Goals from forwards Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Chloe Kelly helped Everton Ladies secure a deserved win over Reading in Widnes.
Back at the Select Security Stadium after their FA Women’s Cup tie at Marine last week, the Blue Girls raced out the traps and were ahead inside five minutes via a calm finish from Sweetman-Kirk.
Everton were forced to defend resolutely throughout the contest as Reading looked to deploy their usual attacking style but it was the Toffees who would score again, Kelly blasting home from close range on 22 minutes.
And despite Rachel Furness heading home in the first half, that was the way it stayed with the hosts claiming a welcome league win.
In horrendous conditions at Halton Stadium, both sides had to contend with hail and an icy surface but it was the Royals who were caught cold.
When the ball was clipped over the Reading defence, Sweetman-Kirk’s pace tok her clear and after she kept her composure, she beat Mary Earps with a cool finish.
Fara Williams then drew an excellent save from Lizzie Durack as the visitors looked for an instant response.
Reading were looking to exploit the spaces in front of the Toffees defence but time and again a blue shirt was there to snuff out the danger.
And on 22 minutes, Everton grabbed a second. Reading failed to clear their lines from Kelly’s cross and when she intercepted a pass out from the back, she returned it with interest and found the bottom corner.
The hosts could have grabbed a third but only a terrific save from Earps denied skipper Dan Turner.
Reading reduced the arrears on 37 minutes when Furness struck and after the break, the Royals pressed hard for an equaliser.
They came within a whisker of snatching a point on 82 minutes when former Toffee Brooke Chaplen weaved her way towards the box and saw a left-footed effort come back off the press, then Remi Allen nodded wide at the back post.
But the Blue Girls held on for a priceless win that finally sees their performance rewarded with three points.