Morecambe Ladies were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday , losing 3-0 away at joint leaders of the Premier League Nottingham Forest.
With the home side showing lots of early movement and playing the ball around they took the lead in the 12th minute with a punt forward from Kelly Kennaugh looped over the central defence with Andrea Bell beating keeper Sammie Hindle to the ball and bravely flicking the ball home.
As soon as Forest looked to go forward there were runners breaking through the Morecambe defence and McKechnie ought to have done better as she raced in from the right and having drawn Laura Callis across to cover, she just couldn’t get the ball across to Mariah Cameron all alone with the goal gaping.
Forest, for all their possession, only created a couple of chances – Demi Greenan found a ball through a gap to Bell but Hindle was quickly out and smothered the shot, diving at the forward’s feet.
From a free-kick, Bell headed back to set-up McIntosh, only to see her effort fly high and wide.
Morecambe got themselves into the game before the interval with more possession in the opposition half, Hannah Paling and Hannah Williamson again moving the ball forward although the only threat to the Forest goal was a Beth Fisher header that went past the post.
Morecambe started to make an impression early in the second half but were brought down to earth with a bit of tenacity from Annabel McKechnie who chased a lost-looking ball down to the corner flag, she brought and crossed the ball and despite Morecambe having the chance to clear Elizabeth Ejupi collected the ball drove from the edge of the area and fired into the top right hand corner.
The Ladies kept coming forward, Emily Hutton racing away but with little support, Megan Doherty shot from long range but Forest gained the majority of the possession.
The difference in fitness levels between the two teams was beginning to take effect and the running and pressing by Forest pushed the Morecambe back line deeper.
Hindle was called on to make a couple of saves and had to be on her toes to collect the ball.
Jade Thornhill was on hand to take the ball off the toes of the Forest forwards and Ejopi had a strike skim the bar, encouraged by her earlier goal.
Mid-way through the half Forest put the game to bed.
Bell had broken through the defence on the left and slipped the ball past the advancing Hindle and continued along the by-line toward goal with Jo Norris saving the day, intercepting the shot and conceding a corner.
The corner looped high into the box and beyond the reach of the keeper with Ejopi bundling the ball in.
The Ladies came out again and pushed on, Forest never stopped running with and without the ball but time and again frustratingly for them, they were caught offside.
A couple of shots at the Morecambe goal was little return for the amount of possession they’d had but in the end the fitness levels had told and the determination to retain and move the ball paid off for the home team.
Once again the Ladies had come across quality opposition and left with heads held high.
They will certainly be looking forward to having Emma Kay back next week but the manager, Nick Barrett, will be worrying about the niggle to Becky Whittingham.
This was an end to the cup competitions for the season but reaching the second round is no mean feat.