past the half-hour mark when Shepherd’s free-kick to the back post dropped kindly for Jones, who finished from two yards.
Derby piled on the pressure as the half drew to a close, forcing Jo Hutcheson into a smart double save, before equalising a minute before the break. A corner was played to the back post and Aimee Perry headed home unmarked.
The Rams then took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Rovers failed to clear their lines and Johnson smashed home her second of the game, a 20-yard strike into the top corner, with the final kick of the first half.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and it went the way of the hosts on 67 minutes. A free-kick on the edge of the area was played to the back post and Perry added her second of the game with ease.
Rovers reduced the arrears on 77 minutes when a long ball forward by Jones caused confusion at the back, as the ball bounced over the keeper and substitute Thea Mallett headed home into the empty net, but they failed to find a late leveller.
Donnelly said: “We had too many key players missing and a handful of others had an off day, which gave us a huge mountain to climb.
“I was pleased with the way we started, but we were pretty much on the back foot for large proportions of the game and only when the substitutes came on and we showed a sense of urgency and willingness on the pitch.
“Overall, it was very disappointing and a long trip to come away with nothing.”
ROVERS: Hutcheson, Westerman, Kinvig, Bickett, Taylor, Shepherd, Bailey (Adams 74), Fenton, Jones, Jordan, Johnson (Mallett 74).
Subs not used: Hill, Strickland.