READING FC Women suffered their first defeat of the season after a 3-2 loss at Everton Ladies in the FA Continental Tyres Cup.

Kelly Chambers’ side travelled to Merseyside boasting a 100% record and with confidence high.

But a sloppy first-half performance at Halton Stadium ultimately cost them as the Toffees picked up their first win of the campaign.

It took Everton just 14 minutes to break the visitors’ resistance when Claudia Walker raced onto a clever reverse pass from Dominique Bruinenberg before slotting past Rachael Laws on her Royals debut.

Reading hit back strongly onto to see an ‘equaliser’ from captain Kirsty Pearce ruled out for offside after a Fara Williams free-kick had been pushed into her path.

Chambers’ side did manage to equalise in the 24th minute thanks to an own goal from Megan Finnigan who directed a Brooke Chaplen cross into her own net.

However, parity lasted just three minutes as Walker regained the lead for the hosts with a powerful long-range strike that slipped through Laws’ fingers and into the net.

Chloe Kelly, who helped set up Walker, was the provider again as Everton opened up a vital two-goal cushion with their third of the day in the 56th minute.

She played a neat one-two with Inessa Kaagman before the Dutch midfielder chipped the ball over Laws for 3-1.

The Toffees almost added a fourth soon after, but Jo Potter headed Gabby George’s back-post header off the line from Kelly’s corner.

Royals refused to give up and pulled one back with 11 minutes remaining, Chaplen pouncing on a loose ball in the area before drilling the ball past Everton keeper Rebecca Flaherty.

But there was no late leveller for the visitors as the Toffees held on for the win.

Reading’s Gemma Davison admitted: “We worked really hard to get back into the game, but our first-half performance really wasn’t good enough.

“I don’t think we put in what we should have in the first 45 minutes, Everton looked like they wanted it more than us.

“In the second 45, it showed how different a game it could have been had we performed to that level from the start.

“We have to take a bit of the heat for that really.”

Reading travel to West Ham United Women in the FA Women’s Super League 1 this Wednesday (7.45pm ko).

Everton: Flaherty,Finnigan, Brougham, George, Bryson, James, Bruinenberg, Turner, Kaagman (Magill 82), Kelly, Walker (Boye-Hlorkah 87). Subs not used: Levell, Worm, Stringer, Hinds, Cain.

Reading: Laws, Jane (Allen 46), Pearce, Potter,Pacheco, Furness (Howard 75), Bruton, Williams, Estcourt (Harding 46), Davison, Chaplen. Subs not used: Moloney, Woodham.

Referee: Rebecca Welch. Att: 143.

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