Everton are safely through to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup following an encouragingly routine victory over Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
Ross Barkley and Aaron Lennon led the way with the stand-out performances of the afternoon, the latter helping Roberto Martinez's side get off to an early 2-0 lead with an assist and a well-taken goal, the former lashing home a deflected shot in the second half to complete the scoring.
Starting in place of Gerard Deulofeu who was an unused substitute, Lennon galloped onto Tom Cleverley's nicely-weighted ball over the top with just than a minute and a half on the clock and he picked out Arouna Kone in the centre to tap in from close range.
12 minutes later, a slick passing move down Everton's left ended with Bryan Oviedo crossing low into the Carlisle area where Lennon expertly rounded the nearest defender with his first touch and hammered the ball home via the goalkeeper to put the visitors into a comfortable lead.
It was an advantage they never looked like relinquishing. The League Two side's attempts to get back into the contest were largely stifled and Keith Curle's men were largely restricted to two chances of note – the first, a powerful half-volley from Asamoah, was beaten away by Joel Robles after seven minutes while substitute Ibehra's goalbound shot late in the second period was diverted behind by Phil Jagielka's out-stretched leg.
With Everton in control, Barkley capped a fine individual display with the third goal midway through the second half. A trial run a couple of minutes earlier where he skipped his way into the box but just overran the ball at the last second paved the way for a similar jinking move where he drove in from the right and fired home via a slight deflection from the edge of the area.
By Michael Kenrick
For Everton, Both Lukaku and Stones are dropped from the starting lineup at Carlisle, with Robles retaining his place in goal for cup games. Hallum Hope, once of Everton's Academy was on the bench for the home side.
Everton kicked off with the home crowd enjoying the occasion until in the second minute Everton scored a simple goal, Cleverley with a smart ball over the top for Lennon to run onto and he slid ist across goal to Kone at the far post for a simple tap-in.
Asamoah got a shot off from a loose ball by Cleverley but it flew wide. After a bright Everton attack Funes Mori made a horrible mistake that gifted another chance to Asamoah, who this time lashed his shot at Robles.
Coleman won a free-kick on a ball over the top from Barkley and it was whipped in to Kone but he could not dig it out. Oveido then had a shot that ran wide, then he had the chance to cross from the left but it was overhit. But his next cross was leapt on by Lennon after a brilliant one-two with Barkley and the former Spurs man, with a splendid touch, fired in off the Carlisle keeper, a fantastic Everton move.
A dangerous free-kick was executed poorly by Barkley, well wide, but Everton continued to move the ball well and press the home side high up the field. Lots of possession passing in the Carlisle half denied the home side any contact with the ball but failed to produce much of a threat on goal.
Asamoah won a corner for the home side but it produced little threat. A second Carlisle corner was played very deep and headed out. Then it was Everton's turn for a corner but it was equally unproductive, the Blues have noticeably relaxed the pressure and class that had given them a comfortable two-goal lead.
It was a more even game as Carlisle made the most of their turnovers while Everton probed but without the incisive cut and thrust of the earlier moves as the game drifted toward half-time. Kone did get a chance off a cross from Oviedo but played it straight at Gillespie in the Carlisle goal.
A good tackle by Comely saw a poor challenge in response from McCarthy who ended up in Lee Mason's book. The resulting attack looked to cause a little panic in the Everton defence until Robles stepped out and took command.
Keith Curle made two changes at half-time, including Hallum Hope coming on against his old club. Kennedy stood on MaCarthy's ankle and saw a yellow card. Everton continued to play the ball around with moderate urgency, Barkley trying to cut in from the left and Cleverley firing wide. Asamoah got behind Jagielka but the Everton captain caught him and deflected his shot away for a corner
Barkley made a beautiful crossfield pass right to Kone's feet but he hesitated and the chance was gone. Coleman danced in behind the Carlisle defence on a great ball from Lennon but was foiled by a determined block. Barkley then tried a drive down the middle but his last touch was too heavy and it allowed a block.
Osman came on for Pienaar to a fine reception at the ground where he spent a few happy months on loan 13 years ago. And he laid a nice pass at the end of a 25-pass move into the path of Barkley whose shot benefited from a deflection off the head of Ellis and flew past Gillespie for Everton's third of the day.
Hope was blocked by Cleverley for a free-kick that was messed up by Hope, Osman blocking it at close range with his hand before it ran through but three Carlisle payers were offside. At the other end, Cleverley lashed his shot wide. Then Kone tried one form an impossible angle that glanced off the face of the bar.
