Everton continued their pre-season preparations ahead of the new Women’s Super League campaign with a behind-closed-doors friendly against Leicester City.
Brian Sorensen’s side travelled to the Foxes’ training ground with the hosts running out 3-2 winners.
Goals from Lena Petermann, Shannon O’Brien and Sam Tierney saw Leicester lead by three after 58 minutes.
A strong finish from the Blues brought impressive strikes from Katja Snoeijs and Martina Piemonte, but it was Leicester who held onto victory in the end.
The starting line-up saw the return of Nathalie Björn who returned to training earlier this week, with Nicoline Sørensen, Katja Snoeijs, Hanna Bennison and Katrine Veje starting for the Toffees the first time in pre-season.
Despite a positive start, it was Leicester who took an early lead. The Foxes pounced on a pass from Courtney Brosnan, as Petermann finished into the bottom left corner on five minutes.
Everton looked to respond soon after when Bennison sent in an excellent delivery from the corner flag to find Gabby George. The England international’s header going narrowly wide.
Sweden international Bennison came close to bringing Everton level when she was played the ball across by Snoeijs. The Blues midfielder taking a yard of space and striking towards the right side of the net. However, her effort deflected off a stubborn Leicester defence and arrived wide.
Leicester then had their second of the afternoon on 33 minutes. The ball was played in from the right side, finding O’Brien who headed home for the hosts.
Several changes were made at the interval, Australia’s Clare Wheeler amongst them in an impressive display in her first pre-season outing.
The Blues started the second half brightly, but Leicester were able to score a third against the run of play.
Tierney received the ball outside the area and chipped the ball over substitute Emily Ramsey on 58 minutes.
Everton were able to pull one back two minutes later. Snoeijs battling against the Foxes defence and slotted the ball brilliantly into the bottom left corner.
Piemonte reduced the deficit further on 83 minutes. An effort that mirrored her strike partner, the Italian received the ball off Lucy Hope, fought off the Leicester defender and finished into the same corner as Snoeijs did moments earlier.
The Blues then began to push for a third into injury time. A combination of passes between Snoeijs and Wheeler saw the latter break into the box. Her cross agonisingly arriving over the bar.
Leicester held on as Brian Sørensen’s side were forced to accept defeat.
The squad will return to Finch Farm next week and continue their preparations ahead of the WSL’s opener against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday 1 October.