Burnley FC Ladies largely dominated their NWWRFL Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester Stingers, but were knocked out 2-1 due to a catalogue of missed chances and superb goalkeeping.
The Lady Clarets elected to forfeit home advantage when Barden Athletics Ground was found to be waterlogged, and travelled to Whalley Range in Manchester to find a pitch that was heavily rutted.
The Clarets had an early opening when star player Lizzy Hamer crossed from wide, and the ball ran across the Stingers goalmouth into the path of Linny Craig, who fed the ball back across, but again no one could latch onto the ball.
A shot from Justine Wallace sailed over the bar, before a period of scrappy play followed.
Craig picked up a pass on the left wing and carried the ball to the bye-line before crossing back to Evie Priestley, who shot wide of the keeper, but the Stingers keeper read the situation and collected the ball at full stretch.
Stingers had an effort ruled out for off-side, and from the free kick, Priestley collected the ball and fed it through to Hamer, who drove a shot at goal, only to see the keeper make a save.
In the next move, Wallace won the ball in midfield and slotted through to Craig, who located Rebecca Hayton, and her rising shot was tipped upwards by the keeper and then superbly smothered by an outstretched dive as the ball fell on her goal line.
Stingers attacked down on the lef,t and as their striker entered the box, pursued by Holly Hunter, contact was made from behind and a penalty awarded.
Clarets stopper Leanne Ashton-Smith promptly saved the shot, but in the next attack from Stingers caught the Clarets defence off guard, and a striker cut through and placed the ball wide of Ashton-Smith to easily score.
The Clarets needed to raise the game and were unlucky not to equalise from the next attack as Hamer passed the ball wide of the Stingers keeper to pick out Craig at the far post, but a defender managed to block her path.
Craig had a shot blocked by the same defender and another collected by the keeper at the near post.
After the break the Clarets pressed up field but found that Stingers were prepared to defend in numbers and wait for opportunities to break out and counter attack.
After the first Stingers break, Hunter combined with Hamer to get the ball forward and pick out Priestley who in front of goal and under pressure chipped the ball over.
After a lengthy absence, Sarah Greenhalgh entered the fray,but a Stingers raid led to an awkward clearance by Taylor Gregson, who fell backwards as the ball spilled to a striker who drilled it into the net from 20 yards.
Gregson was unable to get up and had to be treated on the field for a dislocated shoulder.
At 2-0 down the Clarets increased the intensity, but still struggled to exert real threats.
When presented with an opportunity at close range, Wallace was unable to contact cleanly with the ball.
Evie Priestley had a similar experience minutes later.
With five minutes remaining, Wallace received the ball inside the 18-yard box from Hamer, but this time found a way through to score.
As the clock ran down the Clarets pushed players forward. Captain Jo Holt and Hunter combined to deliver a cross into the box that was met by Greenhalgh. She flicked the ball wide of the Keeper but it hit the post and bounced to safety.
Priestley forced a reaction save from the keeper from close range and a Wallace free kick lifted over the bar.
On Sunday, the Lady Clarets entertain Blackpool at Barden, kick-off 2 p.m.