Everton suffered their fourth defeat of the season in front of another sold-out Walton Hall Park on Saturday as Manchester City sealed a tight 2-1 victory.
The visitors arrived on Merseyside on the back of five straight victories although they had to work extremely hard to extend that winning run against Brian Sorensen's side who will feel unfortunate to have not come away with at least a point.
Full of confidence, the away side started the brightest and goalkeeper Emily Ramsey was forced into action inside the opening minute as she made a fantastic sprawling save to deny former Toffee Chloe Kelly who drifted unmarked into the penalty area.
The visitors built on that early effort to take control and saw plenty of the ball inside the opening ten minutes, however, the Blues defended well and restricted Gareth Taylor’s side to very few clear-cut chances.
With the visitors struggling to break Sorensen's team down, Everton were able to force profitable turnovers inside the middle of the pitch.
One of those led to the hosts’ first shot of the game when Aurora Galli dispossessed City’s Yui Hasegawa before making a powerful driving run at the defence and unleashing a strike towards goal that whisked just wide of the post.
Shortly after the half-hour mark though the visitors found a breakthrough when Khadija Shaw beat the Everton offside trap to go one-against-one with Ramsey who tried to close the angle down. Shaw opted to play in the supporting Julie Blakstad who passed the ball into an empty net to hand City the lead.
The vocal home support rallied around the Blues though who pushed hard for an immediate response, and that came just eight minutes later when City failed to adequately deal with Elise Stenevik’s corner allowing Rikke Sevecke to take advantage and head home a deserved equaliser.
With their tails up, the Blues nearly completed a quick-fire turnaround just one minute later when Katja Snoeijs hit a sweet half-volley from the edge of the box, however, the effort was well saved by former Everton keeper Sandy MacIver.
At the break Sorensen shuffled the pack, with Aggie Beever-Jones replacing Karen Holmgaard, however, it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and again, just like in the first half, Ramsey was called into action early as she got down well to stop a low driven effort from Shaw.
Just two minutes later though the City striker finally got the better of the Everton shot-stopper, tapping home Laura Coombs’ initial effort that struck off the post as Shaw restored a lead for the visitors.
The game then opened up with both teams exchanging chances, yet it was City who went closest to extending their lead, with a heroic goal-line block from Sevecke denying Coombs a second of the match.
With a little over 25 minutes remaining, Sorensen made further changes as Gio and Clare Wheeler were introduced in place of Galli and Hanna Bennison.
Their impact on the team was nearly instantaneous as good play saw the ball worked out to Beever-Jones who drove down the left flank before cutting in and firing a fierce effort towards goal that was blocked for a corner.
Pushing hard for an equaliser and approaching the final ten minutes of the match, Sorensen made a final attacking change as Leonie Maier replaced Elise Stenevik.
But despite growing home pressure, the visitors managed to hold onto their slender lead and the Blues were forced to come away from the tight contest empty handed.