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Ian RUSH: Semi joy for Blues as Duggan seals win; WOMEN'S FOOTBALL.

Byline: By PAUL GARRITY

EVERTON booked their place in the final of the League Cup but hopes of an all-Merseyside clash were dashed by Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal.

The Blues won a dramatic semi-final with Watford thanks to super sub Toni Duggan.

The 17-year-old striker fired home the winner with just two minutes to go in extra time.

The Blues had taken a 23rd minute lead through midfielder Jill Scott when she smashed home from the edge of the box following a Michelle Evans corner.

But the home side rallied and their scrapping eventually paid off when Emma Beckett netted from close range after the Blues failed to clear their lines.

In extra time the Blues were awarded a penalty but defender Rachel Unitt missed.

The tie looked set to be decided on a penalty shoot-out until youngster Duggan struck.

Blues goalscorer Scott said: "I've never been in the final before and it makes it extra special.

"It's a good Christmas present but we know that if we go into that match and don't win, it won't mean anything.

"From now on we'll be looking to see how we can win that match."

She added: "It was a really hard game today and I think it could have gone either way.

"We're really pleased to be in the final but we made it hard for ourselves.

"Everyone was pleased for Toni coming on and getting the winner. She's a great little player and she showed it today.

"For everybody it's a dream come true but it's going to be a hard game against Arsenal."

Liverpool suffered a 4-0 defeat against the holders.

Goals from Jayne Ludlow, Lianne Sanderson, Rachel Yankey and Yvonne Tracey ended the Reds' hopes of a final appearance.

Reds boss David Bradley said: "I'm bitterly disappointed today.

"If we had taken our chances it would have been a different story.

"Arsenal are different class and they took their chances. They were very strong and they've a very good set-up there.

"But we must take the positives from it and build ourselves up for the games after Christmas."

The League Cup final between Everton and Arsenal will take place in March.

Local sides return to action on January 6.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2007
Words:371
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