Everton are out of the Carabao Cup at the third round stage again after going down 4-3 on penalties to Southampton at Goodison Park.
Marco Silva rang the changes again with seven alterations to the team that started against Fulham but the Blues never really got going in the game and fell behind to Danny Ings's goal at the end of the first half.
Silva threw on Oumar Niasse, Richarlison and then Theo Walcott as the second half progressed and the huff and puff finally resulted in a late equaliser, scored by the former Saints forward against his old club to force penalties.
Unfortunately, having dragged Everton back into the tie, Walcott missed the crucial spot-kick after Maarten Stekelenburg had restored parity in the shoot-out following Richarlison's ballooned penalty by saving from Matt Targett.
The manager had elected to keep Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma, who have formed a solid-looking partnership over the last couple of games, in team while Maarten Stekelenburg was handed the starting role between the sticks like he was in the last round.
Leighton Baines was recalled after losing his spot to Lucas Digne, and Morgan Schneiderlin came back into midfield alongside Tom Davies.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Walcott were rested to allow Kieran Dowell and Ademola Lookman to start while Cenk Tosun and Bernard was also in the starting XI for the first time.
The two sides sparred in even fashion for the first quarter of an hour, with Stekelenburg the only goalkeeper to be worked in the early stages, saving from Ings.
Tosun had the first genuine sight of goal for the Blues but tried to do too much rather than take a shot and was closed down before the Turk exchanged passes with Bernard and the Brazilian forced a good save from Angus Gunn with an excellent effort.
Lookman became an increasingly inventive force as the half wore on and he went very close just past the half hour mark when he whipped a shot that curled inches past the post.
Everton got into a mess late in the first half when Schneiderlin's pass was unseen by Keane and it was seized upon by Southampton but while Nathan Redmond beat Stekelenburg, he was denied by the woodwork.
That merely delayed the inevitable by a few seconds as Ings ran at the home defence and fired past the 'keeper, who barely moved as it rolled past him, just before half-time.
Silva responded at the start of the second half by taking Dowell off and introducing Niasse to partner Tosun.
Lookman looked to have been handed his first goal of the season when he was put in one-on-one with the 'keeper but Gunn did superbly to make the save with almost an hour gone.
Richarlison was then added to the equation when he replaced Lookman but it was Stekelenburg who was next to be forced into action with a brilliant save off a corner as he palmed Bednarek's header over.
Hojberg then had another chance for the visitors but put it over as the home side struggled to create anything of their own at the other end.
A penalty claim when Richarlison went down under a challenge from Jack Stephens but referee Chris Kavanagh waved away the appeals.
Everton were consistently frustrating going forward but Kenny went close with a cracking effort before Schneiderlin was withdrawn in favour of Walcott with 12 minutes to go.
A rare breakthrough for the Blues saw Richarlison break towards goal and the Brazilian went down to howls of protest from the home fans but no free kick was given.
Seconds later, however, the equaliser finally came. Niasse picked up Zouma's header, played in Walcott and the substitute made no mistake with just Gunn to beat.
Keane had an opportunity as the clock ticked into the final minute but he despatched a free header over the bar before Tosun tried to capitalise on an error by Maya Yoshida but the 'keeper foiled him as he tried to take it around him.
Baines: scores, 1-0
Ings: scores, 1-1
Tosun: scores, 2-1
Davis: scores, 2-2
Richarlison: misses, 2-2
Hojberg: scores 2-3
Zouma: scores, 3-3
Targett: saved, 3-3
Walcott: saved, 3-3
Soares: scores, 3-4
Kick-off: 7:45pm, Tuesday, 2 October 2018
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Last Time: The two clubs have never met before in the League Cup but have in the FA Cup: Everton 2 - 1 Southampton, 10 January 1987
Everton: Stekelenburg, Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Baines, Davies, Schneiderlin (79' Walcott), Lookman (60' Richarlison), Bernard, Dowell (45' Niasse), Tosun.
Subs not Used: Virginia, Holgate, Digne, Gueye.
Why so many changes… EVERY YEAR?
I’m back from the game, it’s late, I’m tired, I’m in work early, and quite frankly, am at the end of my tether with these stupid, seasonal, early League Cup exits.
Everton are not a team who win trophies regularly. We are desperate for success and our neighbours, who don’t win much themselves any more, take the piss out of us every season for our cup drought. We have no right to make six changes in a knock out cup tie against a fellow Premier League team. We win that cup, we’re in Europe. Plus, if you win it, it’s still only February and you can still have a crack at the league. Why do we neglect it every single season? Just get the game won, then make your changes. I’m bored of my Kopite work colleagues and friends smugly dictating to me that “Everton should have a go at that cup. It’s realistically your best chance to win something”. Really? You think I don’t know that? I’ve had it with this, season after season. Why is it never a priority? Why?In terms of match report, I’m so annoyed I don’t really know where to start. Truth be
told, despite the changes, we played pretty well for most of the first half but started and finished it poorly, and in that period Danny Ings (who is obviously going to score against us every time he plays us now, no matter which team it’s for) prodded home with seemingly nobody exerting authority in the penalty area. It was fairly rough justice on Everton who really had Southgampton pinned back for quite a while but couldn’t find the goal during this time.
