Report: Villa Ladies 0-2 Everton Ladies
Two goals in the early moments of each half were the difference in a game of very few opportunities.
With the return of defender Chloe Jones announced before kick-off, the 'new' recruit went straight into the starting XI and partnered Elisha N'Dow at centre-back.
The general consensus from both camps is this would be a battle of two evenly-matched teams and the opening stages were cagey.
Midfielder Maddy Cusack [pictured above] saw her lofted effort safely gathered by Kirstie Levell before a brave block denied Simone Magill at the other end.
Everton skipper Michelle Hinnigan gave the visitors a ninth-minute lead - finishing crisply after Villa had properly failed to clear their lines.
Andy Spence's blues, widely tipped for the 2016 WSL 2 title, controlled proceedings and took the sting out of the claret and blues' play.
Yet, opportunities were few and far between. Alert defending from Elisha N'Dow and Chloe Jones was a key factor - the latter perfectly placed on the penalty spot to clear Kelly Jones' drive.
While they struggled to exert their fast, flowing football, there was no lack of effort from Joe Hunt's troops.
Winger Beth Merrick worked tirelessly - her success in chasing down a lost cause and winning a throw-in epitomising her shift.
Although the claret and blues grew in confidence as the opening 45 minutes wore on, the Merseysiders could have added to their tally.
Magill's effort edged over and Ellie Stewart's free-kick was well off target.
The Blues came out of the traps from the restart and doubled their lead - Stewart firing home after Villa could not clear their lines from a corner.
This prompted Hunt to go all out attack, as he introduced forward Kerri Welsh. And it almost proved the perfect alteration - the striker carving an opening from distance.
There was a let off for the home side just shy of the hour - Magill's effort crashing off the post - Danielle Turner's follow-up well over the target.
In the final 20 minutes, Villa did not let their heads drop and were unfortunate not to reduce the deficit. Katie Wilkinson showed good skill in the box but, under pressure from goalkeeper Levell fired wide while substitute Tash Baptiste lofted an effort over the bar.
At the other end, goalkeeper Myers produced a point-blank save from Magill at the death.
Villa Ladies back in action on Sunday where they travel to Yeovil in their final WSL 2 match before the mid-season break.
Villa Ladies: Myers, Crackle (Baptiste 80), N'Dow, Jones, George, Moran (C), Cusack (Welsh 53), Rouse, Mayling (Toussaint 73), Merrick, Wilkinson. Unused subs: Beattie, Porter, West, Bryant.
Everton Ladies: Levell, D Turner, Stewart, Hinnigan, Magill, K Jones, Brougham, Walker (V.Jones 89), Finnigan, M Turner, George. Unused subs: Brooks, Hollinshead, Davies, Rowe.