Chelsea won in the absence of boss Emma Hayes as Pernille Harder marked her first club appearance of the season with two goals at Everton.
A header by Denmark midfielder Harder put Chelsea on course for a third straight Women’s Super League win.
Kadeisha Buchanan’s own goal made it 1-1 before Harder scored a penalty and Niamh Charles sealed the points.
The penalty was awarded after Everton keeper Courtney Brosnan fouled Guro Reiten.
Lauren James and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd also hit the bar for Chelsea, who were without forward Fran Kirby.
The win lifted Chelsea to second in the table, level on points with leaders Manchester United, who defeated Brighton 4-0 earlier on Sunday.
Arsenal will move above Chelsea if they win at Reading in the late game (18:45 BST).
Everton, who had beaten Leicester and Liverpool in their previous two league games, are fifth in the table.
Chelsea deliver tonic for Hayes
Chelsea’s players warmed up in tops with the message “Get Well Soon Emma” on the back, while the travelling Blues fans chanted the manager’s name throughout the game.
Hayes watched the match from home as her assistant Denise Reddy took charge in the dugout.
Chelsea were made to work hard for the points, but Harder’s return to the side after injury was timely.
She opened the scoring against a stubborn Everton side with a downward header after meeting Reiten’s cross.
Her second came from the spot, coolly beating Brosnan after Everton had threatened to frustrate the defending champions following their equaliser.
Substitute Charles made it 3-1 with a clinical finish in the closing moments.
Chelsea’s thoughts now turn to the Champions League. They can expect another tough examination against Paris St-Germain on Thursday, but they head to France with momentum high.
Positives in defeat for Everton
Everton are much improved from last season, and there were once again positives for manager Brian Sorensen after a hard-working display by his players.
Denmark defender Katrine Veje impressed, while the the Toffees showed great spirit after falling behind in the first half.
Nikita Parris, back in 2014, remains the last player in an Everton shirt to score against Chelsea in the Women’s Super League.
But Buchanan’s own goal gave the hosts hope before Harder restored Chelsea’s lead.
- 5BjörnSubstituted forGalliat 64′minutes
- 28HolmgaardSubstituted forWheelerat 64′minutes
- 6GeorgeSubstituted forMaierat 80′minutes
- 10BennisonSubstituted forQueiroz Costaat 80′minutes
- 27StenevikSubstituted forChristiansenat 71′minutes
- 19Queiroz Costa
- 11ReitenSubstituted forCharlesat 77′minutes
- 23HarderSubstituted forRytting Kanerydat 61′minutes
- 10JamesSubstituted forIngleat 87′minutes
- 20KerrSubstituted forEnglandat 77′minutes
- 19Rytting Kaneryd
Match ends, Everton Women 1, Chelsea Women 3.
Second Half ends, Everton Women 1, Chelsea Women 3.
Offside, Everton Women. Izzy Christiansen tries a through ball, but Gio is caught offside.
Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Aurora Galli (Everton Women).
Goal! Everton Women 1, Chelsea Women 3. Niamh Charles (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Bethany England.
Attempt missed. Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ève Périsset with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Katrine Veje.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Sophie Ingle replaces Lauren James.
Substitution, Everton Women. Leonie Maier replaces Gabrielle George.
Substitution, Everton Women. Gio replaces Hanna Bennison.
Foul by Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women).
Hanna Bennison (Everton Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jessica Park (Everton Women) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Hanna Bennison.
Attempt missed. Lauren James (Chelsea Women) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Niamh Charles replaces Guro Reiten.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Bethany England replaces Sam Kerr.
Attempt missed. Sam Kerr (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Jessie Fleming.
Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (Chelsea Women) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Sam Kerr.