Durham were narrowly beaten by the new league leaders. Photos: Susan Gutteridge.

Durham Women have seen their FA WSL 2 Spring Series title hopes take a dent after defeat at Everton Ladies.

Gabby George’s first half header was enough for the hosts, although the visitors will feel aggrieved after having a late goal controversially disallowed.

The Wildcats started the day top of the league, with Everton three points behind having played one game less.

And the Toffees started brightly and took the game to the table-toppers, deservedly taking the lead after 14 minutes when George rose highest to head home a Danielle Turner corner at the far post.

Everton could have extended their lead before the break, but found Durham stopper Rachael Laws in inspired form.

She saved well from Claudia Walker and Simone Magill after they had sprung the offside trap with the latter then seeing an effort clip the bar as the hosts pushed forward.

The second half was a different story as Durham dominated proceedings, but only after Laws was at her best again to keep out Mollie Green from close range.

The visitors began to create chances, though, with Zoe Ness seeing a header tipped around the post by Kirstie Levell, who also denied Rachel Lee and Annabel Johnson at her near post.

Sarah Wilson then had the ball in the back of the net following a Nicki Gears pull-back only for the offside flag to be raised – much to the dismay of her teammates.

Victory sees Durham slip to second as Everton climb to the summit of FA WSL 2 for the first time this season.