READING FC Women lost 2-1 at Everton as their winless run stretched to five matches in all competitions.

Royals were edged out by the Toffees at a wintry Widnes in Sunday’s FA Women’s Super League 1 clash.

It means Kelly Chambers’ side are still searching for their first victory of 2018, their last win ironically coming against Everton in the Continental Tyres Cup in mid December.

The hosts got off to a blistering start and took the lead in the fourth minute when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk latched onto a through ball and calmly slotted past Mary Earps.

Royals fought back strongly but, for all their promise, they failed to muster an equaliser as Everton survived a barrage of attacks.

The Toffees then showed their ruthless streak by doubling their lead in the 21st minute, Chloe Kelly punishing a poor clearance by blasting past a stranded Earps from close range.

However, the visitors refused to lie down and have themselves a lifeline in the 37th minute when Rachel Furness powered a header home from a Fara Williams corner.

Reading maintained their momentum after the break and almost levelled things just before the hour mark when Lauren Bruton was denied by a superb Lizzie Durack save.

And Chambers’ side also hit the woodwork eight minutes before the end when a curling strike from the unlucky Brooke Chaplen smacked against the post, with Durack well beaten.

Reading goalscorer Furness admitted: “We had a dominant performance in the second half, but we lost it in the first half.

"We gave away two sloppy goals and you then have to come from behind in a backs-against-the-wall situation.

"It's tough to come back from two goals down and Everton defended very well, but we have to have a hard look at ourselves.”

The result sees Reading remain seventh in the table, while Everton moved up to eighth after successive wins.

Next up for Royals is a home clash against ninth-placed Bristol City at Wycombe Wanderers next Wednesday night (7.45pm).

Furness added: “We know that everyone is fighting for their points at this stage. We will look at Bristol, analyse ourselves and we'll have a game plan.

“Hopefully we can get a much-needed three points. We just need to be better and we know that starts against Bristol."

Everton: Durack, Boye-Hlorkah, Brougham, George, Worm, James, Finnigan, Kelly (Green 90), Chance, Turner,, Sweetman-Kirk. Subs not used: Levell, Munsterman, Bryson, Hinds. Booked: Green 90.

Reading: Earps, Rowe, Pearce, Potter, Green, Furness, Williams, Allen, Harding (Linnett 62), Chaplen, Brunton (Moore 71). Subs not used: Fletcher, Moloney, Gane. Booked: Pearce 45, Williams 66, Furness 75.

Referee: Lindsey Robinson.

Attendance: 274.