Everton Ladies marked their return to the Marine Travel Arena in style by defeating Bristol City 3-1 in the fourth round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
Back at the stadium they had called home for 15 years prior to their 2014 move to Widnes - and in front of the watching England Women’s Head Coach Phil Neville - the Blue Girls earned their first win of 2018 with a second half fight back to see off the Vixens.
After Chloe Arthur had converted an early chance to put City ahead, midfielder Olivia Chance levelled shortly after the restart and Georgia Brougham flicked a header past Aimee Watson shortly after.
And Chance’s second secured Everton’s spot in the hat for the next round, with the draw to take place on Monday.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors after good work from Loren Dykes down the left-hand side. Her cross fell to the feet of Arthur who, after her first shot was blocked by Gabby George, smashed the ball past Kirstie Levell on seven minutes.
Four minutes later, Bristol tried their luck again with youngster Lauren Hemp finding space at the edge of the box and volleying over the bar.
Welsh international Angharad James had Everton’s first attempt of the afternoon on 12 minutes, waiting at the edge of the area from a corner and unleashing a right-footed shot that was comfortably saved by Watson in the Bristol goal.
After being beaten by an earlier shot, Levell went on to make an excellent save from Julie Biesmans, expertly tipping the ball over the bar. As the half went on, Bristol continued to attack and create chances, Charlie Estcourt shooting just wide from the right-hand side of the box as the first period drew to a close.
Head Coach Andy Spence’s half-time team talk seemed to worked wonders - as the Blue Girls came out firing in the second half and were level five minutes after the restart.
Chance found space on the left and her cleverly disguised shot from a tight angle on the left found it’s way into the back of net.
The host’s second soon followed. Chloe Kelly won a corner down the left and took it herself, providing an excellent cross for Brougham to plant her header past Watson to hand the Blue Girls the lead.
On the hour mark, however, Levell produced another superb save from Estcourt to preserve Everton’s lead.
But Chance made the game safe, tucking home a Kelly cross from the right in front of 712 spectators, assuring Everton’s passage into the next round.
Taylor Hinds made her first appearance in a royal blue shirt, coming on for Kelly with just a few minutes remaining, following her move from Arsenal.
A pleasing afternoon all round for the Toffees, who will learn their fifth round opponents on Monday.