Terrific headers from Valerie Gauvin and Lucy Graham saw Everton come from behind to beat WSL champions Chelsea 2-1 at Goodison Park on Sunday and progress to the semi-finals of the 2019/20 FA Cup.
After Erin Cuthbert gave the away side the lead early on, Willie Kirk’s Blues responded in sensational fashion with strikes either side of half-time.
The Toffees will meet Brighton or Birmingham City in Wednesday’s semi-final.
Chelsea wasted no time in showcasing why they are the reigning WSL champions and their confident start was rewarded with the game’s opening goal on five minutes – Cuthbert sliding a low finish past Everton stopper Sandy MacIver after good work from striker Pernille Harder.
The Toffees were then indebted to skipper Graham, whose goalline clearance from Fran Kirby’s close-range header prevented the away side from doubling their lead soon after.
Kirk’s side gradually established a foothold in the game and electric winger Hayley Raso had an opportunity to equalise 20 minutes in. The Australian hurtled clear down the left flank before cutting inside and placing a shot just wide.
The Blues continued to grow in belief, passing the ball greater speed, precision and ambition.
And when the equaliser came on 40 minutes, it was the product of a devastating team move.
Two of the Blues’ summer signings were the orchestrators, with Nicoline Sorensen playing a perfectly-weighted pass to Ingrid Moe Wold on the right-flank – the Norwegian sent an inviting ball into the area where the onrushing Graham netted with a fine header.
The Blues almost completed the turnaround before half-time – Raso rounding Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger but seeing her shot cleared off the line.
The game had developed into a fiercely-competitive encounter at this point.
MacIver made an acrobatic stop to keep out a drive by Kirby, and twice denied the dangerous Harder with splendid saves.
Everton continued to carry a constant threat, however, and struck the winner when the all-action Raso dug out a cross for substitute Valerie Gauvin, who expertly headed into the bottom corner.
The Blues had to withstand some sustained Chelsea pressure in the final third of the game but stood firm to book their place in the semi-final.