Everton produced a spirited and resilient defensive performance at title-chasing Manchester City on Sunday but a late Keira Walsh strike earned the hosts maximum points.

Walsh crushed Everton’s hopes of an upset with the only goal of the game 10 minutes from time with a well-placed effort from range.

City dominated possession for large parts at the Academy Stadium, but the Toffees were disciplined with their defending and it looked as though they would take home a share of the points after a brave display.

Everton were boosted by the inclusion of Gabby George in the starting XI more than a year since her last start. The defender came through 70 minutes unscathed before being substituted.

Everton had a less than ideal start to the match, with Willie Kirk forced to make two changes in the first half after full-backs Dan Turner and Ingrid Moe Wold both picked up injuries.

City created the first chance of the game on 25 minutes and it was a gilt-edged opportunity for Sam Mewis, who poked wide from five yards.

The hosts threatened again five minutes later as Lucy Bronze sent a looping cross towards the back post that had to be dealt with by Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, who made her first senior England appearance in the Lionesses’ win over Northern Ireland last month.

Former Toffee then Chloe Kelly came close to setting up Steph Houghton on the stroke of half-time, but the City skipper sent her glancing header wide of the far post.

City striker Ellen White had to wait until the hour-mark for her first chance, but she dragged her shot well wide of the Everton goal after finding space behind the Blues backline.

Everton had their own spell of pressure on the City goal and a flurry of corners were dealt with well by home goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

City made the breakthrough on 80 minutes when Walsh hit a sweeping effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The Toffees threatened a dramatic equaliser in the closing stages but the City defence held firm to make it nine consecutive WSL wins.

Everton return to WSL action on Thursday evening against Birmingham City at Damson Park (7pm).