The goals arrived in either half at St Mary’s, with George Waring and Connor Grant on target to secure a place in round four for the visitors.
Jason Dodd’s youngsters enjoyed the majority of possession, but were left to reflect on their first blank in front of goal all season as they were made to pay by an Everton side who restricted their advances.
Saints had lost only twice in 12 matches going into the cup tie, and they threw everything at the Toffees in the second period, but Dodd’s side were to come unstuck in pursuit of their dream for silverware in this competition.
Saints: Johns, Flannigan, Targett, Gape, McCarthy, Turnbull, Chambers (Reed 65), Ward-Prowse, Seager, Sinclair, Rowe (Ariyibi 74). Subs (not used): Britt, Colmer, Higgins
Everton: Taudul (Griffiths 75), Pennington, Touray, Kenny, Langton, Moleneux, Jones, Ledson, Waring (Dyson 85), Grant (Charisley 90), Kennedy. Subs (not used): Green, McLaughlin.
Saints got the game underway attacking the Northam stand on a cool and clear night on the south coast.
Matching the conditions, the contest showed little sign of warming up in the opening exchanges, as both sides acclimatised to the surroundings with Everton particularly wasteful in keeping the ball.
But a fierce rising shot from Toffees midfielder Matthew Kennedy in the tenth minute sparked the match into life. His strike towards goal was tipped over by Chris Johns, though that proved to be a warning as Everton broke the deadlock a minute later.
Connor Grant driving forward from midfield found the space to feed the ball into the path of George WARING who stroked home past Johns, with the Northern Irishman having little chance of getting across to the shot.
Despite conceding, Saints soon began to find their feet moving forward with their early opportunities arriving from set plays.
After Omar Rowe had seen his direct free-kick come back off the wall, James Ward-Prowse took over, and it was his delivery on 18 that gave Everton their first challenge at the back as the Blue shirts rushed in to head clear from Jordan Turnbull, whilst Rowe volleyed the follow up over.
At the other end, Kennedy delivered a reminder of his threat when he broke through one on one with Johns, but again the ‘keeper was positioned well to make a fine save.
As the game moved past the half hour mark, Saints turned the screw and were unfortunate not to get more from a break that saw Sinclair burst through into the final third.
The striker was bundled to the floor as he bore down on goal, but with red shirts forward play was allowed to carry on with Chambers hoping to finish off the move, only to be denied by a decent stop from Mateusz Taudul in the Everton goal.
Taudul was called into action again on 36 when he produced a punched reflex stop to deny Seager’s rasping strike from the edge of the area with Saints cranking up the pressure to level the scores before the break.
The interval arrived however with the visitors holding their advantage, leaving Saints with some work to do although the way they ended the half will have encouraged Dodd.
Half Time: Saints 0-1 Everton
The second 45 got off to a slow start largely thanks to a lengthy stoppage for a clash of legs inside the Saints area which ‘keeper Chris Johns came off worse from.
Fortunately the stopper was fine to carry on, as Saints regrouped. And the hosts thought they’d found their equaliser a minute later when a Ward-Prowse free-kick was charged down as far as Dominic Gape, whose drilled shot back into the area was turned in by McCarthy, but the defender had done so from an offside position according to the officials.
That decision proved harder to take on 58 when the visitors doubled their lead with their first attack of the half. Kennedy’s measured cross to the far post was nodded down by Gethin Jones into the path of GRANT who made no mistake inside the six yard box to make it 2-0.
With the hosts pushing to get back into the contest, Ward-Prowse became the first Saints name to go into the book for his late challenge on halfway.
That preceded the first change from Dodd who withdrew Chambers in favour of Harrison Reed whose addition to the midfield allowed Ward-Prowse to make an impact further forward.
A resolute visiting side continued to keep Saints at bay by putting plenty of blue shirts behind the ball, but sensing an opportunity from the flanks, Gboly Ariyibi was introduced in place of Rowe.
With play going on in front of him, Everton ‘keeper Taudul went to ground in an off the ball slip which would eventually curtail the custodian’s involvement, forcing the Toffess into bringing on sub ‘keeper Russel Griffiths for the final quarter of an hour’s play.
Dodd’s side were desperate to test the new goalkeeper who barely had time to warm up prior to his introduction, but Saints remained restricted, with Turnbull’s header from a Targett cross clearing the bar.
Everton replaced first goal scorer Waring with Calum Dyson inside the final ten minutes, and went close to extending their lead late on through the impressive Kennedy, but the two earlier strikes proved to be enough for the visitors who progressed at the expense of Saints.
Full Time: Saints 0-2 Everton