Into the second half and with Everton out of the traps quickly, Southampton quickly turned to taking the sting out of the game with players going down injured for sustained periods of time, and taking an age for throw ins and goal kicks. The referee, Chris Kavanagh, didn’t really get a handle on it. Still, there was a lot of huff and puff from Everton but with no end product. Oumar Niasse had a deflected effort easily saved by Angus Gunn; Ademola Lookman couldn’t make the most of Barnard’s clever through ball; and Jonjo Kenny smashed a distance effort narrowly wide as it curled away from goal, but really it was all too easy for Southampton in the second half. Richarlison twice dived to no avail as they were both waved away by Kavanagh. I must add I’m only assuming he dived as they weren’t given as fouls even with VAR. Regardless, I wish he’d stop this going to ground easily. He’s a superb talent but I wish he’d curb this petulance.
At the other end Southampton had chances to seal it and overall were good value for their victory. Theo Walcott threatened to spoil their party late on when he finished well following good work by Oumar Niasse. You sensed at that point that if the game was to go on for another 10 minutes Everton would have won. It wouldn’t exactly have been deserved but we had momentum at that point. I was therefore surprised and disappointed that Chris Kavanagh only signalled for three minutes of stoppage time. With a lot of time wasting, two quite lengthy VAR stoppages and three substitutions, I felt there would be longer than just the three minutes and you never know, it might have been enough for Everton to force the issue.
Instead it was on to penalties and we should have known what was coming. You dared to believe it might have been our night when Gunn got good contact onto Cenk Tosun’s spot kick, but couldn’t keep it out. Richarlison’s penalty however, was nothing short of appalling. The groans as soon as he staggered his run up told you all you needed to know about what the crowd thought, and it might even have put him off a little bit, but to sky it so badly was woeful. The Southampton players meanwhile all showed us how to take a penalty, until Maarten Stekelenburg saved Matt Targett’s penalty to make it 4-4 going into the last kicks before sudden death.
There was a sad inevitability about Theo’s spot kick being saved, and it wasn’t a great effort. The keeper guessed right and stopped it. As Cedric walked up to take the final penalty I noticed several people already leaving in the Park End. Truth be told, had my seat been nearer the aisle than it is I’d perhaps have done the same. Cedric scoring was as inevitable as Silva making so many changes to the team.
I’ll say it again - we have no right to treat this competition with such disdain. We really better make up for it in the FA Cup this season. Depressingly, it’s already probably all we’ve got.
Stekelenburg: Did pretty well in saving what he had to and distributed well. 7Baines: Still a class act is Baines as yet another chance for Leighton win a trophy at Everton goes before it even starts. My man of the match. 8Keane: Did OK. 6
Zouma: A bit unorthodox but he coped pretty well. If he has the nous to smash a penalty low and hard then what the heck is Richarlison up to? 7
Kenny: Had a good game at both ends of the pitch. 7
Schneiderlin: He put himself under pressure early in the game by getting a needless yellow card and was never really in the game. 4
Davies: I really wish people would get off his back. It’s getting quite disgraceful now. He was one of the few out there who was always showing for the ball and his positional sense was excellent. I can’t believe the stick he gets. 7
Dowell: Rather anonymous sadly and was rightly hooked at the break. 3
Bernard: He’s an exceptional talent who works very hard for the cause. It can’t be long before he’s a regular starter. 8
Lookman: Had a bright first half but faded in the second before he was substituted. 6
Tosun: After getting off the mark on Saturday I really hoped he’d be bang at it tonight but he was largely disappointing. Why does he always run like his hamstrings are done? 5
Niasse: What he may lack in ability he makes up for with heart and he had a pretty good second half, which included an assist for our equaliser. 6
Richarlison: Very disappointing. Didn’t get going, dived around a lot and his penalty was a disgrace. He'd best make up for it quick at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. 4
Walcott: I can live with a penalty miss when it’s at least aimed at one of the corners and is on target. Especially when the player has just come on to good effect and scored. A good contribution in a short time from Theo. Didn’t deserve to be the fall guy. 7
Everton and Southampton belatedly meet in the third round of the Carabao Cup this evening with Leicester City awaiting the winners.
The Blues are fresh from their uplifting weekend victory over Fulham and go in search of what would be Marco Silva's fourth win in all competitions with the club and the second over the Saints.
Everton beat Mark Hughes's side 2-1 at Goodison Park in August and a repeat of that scoreline would be more than welcome for a supporter base that is desperate to see the club throw everything at the cup competitions this season in a bid to end a trophy drought that is in its 24th year.
While a degree of continuity will be important, particularly, you feel, at centre half where Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma have formed a solid-looking partnership over the last couple of games, Silva is likely to make a number of changes to the side that started against Arsenal and Fulham.
Maarten Stekelenburg could be handed the starting role between the sticks like he was in the last round, Leighton Baines could be recalled after losing his spot to Lucas Digne, and Morgan Schneiderlin could come back into midfield, with Tom Davies either making way or, perhaps, moving further forward in midfield.
Gylfi Sigurdsson might be rested while Cenk Tosun and Bernard are good bets to start so that they can establish some rhythm in the first team while Ademola Lookman, a fringe figure so far, could also get a look-in at some stage.
Kick-off: 7:45pm, Tuesday 2 October, 2018
Last Time: The two clubs have never met before in the League Cup but have in the FA Cup: Everton 2 - 1 Southampton, 10 January, 1987
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies, Bernard, Richarlison, Tosun