Everton Under-23s are out of the Premier League Cup after a 3-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Goals from Jiri Skalak, Aaron Connolly and Viktor Gyokeres were enough to send the Seagulls into the last eight.
After an even start to the game – played on a bitterly cold and blustery day on the south coast – Blues skipper Antony Evans had the first shot on goal but his effort was well saved by Brighton keeper Rob Sanchez.
Shayne Lavery then went close to putting the Blues in front. David Henen did brilliantly to work some space down the left flank and found Lavery with a low cross but the Northern Irishman couldn’t find the finish.
It was Brighton who were to draw first blood, however. George Cox broke clear down the left and his low cross was turned home by Czech Republic international Skalak on 27 minutes.
Eight minutes later the Seagulls made it 2-0. After Lavery charged down a free-kick from 25 yards out, the ball was fed back into the box where Connolly was waiting to apply the finish from close range.
The young Blues had it all to do and in a bid to turn the tide, boss Unsworth made a double substitution at half-time – Bassala Sambou and Jose Baxter coming on for Lavery and Fraser Hornby.
The Toffees started the second-half brimming with attacking intent. Bowler first went close with a stinging effort before the dangerous Henen almost found Jose Baxter with wicked delivery from out wide, but his ball was just cut out by the Seagulls’ Jordan Davies.
An experienced Brighton side eventually began to get a foothold in the game however and – as the Blues pushed forward – Swedish youth international striker Gyokeres sealed victory when he fired home with three minutes to go.