Emily Heaslip proved as big a threat to Everton Women as league leaders Chelsea after the match official awarded the hosts two controversial penalties in a 3-0 win.
The lady in the middle further decreased her popularity on Merseyside ten minutes from time as boss Brian Sorensen saw red after receiving two yellows in quick succession for what appeared to be dissent.
Erin Cuthbert wrapped things up three minutes after the the Dane’s dismissal with a smart finish.
Everton had made three changes from the side that lost narrowly to Leicester City, and were under pressure from the off as Emma Hayes’ chase a fifth consecutive title in what will be her final season in charge at Kingsmeadow.
Lauren James and Mayra Ramirez were the main threats, and Clare Wheeler did brilliantly to dispossess the latter inside the area just before the Colombian could pull the trigger.
Ramirez threatened again midway in the first half when she burst down the right and played a dangerous low cross across the face of goal. The grateful recipient, Guro Reiten, saw her effort blocked on the line by a combination of Justine Vanhaevermaet and Courtney Brosnan.
Everton remained organised, but the team’s hard work would be punished with a harsh call. Wheeler’s tackle on Reiten inside the box was inch perfect, but the Australian’s clearance caught Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on the follow through which saw Heaslip point to the spot.
Reiten stepped up and gave Brosnan no chance from 12 yards.
The goal saw Everton venture forward and they very nearly found a response five minutes later. The often-isolated Martina Piemonte held the ball up brilliantly and found Rikke Madsen the right.
The Dane’s cross was met by Aurora Galli, but the Italian fired over.
Into the second 45 and Everton continued the fight and repelled a number of Chelsea onslaughts, only to suffer a setback with another controversial decision on 71 minutes.
Ramirez broke down the right but was pursued by Wheeler all the way. A coming together saw the winger fall to her knees, with the referee spotting enough of an infringement to award another spot-kick.
Reiten went the same way and secured the same result to double the hosts’ advantage.
Sorensen looked to make changes in the shape of Lucy Hope and Karoline Olesen but found himself the recipient of two yellow cards in quick succession.
And the bewildered boss could only watch from the stands as Cuthbert collected Mia Fishel’s return and volleyed past Brosnan from close range to wrap up proceedings at Kingsmeadow.
Attention now turns to Nottingham Forest in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup next weekend, when the Blues travel to Grange Park on Sunday, 11 February.
Kick-off will be at 4pm (BST).
Kuhl praises opposition quality but is proud of girls’ fight
Kathrine Moller Kuhl felt Everton showed a lot of fight against the champions but was quick to praise the opposition that faced her team on Sunday.
The Arsenal loanee also felt the decisions against the Blues were harsh but, according the Danish midfielder, that’s football.
“First of all, it was cool to be out there, it’s what we train for every day,” she said.
“The game? We were in the game, most of the time. There were harsh decisions that didn’t go in our favour this time, but that’s football.
“I’m proud of the girls and the team, we put in a good fight.
“If we could have scored one of our chances - we didn’t have many - but if we scored one of them it could have been a different game.
“But they have so much quality and they created chances, as well as the penalties, and deserved their goals.”