Durham Women were knocked out of the SSE FA Women’s Cup by top flight side Notts County Ladies.
A Rachel Williams brace and a strike from England international Ellen White sealed victory for the last year’s FA Cup finalists, with Beth Hepple pulling back for the Wildcats late on.
Having navigated their way through ties against London Bees and Charlton Athletic, the Wildcats had the chance to reach the Quarter Finals of the competition for the first time in their history.
But Notts County were always going to be a tough test, and started brightly with Helen Alderson having to block Williams’ far post header from a corner on the line.
Williams was not to be denied again, however, as she muscled her way onto a flick-on from Sophie Bradley-Auckland before firing past Helen Alderson from 12 yards.
Chances continued to flow, with White firing just wide for the hosts before Rachel Lee saw a long range effort fly wide of the post.
Notts doubled their lead on the half hour when a fine ball from Rachel Yankey allowed White to slot past Alderson from close range with the experienced striker having time and space.
The Wildcats seemed rejuvenated after the break and set about creating chances. Jordan Atkinson’s cross from the right was palmed upwards by Magpies’ stopper Megan Walsh, with the defence just able to clear as Nicki Gears lurked.
Despite starting the second half well, Notts added a third on 55 minutes when Jess Clarke’s pull back was fired him by Williams from close range.
This didn’t deter the visitors, however, who continued to try and fashion a way back into the game.
A cross-field ball found Atkinson in space, but she was only able to fire over before substitute Amelia Pereira’s effort from the edge of the box was also too high.
Durham looked worthy of a goal, and got one on 77 minutes when Becky Salicki’s free-kick was flicked on into the path of Hepple, who prodded past Walsh from close range.
Conceding seemed to buoy Notts, who pushed forward in search of a fourth. They thought they had it when Angharad James found Clarke in space, but her effort cannoned off the crossbar and away from danger.
There were no more goals to be found, meaning that despite an improved second half performance, the Wildcats exit the competition.
Wildcats: Alderson; Christon, Salicki, Wilson, Macek (Gibson 85); McFadden, Lee (Pereira 58), Hepple; Atkinson, Gears (Eadon 86), Gutteridge
Sub Not Used: Borthwick (GK)
Goal: Hepple (77)