Bristol Academy lost their unbeaten home record after falling to defeat at the hands of Lincoln Ladies at the Stoke Gifford Stadium.
Goals from Grace McCatty and Corrine Yorston were not enough to prevent a 3-2 loss, McCatty also putting the ball over her own line alongside two goals from Imps left back Rachel Daly.
Academy captain Yorston started in the unfamiliar position of central midfield while Jade Radburn came in for only her second start in the Super League. Lincoln were only able to start with one of their three summer recruits, Jodie Taylor, on loan from league leaders Birmingham, leading the line, and she made an immediate impact.
With little over a minute on the clock Lincoln had already enjoyed a sustained period of pressure and when debutant Taylor hit the ball goalwards the unfortunate McCatty prodded past Siobhan Chamberlain and into her own net to give the visitors the advantage.
It was not the start the Vixens wanted and for the best part of the opening ten minutes they found themselves unable to break through the Lincoln midfield, Yorston having to make do with a weak effort that Nicola Hobbs held with ease.
The failure to make an impact tolled after thirteen minutes as a corner from the left bounced off numerous bodies before defender Rachel Daly jabbed home to double the Imps lead.
The rain that had started to drizzle at kick off quickly turned into a downpour. This, however, did not deter Academy from starting their fightback, Dutch international midfielder Anouk Hoogendijk attempting an audacious thirty yard lob that was tipped over by the backpedalling Hobbs.
It was Hoogendijk again who threatened three minutes later, seeing an effort cleared off of the goal line after the ball dropped kindly for her from a Yorston free kick.
Moments later a poor Hobbs goal kick almost ended in disaster, Jess Fishlock able to burst forwards and feed Ann-Marie Heatherson in the box, the former Chelsea striker falling under a heavy challenge, only to see her penalty shouts waved away by referee Price. Before the break there was to be another stoppage for treatment to Heatherson who also took the full force of a Hobbs clearance from point blank range.
Despite being two goals behind at half time it was the home side who were playing the better football, finding the damp conditions conducive to their brand of slick, passing football and within four minutes of the restart they found themselves back in the game.
Right winger Helen Bleazard, who had a relatively quiet game, was able to break down the right before stalling to release the overlapping McCatty. The Centre of Excellence graduate went to cross, slicing horribly across the ball, only to see the luck on her side as the attempted centre swung goalwards and flew past Hobbs at the near post, allowing the full back to break even on the night.
But no sooner had Academy given themselves a route back into the game then they went and threw it away, as another corner saw a near carbon copy of the second goal. On this occasion it was Chamberlain who flapped as the corner dropped and, after an initial shot was blocked on route to goal, Daly once again popped up to restore the visitors two goal lead.
Yorston continued to be the key for all the good that the Bristol side were doing, having a cross of her own palmed behind before one of her corners was flicked into the Lincoln ‘keepers arms by the head of Lillie Billson.
The beauty of the rainbow that had appeared overhead was most definitely not a reflection of the game taking place beneath as the second half wore on, neither side able to create a clear cut opportunity, Academy substitute Molly Clark fizzing a low free kick wide of the mark the closest either side came during the middle stages of the period.
The talismanic Yorston was again involved when, with six minutes to go, Hobbs quite literally handed another road back into it for the Vixens, fumbling a driven cross that skidded along the soaking turf straight into the path of the England international whose eventual effort agonisingly rolled the wrong side of the post.
Safe goalkeeping was found wanting at the other end too as this time Chamberlain slipped up on the sodden surface, allowing Lincoln winger Jess Clarke to clip a ball over towards Sophie Barker only to see the Lincoln University student fail to connect with the goal her mercy.
With seconds left on the clock there was to be a second consolation for the battling home team, Yorston sending Hobbs the wrong way from the spot, but it was not enough as Lincoln’s ninety minutes of resilience proved the difference between the teams on the night.