Karen Holmgaard’s second-half header proved enough to give Everton Women their second successive league win as the Blues sent West Ham United to the foot of the table with a 1-0 victory.
The Dane was the willing recipient of twin sister Sara’s delivery as Brian Sorensen’s injury-hit side ensured that Merseyside reigned supreme over London on Sunday, with their male counterparts besting Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park earlier in the day.
Both sides had chances in a hotly-contested encounter, with Courtney Brosnan producing a smart save to deny Riko Ueki literally minutes before Holmgaard’s winner.
Everton started brightly and Nicoline Sorensen could have broken the deadlock inside five minutes. The Dane’s right-footed effort was well struck but was the wrong side of Megan Walsh’s post.
Toni Duggan was the next to go close with Everton’s next chance. The veteran striker was found by Hanna Bennison, but her shot was again the wrong side of Walsh’s woodwork.
Rehanne Skinner’s side had their chances and Brosnan had to be alert to stop Lisa Evans’ effort, while Jess Ziu fired wide after being found by Kirsty Smith.
Chances continued to come for both sides with Megan Finnigan squandering a good opportunity just before half-time. The Blues skipper and leading scorer did well to make space but couldn’t direct her header on target after meeting Hanna Bennison’s corner.
Into the second 45 and both sides picked up where they’d left off, Ueki and Sorensen both forced saves from Brosnan and Walsh respectively inside the the opening five minutes.
With injuries and rehabilitation still at the forefront of Brian Sorensen’s mind, Everton’s previous matchwinner Nathalie Bjorn was replaced by Karen Holmgaard on 55 minutes in what proved to be an inspired change.
The Toffees had been dangerous all afternoon from set pieces and found their breakthrough from a corner. Sara Holmgaard collected the ball from a centre and did well to feed it back into the box where she found twin sister Karen waiting to nod home in the bottom corner for her first goal of the season.
With the Hammers chasing an equaliser, the game became a scrappy affair with both sides guilty of conceding a number of free kicks as legs grew tired.
Everton still had chances through Heather Payne and Katja Snoeijs, while West Ham had opportunities through Viviane Asseyi and Abbey-Leigh Stringer, but came up against a patched-up yet stubborn Toffees rearguard.
And that stubbornness survived everything the hosts had to offer as the Blues held on to secure their third win of the season and move up to seventh in the table
The Toffees are back in action against Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the Women’s League Cup on Wednesday, 13 December, at Walton Hall Park before welcoming Manchester City four days later in the WSL.