Keira Walsh netted a late goal to ensure Manchester City kept the pressure on Women’s Super League Chelsea on Sunday.
In a tight game, it was the returning Walsh who would win the game for City nine minutes from time. Their narrow 1-0 win snubbed any hopes of Everton returning to Merseyside with a point.
For City, Gareth Taylor made only one change from the midweek victory over Fiorentina as Walsh replaced Laura Combs in midfield. Steph Houghton, meanwhile, celebrated her 200th Manchester City appearance.
Everton welcomed back Gabby George, Lucy Graham and Maeva Clemaron into the starting lineup as boss Willie Kirk made a trio of changes.
Chloe Kelly was the bright spark in a dominant first-half City performance that saw Sam Mewis miss a glorious opportunity on 25 minutes. She fired wide from just five yards after latching onto Caroline Weir’s deflected free-kick.
Already under immense pressure, the resolute Everton were forced into two changes in the first 45. Both Danielle Turner and Ingrid Moe Wold were forced off through injury before Ellen White saw a close-range shot deflected wide in first-half injury time.
The second period would follow a similar pattern, with City putting the Toffees under pressure from the off. They really should have been ahead through White on 61 minutes. The Lionesses forward was played clean through on goal magnificently by Walsh, before she uncharacteristically fired well wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
City’s pressure would eventually pay off, however when a lovely ball over the top from Houghton released live-wire Lauren Hemp. The youngster switched feet before laying off a ball to Walsh who slotted home perfectly 20-yards out.
With Everton pushing forward, a late break on 85 almost allowed Kelly to double the lead. However, Sandy MacIver was equal to her driven shot before the former Toffees forward tested her again from 25-yards out.
A deserved win means City have now won their last nine games in a row. This win keeps the pressure firmly on Emma Hayes’ Chelsea at the top of the WSL. For Everton, they remain in a respectable fifth place.