Durham Women signed off pre-season with a promising performance against top tier Everton.
While two second half goals sealed victory for the Toffees, there were plenty of positives to take for the Wildcats.
Lee Sanders handed home debuts to summer signings Iris Achterhof, Megan Bell and Molly Sharpe – while fellow new recruit Holly Manders took a place on the bench.
And the hosts began brightly with Lisa Robertson firing just wide before Bell’s low cross was unable to be turned home by Achterhof.
With New Ferens Park drenched in rain, chances were at a premium with both teams struggling to create meaningful opportunities.
But it was to be the Toffees who took the lead just before the hour mark, when a cross came off Ellie Christon and looked to be hacked away by Sarah Wilson – only for the officials to rule that the ball had crossed the line.
Durham retaliated though and twice almost came level through Robertson, with the midfielder denied by fine stops from Kirstie Levell.
Achterhof then saw an effort drop just wide of the post after a teasing cross from Jordan Atkinson as the Wildcats teemed forward.
But as the hosts committed players forward they were caught on the break late on – Inessa Kagmaan slotting home at the far post after a deep cross.
The result was somewhat harsh on Durham who competed valiantly against their top tier opposition – but they will look to make amends when they travel to Leicester City in their opening FA Women’s Championship fixture.
Durham XI: Borthwick (Reid 56), Hill, Robertson, Wilson, Robson (Elliott 87), Hepple (Manders 72), Sharpe (Atkinson 49), Achterhof, Bell, Salicki, Christon
Referee: Rebecca Welch