Barkley was given a sporting round of applause from all round the ground as he was replaced by Gibson. Everton now relaxed with a three-goal lead, Galloway coming on in place of Coleman.
Carlisle were at least keen to get a goal, giving Robles some work to do in the late stages, while they still came back to defend well as a team when Everton attacked. And there was some OlĂ© footy from the home side, Gilliead running well and playing a great cut-back that needed a vital leg from Robles to keep the clean sheet for Everton.
In the end, it was job done, and a comfortable scoreline, with the potential banana-skin competently avoided, and a place in the 5th Round after the disappointment of Wednesday at The Etihad.
From My Seat: Carlisle (A)
Pre-game, the walk to the ground reminded me how horrible it must be to be flooded out of your home. Reminders seemed everywhere and the consequence of not having insurance doesn’t bear thinking about. You just hope and pray that adequate flood defences can be put in place where needed in our country.
Still, we were here for the footy and it was soon apparent that the local community saw this cup tie as part of their healing process. We were welcomed whereever we walked with people thanking Everton Football Club and its fans for their support. I thought it a disgrace when told that only Everton and Sunderland had responded to their call for help.
They were up for the match though as the ground was a sell-out housing some 17,000 fans. The Blues end was full and after Wednesday's defeat at the Etihad no hangover signs were noted as the songs and chants and support was as normal for an away cup tie. Talking to a few it seems the main thrust of the aftermath of City was for the manager and players to step up to the plate, show that the gap in divisions was well and truly put on display and to take any momentum gained today into Wednesday night. It seems the manager and players will be backed from the terraces providing they put on a display that marries attack and defence into one unit with no messing about at the back and moving forward with pace, poise and penetration. Wednesday could define the stand-off between manager, players and fans to season end.
We kicked off and looked up for it from the off. The manager had retained Jags, Funes Mori, Cleverly, Joel and Barkley from Wednesday and gave starts to Coleman, Oviedo, McCarthy, Pienaar, Lennon and Kone. A strong looking side with a bench that was strong with normal starters getting a breather.
Within 14 minutes we had the game over as the gulf between the sides was evident and our players were playing with an intensity that suggested someone is at last starting to take notice that fans only grumble and groan when the fare on show is both tepid and weak. Today was up and at ‘em, with the travelling faithful responding in kind.
Within two minutes of kick off our pace and passing saw Cleverley take a pass from Coleman and feed Lennon over the top. The little man was after it in a flash and made the by-line and looking up selflessly fed Kone across the box for a tap in.
Next Carlisle got, I think, their only worthwhile shot on target when Mori had a ball coming in from deep over his shoulder, he turned and tried some aerial acrobatics that went horribly wrong and Asamoah lashed one on goal, but the advancing Joel narrowed the angle well enough to beat it away.
We were now well in control in all areas of the pitch and the class was telling. My worry was that with us being so dominant we would lose some concentration and get sucked into a David and Goliath job. I am old enough to have seen us get into them quite a few times but today was not going to be one of those days as we remained professional and focused. On 14 minutes we put the top hat on the tie with a delightful move down our left with Barkley, Kone, Oviedo, Pienaar and Oviedo again pulling the ball back for the live-wire Lennon to take a touch that took him passed two men and slide ball past the keeper. A finely constructed move expertly finished.
The game moved on with us well in charge and a bit of light heartedness was noted when we were awarded a free kick just outside the box. The usual wall was built and the keeper lined it up to cover his right hand post. Barkley took and got it expertly up and down over the wall but horribly wide it was like he didn’t look at the set up and assumed the goal was behind the centre of the wall. He got some quizzical looks from teammates and looked rather sheepish.
The half went on and with us in command the faithful were resorting to their own fun, songs were started but no-one finished them and on the half hour we had a bit of excitement when Carlisle got two corners on the trot. Nothing came of them but the locals roared and roared. It’s hard to report on not much happening but it could have been if our approach work could have found a cutting edge in the box. The half ended with us clearly on top but clever one two’s, low and high crosses plus through balls being almost but not quite.
