Australia midfielder Tim Cahill scored the decisive goal as Everton booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa, ending their 16-game domestic unbeaten run. Cahill struck with 14 minutes remaining to put the fifth-round result beyond doubt at Goodison Park, after Mikel Arteta's penalty had put Everton ahead for the second time.
Teenage midfielder Jack Rodwell gave Everton the perfect start as he scored his first goal for David Moyes's team in the fourth minute. Cahill met Arteta's corner with a bullet header that Stiliyan Petrov could only clear off the line to Rodwell, who lashed the loose ball into the net from close range. Villa equalised when Tony Hibbert chopped down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the eighth minute and James Milner's low penalty trickled under Tim Howard.
Everton, who last reached the quarter-finals in 2002, went back in front in the 24th minute through another penalty. This time Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell brought down Victor Anichebe and Arteta stroked home the spot-kick. Cahill, who was on international duty for Australia in Japan in midweek, sealed the win after 76 minutes when he sprayed a pass wide to Anichebe and burst into the area to finish the striker's return pass with a scuffed shot.
"It's massive, a run like this. It's what we play for. In a Cup like this, we are really trying to achieve something special," said Cahill.
Sydney-born Cahill, 29, Cahill dedicated his crucial FA Cup goal against Aston Villa to the victims of the bushfires that have devastated parts of his homeland. The Socceroos midfielder celebrated his goal by pointing to the black armband he was wearing as a mark of respect to those who have been affected by the bushfires. Over 180 Australians have died as fires swept across the south-east of the country over the last week.
"I dedicated the goal to the people who have lost their lives in Australia in the bush fires," Cahill said. "It has affected all the Australian national team and puts everything into perspective. I'm just really happy I can put something back."
It will be a first taste of the quarter-finals for David Moyes either as a player or manager and he said: "It's been a long time coming, but you don't get anything for reaching the quarter-finals. We were struggling for players today, I was a bit worried, but they played tremendously well and earned their rewards. The way we are playing and the belief we've got, let's hope we get a decent draw and we can try to get there [to the final]."