The Bees fought hard but were undone by a ruthless Sheffield United side at the Proact Stadium.

First half goals from Jade Pennock and Olivia Ferguson saw the hosts lead at the break, before Nikita Whinnett pulled one back for the Bees.

However an instant response from Katie Wilkinson took the game beyond the Bees as they suffered defeat to the side who sit second place in the FA Women’s Championship.

Both sides had chances in the opening 15 minutes as Merrick Will saw a header well saved, meanwhile up the other end Quantrill made a stop to deny Wilkinson.

But it was the hosts who took the lead after 17 minutes as Pennock stabbed home from inside the box following a swift Blades attack.

Straight from the kick-off the Bees were almost level as Will shot over after an initial header was cleared off the goal line.

Wilkinson then had the ball in the net, but thankfully the linesman’s flag denied the hosts a second goal.

The Bees had a massive chance to equalise as the ball fell to Nikita Whinnett from a corner but her effort was straight at the goalkeeper.

We were punished on 26 minutes as the hosts did extend their lead,  they broke quickly from a Bees corner, leaving Ferguson to slot home from six yards out. A cruel blow for the Bees who were well in the game throughout the opening 25 minutes.

The hosts took a lot of confidence from their two goal advantage and continued to fashion openings, but the Bees defended resolutely against a top team.

Lee Burch’s side continued to get into good positions but couldn’t quite breakdown the Blades in an open contest in Chesterfield.

Quantrill made a big stop on the stroke of half time as Ferguson went clear on goal, however our skipper on the day did brilliantly to deny her.

Into the second half and after a bright start the Bees were back in the contest. Amelia Hazard found Whinnett who slammed the ball into the corner to give us hope.

But almost immediately the two goal deficit was impounded on the Bees as former striker Katie Wilkinson slotted home after a defensive mishap.

We continued to pressure the second placed team, but they stood strong and were dangerous on the counter attack.

Both sides had chances at the end, as first Horwood looked to be through on goal only for a last ditch clearance, meanwhile Pennock fired wide of the post in stoppage time.

The Bees remain 5th in the FA Women’s Championship and will look ahead to a busy week as they take on WSL champions Arsenal in Conti Cup action, before welcoming Blackburn Rovers to The Hive London, in our last game before Christmas.

Bees: Quantrill, Wilson, West (Giddings 73′), Robert, Pickett, Horwood, Gibson (Brooks 45′), Whinnett, Gamby, Hazard (Dench ’85), Will. 

Unused subs: Nunn, Hazelton