Everton Under-23s hit three goals past a Chelsea side boasting Eden Hazard to power to their first Premier League 2 win of the season at Aldershot’s Electrical Services Stadium.
David Unsworth’s reigning champions had failed to score in taking just a point from their opening two games of the campaign but had no such problem in Hampshire as efforts after the break from Beni Baningime and Oumar Niasse added to Joseph Colley’s first-half own goal.
Despite the game getting off to a sluggish start, there was an opening chance for Niasse on two minutes, the Senegal striker’s effort from the edge of the box being gathered by goalkeeper Marcin Bulka.
But that was it for goalmouth action until Liam Walsh caught Colley out by swinging a dangerous, whipped delivery into the box on 18 minutes, forcing the Chelsea defender to steer the ball into his own net to give Everton the lead.
Hazard was back on the pitch for the first time since fracturing his ankle while playing for Belgium in June but had only really shown one neat flick before a jinking run into the box led to penalty claims nine minutes before the break.
Spinning away from Baningime, the 2015 PFA Player of the Year darted towards goal and went down under a challenge from Morgan Feeney. However, the referee was unconvinced and waved away Chelsea’s protests, much to the hosts’ dismay.
Everton were then indebted to a fine reaction stop from goalkeeper Louis Gray on the stroke of half-time, the keeper instinctively beating away Ethan Ampadu’s close-range header from an inswinging corner.
Having mustered the final chance of the first half, Ampadu was also presented with the first after the interval on 52 minutes. Yet, teed up by Hazard on the edge of the box, the former Exeter City youngster could only lift his side-foot shot over the crossbar.
And Chelsea were made to pay four minutes later as Walsh laid on a similar ball for Baningime and he beat goalkeeper Bulka with a sweet low drive from 18 yards.
Hazard was fading on his return but showed one final flash of his skills immediately before being replaced on 74 minutes, shimmying away from two markers before curling a left-foot shot that had to be expertly tipped past the post by the impressive Gray.
Unsworth, too, made changes and it was the incoming pair of Lewis Gibson and Nathan Broadhead, on for the limping Antony Evans and Bassala Sambou respectively, who combined to tee up Everton’s third.
Gibson dispossessed Miro Muheim and set off down the Toffees’ left before playing the ball inside to Broadhead. In turn, the winger fed Niasse, and though the striker’s first effort was parried by Bulka, he hungrily latched on to the rebound to slam a shot into the roof of the net.
Broadhead could have added a fourth in injury-time but having produced one of the moments of the match to burst away from two Chelsea defenders, the Welshman saw his effort from 25 yards thump off the post.
Regardless, the Under-23s return to Merseyside with three points and plenty of optimism to begin preparations for their next fixture, a home meeting with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday 11 September.
Chelsea: Bulka, James, Colley, Ampadu, Grant, Houghton (Sammut 61), McCormick, Christie-Davies, Hazard (Maddox 74), Sterling, Muheim.
Everton: Gray, Jones, Foulds, Baningime, Feeney, Connolly, Charsley, Evans (Gibson 75), Walsh, Sambou (Broadhead 79), Niasse.