Everton are into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after eventually prevailing against struggling Watford thanks to Mason Holgate's breakthrough 18 minutes from time.
The defender headed home Theo Walcott's cross to register his first goal for the Blues and set them on the way to a largely uninspiring victory that was rounded off by Richarlison's break-away goal in stoppage time against his old club.
Needing a response to the demoralising defeat at Brighton on Saturday, Marco Silva made further changes to his line-up, replacing Walcott with Moise Kean for a rare start, restoring Seamus Coleman and Fabian Delph to the starting XI at the expense of Djibril Sidibé and Tom Davies, deploying Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front, and bringing Yerry Mina back into the defence after injury… prematurely as it turned out.
Mina would last just 41 minutes of a turgid first half that featured very little of note and had to come off with a recurrence of the knee injury that had kept him out of the Brighton game.
His towering presence was replaced by Michael Keane while Kean was, somewhat harshly, withdrawn at the interval in favour of Walcott, a decision that would reap rewards for Silva in the second period.
Walcott injected some experience and nous to the right flank as Everton gradually grew into the match as an attacking force after half-time and particularly after Andre Gray had stung the palms of Jordan Pickford with the first real shot of the evening.
The Hornets' attacker picked up a fortunate bounce around 25 yards from goal and hammered a shot that the goalkeeper did well to beat away but as the hour mark ticked by, the home side started to make inroads at the other end.
First, Keane headed a great chance straight at Huerelho Gomes from a free kick. Then André Gomes had a shot cleared off the line following a great run by Richarlison down the left and Alex Iwobi curled a shot off the face of the crossbar from near the penalty spot as Everton got closer to breaking the deadlock.
Digne saw a deflected free-kick also bounce off the top of the woodwork before the Toffees' quality and pressure told on Watford. Iwobi got the better of Gerard Deulofeu, who had come on shortly beforehand as a substitute for the visitors, and following some great footwork dug out a cross that just eluded Holgate.
Walcott picked the ball up on the far side of the box, however, and put a neat ball into the six-yard box where Holgate was free to head home from close range.
Watford's attempts to get back into the game were fairly tepid against an Everton side that now looked fairly comfortable and when Deulofeu's attempted shot from outside the home area was blocked by Keane, the ball broke to substitute Cenk Tosun and he sent Richarlison galloping away with just one defender back.
The Brazilian surged into the box, cut back inside his man and then lashed the ball past his compatriot Gomes in the opposition goal to seal Everton's passage into the last eight.
Everton struggled to break down Watford in a dreadful first half of this Carabao Cup game, but finally broke through thanks to Holgate, with Richarlison sealing it in the last minute.
Silva made five changes but still kept Sigurdsson on the bench with Schneiderlin not part of the squad.
Watford kicked off on a crisp clear night under the Goodison lights and Coleman won a corner inside the first minute. Digne crossed it in after taking it short and Gomes set up a weak and poorly directed header for Calvert-Lewin.
Everton failed to do much with a free-kick after Calvert-Lewin was hauled down. The move ended up with Watford attacking and winning a corner themselves but the ref blew up for a push on an Everton defender.
Moise Kean went on a great run down the right but could not get beyond his man and drove his shot into the Watford defender. Everton were then back defending, somewhat nervously. Everton tried the crossfield diagonal through Delph, spoilt by Richarlison wandering offside.
The pace of the game was moderate at best, with a lot of conservative passing and very little meaningful forward play, neither side really looking that impressive.
Richarlison made a brilliant run from deep in the Everton half, setting up Calvert-Lewin by playing the ball behind rather than in front of his Everton colleague... dreadful.
Watford responded by putting together a pretty threatening move and cross by Pereyra that was screwed wide. Mariappa went in strongly from behind on Iwobi, causing some anger, but no card from the ref.
The pace of the game, if possible, dropped even further, as both sides were effectively cancelling each other out, and a complete absence of any real cup-tie intensity, the play spoilt repeatedly by poor passing and a lack of drive or deire.
