Rovers Ladies slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against London Bees in their opening home game of the Championship campaign.
Nikita Whinnett’s goal just before the break handed the away side all three points at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Rovers were without the injured Chelsey Jukes and Natasha Flint, while Saffron Jordan, Alex Taylor, Rhema Lord-Mears were unavailable.
Lauren Thomas then came off with a shoulder injury following a cynical foul, forcing the Blues into an early change.
Despite the makeshift lineup, the home side started the better of the two sides and could have been two or three ahead inside the opening 20 minutes.
A mix up at the back almost gave Charlotte Redman a tap-in but Bees keeper Sarah Quantrill recovered just in time to clear the ball.
Holbrook’s free-kick was then tipped over the bar, before Fenton headed the resulting corner wide.
Fenton then had a free-kick saved, before Charlton kept Quantrill busy, forcing her into a diving save.
Gemma Donnelly’s side continued to dominate the first-half, but couldn’t make the breakthrough.
And they were made to pay for those missed chances, as the Bees break the deadlock against the run of play.
Nikita Whinnett’s lobbed effort sailed over Dan Hill and into the net with five minutes to go before the break.
Rovers still had chances to level before the break. Ellie Stewart’s header was claimed by Quantrill, as was Serena Fletcher’s powerful drive.
And in stoppage time, further efforts from Charlton and Montgomery were saved by the Bees stopper.
It was a similar story early in the second-half. Fenton drove at the visitors’ defence and forced the Quantrill into a brilliant diving save.
But with a lack of subs, Rovers tired as the game went on and chances were few and far between.
Lauren Davies’ deflected effort and McDonald’s wide header was the best they could muster.
London Bees had a golden opportunity to increase their advantage. Hill denied Bonnie Horwood and then Fletcher blocked on the line to prevent Lucy Loomes scoring the rebound.
Rovers threw everything at the visitors in injury time, but just couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Bees backline.
ROVERS: Hill (GK) (C), Holbrook, Davies, Fenton, McDonald, Thomas (Dykes 18), Charlton (Pearson 73), Fletcher, Redman, Montgomery, Stewart.
Unused sub: Finn (GK).
London Bees: Quantril (GK), Alexander, West, Robert, Brooks (Loomes 45), Pickett (Dench 90), Horwood, Gibson (C), Whinnett, Gamby, Hazard (O’Leary 23).
Unused sub: Lynch.
Referee: Elizabeth Simms