Everton Women tasted defeat for the first time in four games as they were beaten 3-0 in the Women’s Super League by second-placed Chelsea.
Interim manager Chris Roberts made four changes to the side that beat Leicester City 3-2 at the weekend, with Courtney Brosnan, Nathalie Bjorn, Simone Magill and Claire Emslie replacing Sandy MacIver, Kenza Dali, Toni Duggan and Anna Anvegard.
Chelsea asserted their dominance from the start, controlling possession and looking to exploit Everton down the flanks.
And the opening goal of the game came inside the first seven minutes, as Sophie Ingle’s floated cross was nodded in by the WSL’s top scorer Sam Kerr.
The reigning WSL champions were two up before too long, as the ball broke for Guro Reiten on the edge of the box, firing an unstoppable effort past Brosnan in the Toffees’ goal.
Chelsea continued to pile on the misery for Everton, racing into a three-goal lead inside half an hour, as Erin Cuthbert rifled a 30-yard strike into the top right corner.
Roberts’ team did not appear to be disheartened by the early deficit that they had suffered, looking to hit Chelsea on the counter whenever they managed to win back possession.
Into the second half and Everton started brightly, looking to get on the front foot and be brave on the ball.
A half chance presented itself when a through ball for Simone Magill almost sent the Irish forward through on goal, but Millie Bright came across well to clear the danger for Chelsea.
Full back pairing Poppy Pattinson and Danielle Turner each tried their luck from range, with the latter coming the closest as her 25-yard effort narrowly whistled past Zecira Musovic’s left post.
Despite a valiant second half performance in which they went toe-to-toe with Chelsea, the damage was done for Everton, and they fell to a 3-0 home defeat, their first defeat since February 13th
After the game, Roberts said he was proud of his side’s second half performance.
“At half time, I asked the players to stand up and to show belief in what they were doing with and without the ball.
“I’m not going to shy away from the fact that we are gutted we lost the game and with the calibre of the three goals that we lost, but we have to learn from that and be better.”
Next up for Everton is a trip to Manchester City in the FA Women’s Cup, in what promises to be another tough game for the Toffees.
Roberts said: “Tactically, we need to assess the game and how we’re going to approach it, but we’ve got a lot of positives to take from that second half.”
(Featured image: Katie Chan under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)