Manchester United dropped points at the top of the Women’s Super League as they were held to a goalless draw by Everton at Leigh Sports Village.
Marc Skinner’s side missed a number of huge opportunities on a frantic afternoon.
England international Ella Toone hit the post in the second half after Lucia Garcia struck inches over the bar in the first half.
Everton’s Jess Park, on loan from Manchester City, almost caused an upset late on when she sliced wide after a period of intense pressure from United.
With rivals Chelsea taking on Tottenham later on Sunday, United will drop to second in the table should the Blues pick up a win over their London neighbours.
United punished for missed chances
This could prove to be a significant result in the title race as United did more than enough to pick up all three points but lacked ruthlessness.
Alessia Russo had dominated the headlines this week after United turned down two world-record bids from Arsenal to sign the England striker in the final 24 hours of the January transfer window.
But Russo, who poked wide a chance in the first half, was kept at bay by Everton’s brave defence.
Brian Sorensen’s Everton side were tested throughout as forwards Garcia and Russo and full-back Ona Batlle came close in the first half before an onslaught from United came in the second half.
Toone had the best of the chances when she was teed up by winger Leah Galton, only managing to clip the outside of the post.
United pushed up searching for a winner as a crowd of more than 5,000 grew more anxious and a few mistakes at the back almost allowed Everton to take a shock lead.
Park, who looked threatening whenever she got the ball, rounded goalkeeper Mary Earps after a mistake from Batlle but sliced it wide in a golden opportunity to put the Blues 1-0 up with time running out on the clock.
Everton continued to hang on as they threw their bodies in the way to block countless shots from United, with goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan putting in a strong display in the absence of on-loan United keeper Emily Ramsey, who was ineligible to face her parent club.
The result leaves the door open for United’s rivals in the title race, while it was another strong defensive display from an Everton side ever-improving under manager Sorensen.
Man Utd Women
- 15Le Tissier
- 17GarcíaSubstituted forWilliamsat 77′minutes
- 11GaltonSubstituted forParrisat 67′minutes
- 8Bøe Risa
- 20FinniganSubstituted forHopeat 56′minutes
- 14SørensenSubstituted forBennisonat 56′minutes
- 28HolmgaardSubstituted forChristiansenat 67′minutes
- 22GalliSubstituted forWheelerat 56′minutes
- 25SnoeijsSubstituted forStenevikat 87′minutes
- 15Beever-JonesBooked at 90mins
- Emily Heaslip
Match ends, Manchester United Women 0, Everton Women 0.
Second Half ends, Manchester United Women 0, Everton Women 0.
Agnes Beever-Jones (Everton Women) is shown the yellow card.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Gabrielle George (Everton Women).
Attempt blocked. Hayley Ladd (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Katie Zelem.
Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Rikke Sevecke (Everton Women).
Corner, Manchester United Women. Conceded by Gabrielle George.
Attempt missed. Alessia Russo (Manchester United Women) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Hannah Blundell with a cross.
Offside, Manchester United Women. Ella Toone tries a through ball, but Rachel Williams is caught offside.
Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Elise Stenevik (Everton Women).
Substitution, Everton Women. Elise Stenevik replaces Katja Snoeijs.
Foul by Nikita Parris (Manchester United Women).
Hanna Bennison (Everton Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Katja Snoeijs (Everton Women) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.
Corner, Everton Women. Conceded by Ona Batlle.
Attempt saved. Rachel Williams (Manchester United Women) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ella Toone.