Crawley Wasps’ hopes of winning the double ended in a 3-0 defeat against Blackburn Rovers in Sunday’s League Cup final at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.
Paul Walker’s side had already wrapped up the National League Division 1 South East title, and with it promotion to the third tier.
But they found League Cup holders Blackburn, who won the division above, a tough proposition, particularly without centre-backs Darcey James (suspended) and Ellie Russell (cup-tied), and forward Sian Heather.
Wasps started brightly, Faye Rabson testing Blackburn keeper Danielle Gibbons, but they fell behind on eight minutes when Saffron Jordan poked in after a scrappy scramble inside the box.
That seemed to ease Rovers, who continued to pass the ball slickly and create chances – Natasha Flint, Jess Holbrook and Jordan all narrowly off target.
Early in the second half, a superb tackle from Wasps’ Jenny Drury – the midfielder standing in at centre-back – sparked a counter which ended with Kemina Webber firing at Gibbons.
Blackburn scored a second goal when Flint guided the ball over Wasps’ ‘keeper Frankie Gibbs.
Shortly afterwards, Rovers hit both posts within seconds in the same attack and survived a further scare when the well-placed Flint fired high and wide.
Late on, Gibbs produced a brilliant diving stop to deny Natasha Fenton – but she was beaten a third time when Jordan’s superb side-step was matched by an excellent finish.
Captain Naomi Cole said: “Blackburn are a fantastic side, with top quality players who played fantastic football.
“We’d loved to have won this competition but we can be so proud we got to the final.”
Wasps: Gibbs; Niamh Stephenson (Woollard 89), Young, Drury, Palmer; Cole, Green (Fleischman 58); Rabson, Stow, Plewa; Webber (Davies 80). Subs not used: Graves, Measures