Everton suffered defeat in their final contest of 2022 as they went down 1-0 to Durham in the Continental League Cup.
Brian Sorensen made nine changes from the side that won comprehensively at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, handing starts to senior debutants Abby Clarke and Annie Wilding.
An early strike from Lily Crosthwaite for the visitors proved enough to seal the win at the contest in Crosby though, meaning the Blues finish their Continental Cup campaign in fourth place of Group A.
Everton started the game brightly and applied pressure early on, but the visitors did well to stop the Blues from converting the same into any meaningful efforts on goal.
Then, despite seeing more of the ball in the opening exchanges, the visitors took the lead in the 15th minute.
Beth Hepple picked up a loose pass in the middle of the pitch before driving into the Everton half and feeding the ball into the path of Lily Crosthwaite who fired past Courtney Brosnan.
Durham buoyed by scoring the opener went close to finding another ten minutes later when Hepple ghosted into the penalty area unmarked to meet a cross and force Brosnan into a diving save from her headed effort.
Everton nearly forced an equaliser soon after following a flurry of chances that fell their way inside the penalty area. Durham defended doggedly before the ball then came out to Clare Wheeler on the edge of the box, she struck a powerful effort but straight into the arms Naoisha McAloon.
That chance encouraged the hosts and dangerous winger Gio started enjoying success in driving and dribbling at the Durham defence down the right flank.
Finding their groove as the game went on, Everton’s best chance of the half came one minute before the break when Leonie Maier played a great ball in behind to Aggie Beever-Jones who curled her effort towards the goal but the shot rattled off the upright and out for a goal-kick.
At the break, Gio, who left the pitch walking gingerly following a knock before half-time, was replaced by Taylor Howarth who also made her senior bow.
The first chance of the second half fell to the away side when Maria Farrugia hit a good strike from range which was tipped over the bar by Brosnan.
Everton responded with some half chances of their own, Izzy Christiansen going the closest when she met a lay off from Karen Holmgaard but her shot sailed over the bar.
Sorensen made further changes with a little over 15 minutes remaining as Jess Park and Aurora Galli replaced Beever-Jones and Wheeler.
The Blues continued to push hard to try and draw level and Christiansen again went close in stoppage time as she was denied at the death by a great double save from McAloon.
Everton will return to action on 15 January 1pm (GMT) when they welcome Reading to Walton Hall Park in the Barclays Women's Super League.