Everton’s 100% winning start to the WSL season was ended after a 2-2 draw to Brighton & Hove Albion at Walton Hall Park.

An Izzy Christiansen equaliser and goal from Valerie Gauvin 20 minutes from time looked to be enough for the hosts to record a fifth straight league win, only for former Blues forward Aileen Whelan to level late on.

Despite Everton’s impressive opening to 2020/21 – which will also see them contest the FA Cup final against Manchester City in two weeks – it was Brighton who took a shock lead nine minutes in.

A free-kick wide on the left-hand side found the head of Megan Connolly who nodded towards goal for the ball to hit Rikkie Sevecke’s head and divert past Sandy MacIver.

It was particularly tough to take for Willie Kirk’s side, who were convinced there was a foul committed on defender Sevecke moments before the free-kick was awarded.

The Blues struggled to get a foothold in the game and almost conceded a second.

A well-worked move by Brighton saw full-back Maya Le Tissier hit a strike that Maclver saved at the near post.

There was further debate in the 27th minute when Australian international Hayley Raso took a quick throw-in that set Gauvin in to level – but the linesman ruled it was a Brighton ball and the goal was ruled out.

Moments later, the hosts got their leveller, though, as Christiansen struck a powerful free-kick that deflected into the top right corner from 30 yards.

Three minutes into the second half, Gauvin missed a huge chance to put the hosts in front as she won the ball off defender Danielle Bowman in the area but her shot sailed well over the bar.

The Toffees finally went ahead with 20 minutes to go. A corner from Christiansen found the head of Gauvin who powered a header past Walsh to net her third league goal of the season.

But just when Everton thought the game was won, a cross from left-back Felicity Gibbons was tapped home at the back post by Whelan to make it 2-2.

With two minutes to go, Everton Club captain Dan Turner rattled the post from the left hand side of the area which was then eventually cleared by Brighton.

And despite more late pressure, Kirk’s side could not get their winner and had to settle for a point.

Everton now have a break from action to prepare for their FA Women’s Cup final clash with Manchester City on Sunday 1 November at Wembley.