Everton Women suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat against Manchester United in their first match at Walton Hall Park despite a spirited second-half performance.
Casey Stoney’s side went three goals ahead through a first-half Leah Galton double and Ella Toone’s close-range strike after the break, before Dan Turner and Lucy Graham pulled two goals back late in the game.
It was a historic day for Willie Kirk’s side with the Club playing the first match at their new purpose-built home at Walton Hall Park.
Everton had the best chance in the early stages of the match when Inessa Kaagman was found in the box by Chaney Boye-Hlorkah in the 14th minute, but the Dutch international’s shot was well saved by Manchester United shot-stopper Mary Earps.
Seven minutes later the visitors took the lead against the run of play when Galton picked the ball up on the left wing and danced her way into the Everton box before a rasping shot beat Sandy MacIver.
The dangerous Galton doubled United’s lead in the 29th minute through a similar effort when her driven strike from inside the area found the back of the net.
Kirk’s team came out the blocks quickly in the second half looking to get back into the match and Boye-Hlorkah nearly pulled a goal back when her long-range effort was tipped over the bar by Earps.
The visitors then went three goals ahead in 62nd minute when Manchester United forward Toone scored from close range to put Stoney’s team well in the driving seat.
The Blues pushed forward looking to get back into the game and managed to pull a goal back through captain Turner in the 67th minute. The Everton left back found herself in space at the back post and headed Chloe Kelly’s corner into an empty net.
With seven minutes left to play the home side looked to be one step closer to an unlikely comeback. Graham’s powerful effort from the right touchline looped over Earps and into the net.
Turner and Graham’s goals spurred Everton on but the hosts failed to score a third despite throwing everything at United’s defence.
Everton will next be in action at their new Walton Hall Park home next month in when they host Chelsea in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-final.