Everton fell to a narrow WSL defeat at Bristol City in a game that Willie Kirk’s team edged for long periods and twice hit the woodwork.
Bristol’s winner came from their first shot at goal, a long-distance 33rd-minute drive by Lucy Graham.
The Blue Girls had bossed the game up to that point and continued to enjoy most of the possession.
The closest they came to equalising was 15 minutes from time, when in quick succession substitute Elise Hughes hit the bar then striker Simone Magill shot against the post.
The visitors had gone into the game with two changes in midfield from the team that won 1-0 at West Ham United earlier this month, Inessa Kaagman replacing Taylor Hinds and Angharad James taking over from Dominque Bruinenberg.
In a bright start by the Blue Girls, two dangerous attacks were repelled before Magill forced a 10th-minute save from goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Right-back Emma Brownlie had a cross cut out as the early pressure was maintained, then four corners were won in quick succession but each of them was well defended by the home side.
A long-range effort by central defender Gabby George drifted wide of the post, but in the 33rd minute Bristol took the lead with their first goal attempt as striker Graham fired a 25-yard drive into the top corner. Keeper Kirstie Levell got her fingertips to the ball but could not prevent it from hitting the net.
Everton hit back quickly for George to have a 35th-minute header saved on the line by Baggaley, and as the first half closed the Blue Girls were still pressing for what would have been a deserved equaliser.
Play was held up early in the second half for injured Bristol midfielder Lucy Biesmans to receive treatment, following which Everton pushed forward for Kaagman to twist and turn inside the box before hitting a shot that was blocked.
A 54th-minute substitution saw striker Elise Hughes replace defender Siri Worm as Everton switched to a more attacking formation.
Just after the hour, left-back Abbey Stringer was harshly handed a yellow card after winning the ball in a tussle with Frankie Brown.
A second substitution brought Hannah Cain into the action in place of Brownlie, once again an attacking move by manager Kirk – who made his final substitution in the 72nd minute, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah taking over from Kaagman.
A minute later Ella Rutherford almost increased Bristol’s lead, shooting over the bar from 15 yards.
But then at the other end, Everton came so close to equalising. Hughes’ shot hit the bar, from the rebound Magill’s close-range effort was blocked by Baggaley and then Cain stabbed a low shot against the post.
Two minutes into stoppage-time, Cain went down in a challenge by Baggaley inside the area, but the penalty appeals were turned down and Cain was booked for dissent.
If a spot-kick had been awarded it might have brought the visitors a point they warranted, but instead they ended the game empty-handed.