Doncaster Rovers Belles lost on penalties to Chorley FC in the preliminary round of the FA WNL Cup.
The Belles twice had to come from behind in normal time to force the game to go the full distance, with captain Izzy Whittle bagging a brace from a pair of set pieces.
Chorley, who play in the league below Doncaster, then squeezed through 4-3 in the shootout to book their place in the next round. Belles will go into the FA WNL Plate.
The visitors first took the lead after 11 minutes via captain Laura Walker’s perfectly-struck penalty, awarded after Holly Dodsworth felled a Magpies attacker in the box.
The Belles’ best opportunities of the first half came from set pieces, with Whittle nodding a corner well wide of the post on 23 minutes.
The captain went close again 13 minutes later from another corner, unleashing a shot to the bottom corner after Chorley failed to get it clear.
Chorley keeper Rachel Darbyshire tipped that effort wide, but was unable to do anything about Whittle’s header from the resulting corner as Doncaster scored their first goal of the season.
The visitors levelled things up again on 59 minutes, with Rebecca Kemp driving in from the right touchline and putting a surprise shot past Emily Batty from out wide.
Just as in the first half, the hosts grew into the game as time wore on, particularly after Zoey Shaw switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 midway through the half.
That allowed the Belles to ramp up the pressure, with substitute Emily Burgin going clean through on goal six minutes from time but shooting narrowly wide of the post under pressure from the onrushing Darbyshire.
Having scored her first-ever senior goal earlier in the game, centre-back Whittle bagged her second in injury time, scrambling the ball home from point-blank range after yet another dangerous Belles corner.
Burgin put a header on goal four minutes into stoppage time after Georgia Marshall’s long throw was flicked on to her, but Darbyshire made a vital save to force the game to extra time.
Grace Vella narrowly missed Chorley’s best chance of the extra 30 minutes, curling the ball just wide of Batty’s post, and Whittle headed yet another corner into Darbyshire’s arms.
Chorley striker Scarlett Smith had a wonderful chance to prevent the game from going to penalties, but after barging her way past a Belles defender she dragged her shot wide of the far post.
Both Walker and Whittle saw their sides’ opening kicks in the shootout saved, and Vella put Chorley ahead after Darbyshire stopped Sheldon Ashton’s effort.
Marshall, Abby Watkinson and Belding all scored for the Belles, with Lisa Topping and Smith doing likewise for Chorley.
Rebecca Kemp then blazed what could have been the winning penalty over the bar for the visitors well over the bar.
But Darbyshire saved again to deny Burgin in sudden death, and Megan Season made no mistake in reply to put Chorley into the hat for the next round of the cup.
Belles: (3-5-2): Emily Batty, Holly Dodsworth (Imani Todman 73), Izzy Whittle, Olivia Cook, Zoe Belding, Georgia Marshall, Sheldon Ashton, Ellie Parkin (Ashleigh Edwards 59), Lois Scholefield, Chloe Bethell (Emily Burgin 77), Abby Watkinson
Subs not used: Nadia Khan, Aimee Hickingbotham