"Lady luck just wasn't on our side today," was the philosophical summary from Ladies manager Dan O'Hearne after United went out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage to Peterborough Northern Star on Sunday.
This was the first of three key games against Peterborough, the two meet again this Sunday in the league and again next month at the season's end - both games could go a long way to deciding the Premier Division title.
Although a 'home' fixture this game had been switched to neutral Nettleham, Lincoln, due to guidelines on how far an away team should have to travel for competition semi-finals. United were without two key players in experienced striker Tania Marsden and the combative Jodie Hartley but there was a start for Annalise Carroll in attack and Molly Cawthorn sin defence.
The first half wasn't the best 45 minutes of football seen at a United game this season, with very few goal attempts, the best of which saw Jen Pearson hit the underside of the crossbar.
The second half was, by contrast a completely different game, having opened up. United, though, were still ruing their luck when Carroll also hit the crossbar, whilst the Peterborough side were forced to defend heroically at times.
Peterborough were becoming more of a threat as the game wore on and United's Kirsty Johnson had to block one shot and later saved well at her near post. But after 77 minutes Katie Steward broke through to put Boro ahead.
United continued to press and there were some desperate scrambles in the Boro box as the lead was defended, and even a late penalty shout could not prevent United missing out at the semi-final stage.
Blades: Johnson, Brown, Cawthorn, Froggatt, Hopkinson (Wainwright), Bell, Spurr, Pearson, Ruddach, Celi, Carroll (Smith).