Reading FC Women fell to their first defeat of the new season with a 3-2 loss away at Everton in the Continental Cup.
With wins against Durham and Manchester United in the first two of their group games, the Royals still top the five-team group – they are still yet to face Liverpool, as well as the reverse legs of each league fixture.
But it was a first setback of the new campaign after three consecutive wins to begin the 2018-19 season.
The Toffees opened the scoring in the first quarter of an hour; Claudia Walker showed good composure to work the ball onto her right boot and slot in.
Reading almost made an instant reply, only for Kirsty Pearce’s effort to be chalked off by the assistant referee’s flag. That goal did come, however, when Megan Finnigan inadvertently turned Brooke Chaplen’s cross into her own net to hand Reading a leveller.
Parity lasted just three minutes though; the power on Walker’s shot meant that debutant goalkeeper Rachael Laws was unable to keep out the effort as the hosts went ahead again.
Then just before the hour-mark, the lead was extended for the Toffees when Inessa Kaagman clipped in a neat finish after playing a one-two to give Everton firm control.
Fara Williams nearly caught out Becky Flaherty with a free-kick towards the near post, but the stopper was able to tip it onto the woodwork. But Chaplen, formerly an Everton player, was able to cut the scoreline back to 3-2 with a fierce effort, with just over 10 minutes remaining.
But despite the Royals’ best efforts, Kelly Chambers’ charges tasted their first defeat of the campaign in Merseyside as Everton held out for the points.
It’s back to FA WSL league action on Wednesday when the Royals visit West Ham United at Rush Green, kicking off at 7.45pm.
Full-time: Everton Ladies 3-2 Reading FC Women