Everton Ladies 0-2 Notts County
Everton Ladies fell to a home defeat on Sunday as two first-half goals helped Notts County run out winners at Halton Stadium.
In a game of few chances, the Blues were made to rue a slow start when Katie Holtham scored on five minutes.
And some slack defending on the stroke of half-time cost Andy Spence's side dear as Danni Susi prodded home from a corner.
Everton's shaky start was evident when Rachel Corsie was allowed space to cross and force a corner after a spell of early County pressure.
The resulting corner was cleared - but it didn't stop Sophie Walton whipping the ball back for Holtham to open the scoring.
The setback prompted a response from the home side and Nikita Parris managed to get in behind the Notts defence, only to see her attempted lob drop wide.
To make matters worse, Everton were forced into an early change when Fern Whelan limped off after a heavy collision to be replaced by Gabby George.
And Notts doubled their lead before the half was out, Susi tapping in following another Walton corner.
Kelly Jones did have one effort cleared off the line in the second half but boss Spence was left to reflect on a frustrating start to his side's home campaign.
“Certainly the way we started the game was disappointing, especially given that we said how important it was to start fast and to compete against a team like Notts,” he said. “You look at the two goals and at any level of football you can’t defend two set plays like that.
“It’s disappointing the way the goals have gone in and they have ultimately been the difference between the two teams.”
Spence did, however, have praise for teenager George, who excelled after replacing the recently fit-again Whelan.
He added: "We’ve always said as a club we’ll give the best young talent a chance and Gabby George was different class.
“She looked a little bit nervous before she came on but I told her to just do what she did at her youth level.
“The game was full of international defenders but Gabby stood out and was the best centre-half on the pitch.
“Everyone can see she’s not a 17-year-old in terms of physique and quality, which is amazing given the fact she’s only recently turned 17. Hopefully she can build on that now.”