The FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup Group B encounter went in the Toffees’ favour thanks to two first-half goals followed by a late third after Ashleigh Plumptre had pulled one back eight minutes from time.
But it was the visitors who made a perfect start under their new manager Jean-Luc Vasseur, as Anna Anvegard picked up possession inside the 18-yard box and saw her strike deflect off Abbie McManus and over Lambourne to make it 1-0 inside two minutes.
There was little further goalmouth action in the first half, though Kenza Dali’s snapshot was well held by Lambourne and Toni Duggan’s effort from range had to be blocked by Jemma Purfield. Rikke Sevecke then got on the end of Izzy Christensen’s neat flick, but again Lambourne was there to claim her cross-come-shot.
Just when it looked as if City would enter the break with a one-goal deficit, Toffees skipper Christensen curled an instinctive left-footed strike into the top corner, giving Lambourne no chance of stopping the visitors doubling their advantage.
There was more impetus from the hosts in the opening minutes of the second half and they might have had a penalty when Purfield’s free-kick was headed towards goal by McManus and the ball appeared to strike an arm, but referee Georgia Ball was unmoved. And from the resulting corner, there were shouts for a spot-kick after Sam Tierney flicked the ball on, but again no penalty was awarded.
With Leicester pushing more players forward into attacking areas, it was always likely to leave spaces in behind, but Dali could not exploit them as she fired over the crossbar.
The French midfielder came even closer when set up by Duggan inside the area, forcing Lambourne into a smart point-blank save, before City’s No.1 also caught Anvegard’s volley.
Back at the other end, Georgia Brougham found space for a shot on the edge of the 18-yard box which had to be turned behind.
Aurora Galli soon let fly from range and stung the palms of Lambourne, who was making her second appearance of the campaign, but she wasn’t troubled by Claire Emslie’s skewed shot soon after.
And Leicester seized their chance on 82 minutes. Purfield’s free-kick crashed back off the crossbar and Plumptre was in the right place to net for the first time this season.
Just five minutes later, however, Everton had restored their two-goal cushion when substitute Valerie Gauvin headed home Christensen’s corner.
Another Foxes substitute Charlie Devlin tried to reduce the arrears again, dancing towards goal in added time and getting a shot away, but it failed to trouble Sandy MacIver and Everton were able to claim the points.
Defender Ashleigh Plumptre celebrates after finding the net late on.
It was a much improved second-half display from the Foxes and they had really started to build some momentum in the final 10 minutes, following Ashleigh Plumptre’s goal. But Everton’s third strike on 87 minutes ended any hope of completing a comeback.
Paige Bailey-Gayle was in the thick of the action in the second half.
Paige Bailey-Gayle made an impact after coming on off the bench for the second period, playing up top alongside Jess Sigsworth but also drifting into wide areas on occasion and providing fresh energy to City’s play in the final third.
Where does it leave us?
Charlie Devlin made her comeback from injury after missing the fixture with Chelsea last month.
The Foxes sit fifth in Group B ahead of meeting Durham Women for matchday two at Maiden Castle Sports Park on Wednesday 17 November (7pm kick-off).
The Foxes were playing a home game at Pirelli Stadium for the first time.
It’s a swift return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League duties for LCFC Women with Manchester City the visitors to King Power Stadium on Sunday 7 November (2pm kick-off).
City: Lambourne; Brougham, McManus (c), Plumptre, Purfield; O’Brien, Pike, Tierney, De Graaf (Devlin 76’); Flint (Bailey-Gayle 46’), Sigsworth (Camwell 88’).
Subs not used: Harris, Howard, Barker, Smith, Zajmi, Grant.
Goal: Plumptre 82’.
All times GMT.
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