Cleverley, Lennon and Barkley had been the pick in that half so we all expected much of the same second half as Carlisle just did not have the wherewithal to hurt us. They made changes for the second half, one being one of our former Academy hopefuls Hallam Hope but it made little difference as it was more of the same. But fair play for the hosts – they did have a bit of a go for the first fifteen minutes. Our only worry, though, was when someone whacked McCarthy’s ankle and he had to have treatment and be helped off but he soon recovered and re-joined the fray.
We were well in command and knocking the ball about well and mostly forward with just the necessary amount of back and square, Barkley was ever prominent with some surges and some astute passing and one rapier like pass fired into the box to the feet of Kone saw the Ivorian hesitate that split second too long. That was the story of this half – we passed well but the final deadly touch alluded us. Coleman and Lennon were combining well down the right and after one delightful exchange Coleman got in on goal but his attempt was well blocked by a sliding centre back.
The hour mark came and went but we had seen Osman replace Pienaar. The reception Osman got from the home faithful reflected his loan period here many seasons ago. Footy fans don’t forget. Fittingly it was Osman on 65 minutes exchanged passes with Oviedo after a many pass move and then threaded a beaut to Barkley who went past three defenders and hit a thunderbolt into the net. The whole ground applauded. It’s not often you see that.
It was deffo game over and we relaxed a little but I am pleased to report we kept a professional approach and tried to open the chances for more goals while defending with a purpose that included a couple of row Z’s and a couple of relieving punts up field. Is some learning taking place?
Barkley was subbed on 75 and the whole ground rose to him. I am sure the last time I saw that was when we applauded George Best off at Goodison. Gibson came on. He had a tidy 18 minutes but broke little sweat as he didn’t need to. Coleman had also been replaced by Galloway who went left back and Oviedo switched to the right. However, the job was done and no time for anyone to shine. Near the end the hosts started knocking it about and there crowd applied the "oles" so our mob joined in. Some idiot let off a blue smoke bomb with no heed of those near to them. I hoped no-one had respiratory troubles in that area. Full time whistle and we are through to the next round where we will face Bournemouth. Now, there is a place to go and show improvement on our last visit.
MotM – Barkley plus Lennon
After Wednesday we have had turmoil on social media, phone-ins, web sites and newspapers. It seemed the manager was in the firing line and must be replaced. However, the fans today were very supportive of the team and the players should realise that all we really want is for them to play to their potential and get that message over to the manager. On Wednesday night we seemed to play to some plan or system that had little to do with cup tie football. We got an away goal to go two clear goals up but then there was no grunt and spit, no tenacious cup tie resolve and no in your face confrontation that says we are Everton. Instead it was tippy-tappy fear factor stuff. I saw only four players with fire in their belly and they were Mori, Baines, Barry and Barkley and I did wonder if they had gone against orders.
This Wednesday will be a real test against Premier League opposition that have added a bit of quality to their team this window. We have the players, will we have the tactics to overcome the opposition and if that requires some of the darker arts then so be it. We all want the silky joined-up stuff but we have to earn the right to play first.
Talking to a few Blues this weekend we all seem to be a bit up in the air as information is coming from quite a few outlets that we about to sign a striker but nothing coming out locally. Strange one. Also due diligence with regard to the proposed takeover was supposed to have now ended but not a peep locally. Martinez says in presser that we are making no signings as we have sufficient resources but then says he will keep looking to make us better right up to 11-00pm. With all this going on we will be going to a ‘Home for the Bewildered’ rather than Goodison Park.
Still onward and upward – See you Wednesday
UP THE BLUES
Match PreviewAfter the disappointment in the League Cup, Everton's road towards Wembley in the FA Cup continues with a trip to Carlisle United in the fourth round in the televised lunchtime kickoff.
If Wednesday's game against Manchester City was the most important game of Roberto Martinez's tenure at Goodison Park so far, today's game carries an importance all of its own. It's just the kind of banana skin that can trip up under-fire managers and there is no doubt that however safe the Catalan's job might be in the minds of Everton's hierarchy, defeat to the League Two side would ratchet up the pressure on his shoulders to an unprecedented degree.
Just as he did in the previous round against Dagenham & Redbridge, Martinez is expected to make changes, particularly in view of another midweek game coming up against Newcastle, but whichever side he puts out should be enough to take the Blues through to the fifth round.
The likes of Darron Gibson, Arouna Kone, Aaron Lennon and Brendan Galloway could figure as the manager attempts to rest some weary and jaded limbs. Joel Robles, it has been confirmed, will continue in goal.
Kick off: 1.30pm
Referee: Lee Mason