Everton were edged out 3-2 by Reading in a pulsating WSL clash at Adams Park on Sunday.
The Toffees twice came from behind to level against the Royals, but a 70th-minute Lisa-Marie Utland header secured maximum points from the home team.
Chloe Kelly and Lucy Graham had previously hit equalisers for Everton but a third goal proved beyond Willie Kirk’s team. Everton now sit fifth in the WSL table, with six points from their opening four matches.
Everton went into the game with a line-up including no less than nine players who were returning from international duty.
But there was no sign of travel fatigue in a bright start that saw Kelly fire a 20-yard drive narrowly over the bar after just two minutes.
It was Reading who drew first blood, however, midfielder Jade Moore heading in former Everton player Fara Williams’ seventh-minute free-kick delivery.
Three minutes later the scores were level through a third goal of the season for September’s WSL Player of the Month Kelly.
Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney saved Simone Magill’s header from a Maeva Clemaron cross, but Kelly stabbed the loose ball over the line from a yard out.
Reading went ahead again as Williams curled in a 17th minute corner for Moore to poke in at the near post.
But once more the visitors hit back, Graham levelling the scores with a 23rd minute penalty after she had been fouled by defender Kristine Leine.
The first half continued in end-to-end fashion, Reading just edging the possession and ex-Everton striker Brooke Chaplen going close on the half-hour.
It was a similar story as the second half unfolded, with both teams surviving scares in the opening 10 minutes.
Everton almost took the lead when striker Inessa Kaagman had a goalbound volley blocked on the line.
Then Reading might have gone back ahead as Chaplen broke clear, but goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela saved bravely at the striker’s feet.
Williams almost added a goal to her two assists in the 68th minute, sending a yard shot inches wide of the post.
The ex-Blue made it three assists in the 70th minute, though, floating in a corner for substitute Utland to head the home side in front for a third time.
Nine minutes later Blues could have been back on level terms but Kelly, clear of the Reading defence, shot wide as keeper Moloney advanced off her line.
Kirk’s team pressed for a third equaliser in the closing stages but without creating any further clear-cut openings.