The Wildcats fell to only their second defeat of the season at the hands of Everton Ladies.
Gabby George’s first half header was enough for the hosts who took a big step towards the title thanks to victory.
But it could have been a different story were it not for Everton stopper Kirstie Levell who made a string of fine second half saves to keep the Wildcats at bay.
Lee Sanders made only one change from the side that beat London Bees as Rachel Lee returned in place of Lauren Briggs.
And Durham started brightly with Zoe Ness looking to thread in Beth Hepple only for Levell to come out and claim.
Everton grew into the game, with Ellie Christon having to be alert to put a teasing Claudia Walker cross behind before the hosts took the lead on 14 minutes.
It was a simple enough goal – as Danielle Turner’s corner was met by a thumping George header at the back post which left Rachael Laws with no chance.
The hosts continued to push forward with Walker firing over from close range after a cutback from Mollie Green.
Laws was then called into action twice in quick succession as she denied both Walker and Simone Magill with fine saves with her feet.
Magill also struck the bar before the break, with the Wildcats best chance falling to Ness who curled wide from 25 yards after outmuscling three defenders.
A change in shape prompted a much-improved performance in the second half from Durham – but that was after Laws again had to make a superb save to deny Green after a quick counter attack.
It wasn’t long before the visitors were testing Levell, however, with the young stopper acrobatically tipping a Ness header around the post before she then denied Rachel Lee at the far post.
Annabel Johnson was next to be denied as she picked up on a loose ball before seeing her shot saved at the near post, with Becky Salicki also poking wide as the game entered its dying minutes.
There was controversy late on when a Hepple free-kick struck the post before Nicki Gears pulled it back for Sarah Wilson to tap home. As the Wildcats celebrated, the linesman raised his flag much to the dismay of the visitors.
That was the last meaningful action of the game, and saw Everton pick up all three points.
Wildcats XI: Laws, Johnson (Atkinson), Wilson, Hepple, Ness, Gears, Salicki, Christon (Briggs), Roberts, Dixon, Lee (Jennings)
Subs Not Used: Borthwick, Gibson