Brian Sorensen felt his Everton Women side were not sharp enough after an early Kenza Dali strike and unfortunate Megan Finnigan own goal handed the Blues their first WSL loss since December.
Defeat sees the Toffees trail Aston Villa by four points, although Sorensen’s side still have a game in hand over their Midlands’ rivals.
And the Blues boss is urging his side to be more sharper as they head into a crucial run of WSL fixtures.
“We were not sharp enough with the things we wanted to do and didn’t stick to it in the first half. Second half, we started ok, but they (Villa) got quite a lucky second goal and that killed the game.
“We have to look at ourselves in terms of not being sharp enough when creating chances or being sharp enough on the ball.
“I’m disappointed, but it is what it is and we have to believe that the things we are doing are right and, in the long term, they will pay off. But you get games like this and unfortunately that is what happened today.
“We need to digest what has happened to day but then we need to look forward.”
Everton were punished for a sluggish start as early a five minutes. Rachel Daly, so often Villa’s goal threat, turned provider found Dali, whose shot took a slight deflection before going in off the post.
As always, the Blues were positive in response, but struggled to fashion many chances. Finnigan was unlucky that she was not able to bring down and control Gabby George’s deep centre, while the ever-dangerous Jess Park forced a save out of Hannah Hampton after unleashing a 20-yard drive following a positive run.
The hosts began the second 45 positively and Hampton had to be at her best to stop Rikki Sevecke from levelling in the 63rd minute. The defender rose highest to meet Park’s corner and the Villa stopper made a fine save to keep her side in front.
Minutes later, Park drove forward again and her ambitious effort was just inches away from a spectacular equalizer.
Growing in belief and confidence, the Toffees were dealt the cruellest of blows when Mayumi Pacheco’s low cross was inadvertently turned in by Finnigan. It was a tough one for the midfielder, who had performed well throughout the game.
Refusing to concede defeat, Sorensen rang the changes, introducing Nicoline Sorensen, Aurora Galli, and Elise Stenevik into the fray. Everton’s efforts proved to be in vain, though, as Carla Ward’s side held out for the three points.
Everton return to action on Sunday, 12 March with a trip to Leicester City, before Goodison Park plays host to the Merseyside derby.