Sheffield United Women were knocked out of the Continental Cup by holders Manchester City despite a more than spirited effort at the Proact Stadium.
Two goals from Pauline Bremer just before half-time ended what had been a heroic effort by the Blades in the first 35 minutes, before Laura Coombs added a third with just over 15 minutes remaining and Bremer completed her hat-trick with the last kick of the game.
Carla Ward made two changes from Sunday's defeat to Aston Villa, top scorer Katie Wilkinson returning in place of Veatriki Sarri, while there was an enforced change as Chloe Dixon came in for the injured Sam Tierney.
The Blades largely found themselves penned inside their own half during a first half where Ward's team had to dig deep to keep City, littered with internationals, at bay.
Becky Flaherty, who was superb throughout, made an excellent early save to deny Ellen White before the Blades enjoyed a period of possession without creating any meaningful chances.
On several occasions the final ball let United down when they got into good positions, while at the other end both Leandra Little and Naomi Hartley wee absolute rocks and helped kept the score at 0-0.
But two quick goals before the break put the game beyond the Blades. Bremer scored her first when she slotted home from close range before tapping home a cross from the right just five minutes later.
Flaherty was in top form again after the break, denying both Steph Houghton and Coombs before the latter added a third with a curling effort from inside the box.
The fourth came with the final kick of the match and was perhaps unfair given the effort United had put in, but Bremer didn't care as she completed her hat-trick with a close range finish.
Blades: Flaherty, Barker, Little, Hartley, Pennock (Johnson 85), Cusack, Wilkinson, Paul (Sarri 46), Dixon, Palmer, Fergusson.
Unused subs: Batty, Ford.