Durham Women crashed out the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup with defeat at Sheffield FC Ladies.
Emma Johnson’s first half strike for the hosts was cancelled out by a Rachel Lee screamer, before late efforts from Chelsea Flanagan and Hannah Dale wrapped up victory for Sheffield.
The Wildcats entered the competition in the Preliminary Round, with a home tie against Bristol City on offer for the winners.
And the visitors started brightly with Beth Hepple threatening twice; her first effort being held by Sheffield stopper Jules Draycott before the second went narrowly wide.
Jordan Atkinson’s goal separated the two sides on the opening day of the season, and the winger was proving difficult to deal with once again for Sheffield.
Her fine run ended in a cross that found Sarah Eadon in the area, but she couldn’t get the ball under control and Draycott was able to gather.
Despite dominating the early proceedings, the Wildcats fell behind just after the half hour when Johnson’s thumping drive from the edge of the area beat Alderson.
Durham rallied after this, with Atkinson again playing tormentor-in-chief.
She first saw an effort from a tight angle strike the bar, before Danielle Cox’s fine sliding tackle stopper her from pulling the trigger in the box.
Sheffield, though, came out after the break on top and only a fine save from Alderson kept out Cox’s downward header.
Chances continued to flow, with Jodie Michalska curling narrowly wide after she was teed up by substitute Chelsea Flanagan.
The hosts failed to take their chances, and were made to pay with twelve minutes remaining when Lee smashed home from 25 yards to level things up.
And the Wildcats almost took the lead moments later, as Gutteridge raced onto a clearance only to see her effort dip over the crossbar.
With five minutes remaining, Sheffield retook the lead as Flanagan was afforded time and space to curl past Alderson from distance.
Sheffield then doubled their lead in the dying minutes, with Hannah Dale’s fine free-kick leaving Alderson powerless.
Defeat spelt a Continental Tyres Cup exit for the Wildcats, who will now refocus their attention on the league.