Everton Women were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United Women in the Women’s Super League on a momentous occasion at Old Trafford.

For the first time ever, women’s football was played out in front of spectators at Old Trafford.

More than 20,000 fans were in attendance – including a section of Evertonians in the away end.

The attendance figure was the highest of any Women’s Super League fixture this season.

The occasion represented the rapid development of the female game, and the quality of the match justified the excitement that enveloped Old Trafford before kick-off.

It was disappointment for the Blues on the pitch however, as two goals from Alessia Russo and one from Katie Zelem cancelled out Claire Emslie’s open.

Emslie gave Everton the dream start on three minutes when the Scottish winger burst onto Kenza Dali’s through ball and finished with aplomb.

Everton had looked comfortable, organised in their shape and posing a threat on the counterattack, but their lead evaporated on 35 minutes when Russo brilliantly directed a header past Sandy MacIver.

From then onwards, the hosts took complete control of the game and despite Everton coming close through Izzy Christiansen shortly before half time, United had the lions share of the chances.

Blues interim manager Chris Roberts turned to Lucy Graham from the bench at half time, but the Scottish midfielder conceded a penalty just seven minutes after her introduction, clumsily bringing down Martha Thomas.

United captain Zelem slammed her penalty home to give the home side the lead.

Everton didn’t go down without a fight however and came close in search of an equaliser when Aurora Galli curled at goal, but the Italian’s shot just evaded the post.

Emslie was next to come close for Everton, the Scot, who was a thorn in the United defence throughout, cut inside and bent a left footed effort wide.

The Toffees’ continued in the pursuit of an equaliser, but Russo’s powerful header from  Zelem’s corner sealed the win for United, boosting the Red Devil’s Champions League qualification bid.

Everton remain ninth in the WSL table after another disappointing defeat in a massively underwhelming season.