Holgate resorted to a long ball that Calvert-Lewin controlled well enough but simply did nothing useful with. Everton at least played a few passes in the Watford half before dropping back yet again, putting the lie to Silva's hollow promise that Everton would show the same desire as in the last two cup games.
Coleman had his pocket picked and it needed Mina to stop Chalobah, Everton continuing to look less than confident at the back and uninspiring going forward. Iwobi dug out a cross but Gomes in the Watford goal was more than equal to it.
Kean tried to dribble past three men and was stopped before he could shoot. Quina went down and was taken off, Everton playing on before Doucouré could get on, while Mina pulled up and started to hobble.
A low ball in was aimed for Calvert-Lewin but it was intercepted for a corner, Mina trying for it and then he finally went to ground and Michael Keane was readied to replace him.
Richarlison was nudged and collapsed in front of the Watford fans, denied any foul, much to the amusement of the 300 Watford fans who had made the effort to attend. Iwobi was quick onto a loose ball but could not curl it past Gomes.
Richarlison did a lot better to work his way past three Watford players but Iwobi lost the ball too easily and a very disappointing half finally came to an end. Poor fayre.
Moise Kean was hauled off at half-time, with Walcott on to presumably provide more end-product? Unlikely. It certainly had no effect on the pedestrian pace of proceedings from the restart. Iwobi tried to play in Walcott but Gomes was alert to the danger. At least it showed a little more of that missing 'desire'.
Doucoure had a good run down the middle but Watford, thankfully, were as ineffective as their illustrious hosts when it comes to threatening goal. At the other end, a ball swung in just bounced off Keane and out for a goal-kick.
Digne got the chance for a long throw that Gomes stepped out to grasp. Richarlison had a chance to cross but overhit it horribly. At the other end, a fantastic strike by Gray pulled a fantastic stop out of Pickford. The corner was defended well enough.
The tempo and atmosphere built up a little but Watford then broke and Pickford stopped them. Suddenly, it was end-to-end full of life. Walcott put in a low cross that deserved conversion but it didn't happen.
Prödl gave away a needless free-kick, pushing Digne over, who delivered a brilliant cross on the noggin of Keane with the goal at his mercy... and he heads it straight at Gomes. Dear god... More end-to-end stuff gave some hope that the intensity was increasing but Digne shot at goal instead of crossing and Gomes again gathered easily.
Much better penetration form Richarlison and a deep pullback saw Gomes's shot blocked behind Gomes by a defender and Watford galloped away. At the other end, the ball fell to Iwobi from Calvert-Lewin and a fantastic snapshot beat Gomes all hands down only to smack the top of the post!
The familiar face of Gerard Deulofeu came on in place of Pereyra. Gomes was fouled by Doucouré, who was carded. A set-piece chance for Digne, clipped off the top of the wall and the top of the crossbar! The corner was short, Walcott getting in a weak header. Richarlison tried to beat two men and failed, letting Watford advance and Gray handballed, halting the threat.
Everton were finally building much-need momentum but the ball seemingly would not go in... until it finally did! Mason Holgate heading in from point-blank range off a beautiful cross from Walcott. It had been coming...
Watford finally came out of their shell and looked to push the Blues back. Sensing more goals, Silva switched Calvert-Lewin for Tosun for the last 10 minutes. Walcott tried to skip through but was caught by Cathcart as Will Hughes went down after trying to foul Delph and needed treatment.
Everton finally took the free-kick, Digne going for the near post but not clever enough by far, his shot weak and off-target. It really became a question of game management as the minutes ticked by without too much of a threat from the Hornets.
But Everton of course put themselves under pressure in the final minutes, until Richarlison broke smartly and would not be denied a fine fish to seal the win in the last minute of added time.
Scorer: Holgate (73'), Richarlison (90+3')
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Mina (41' Keane), Digne, Gomes, Delph, Kean (46' Walcott), Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin (80' Tosun).
Subs: Lössl, Sigurdsson, Sidibe, Davies.
Watford: Gomes, Foulquier, Mariappa [Y:90'], Prödl (65' Kabasele), Cathcart, Femenía, Hughes, Chalobah, Quina (39' Doucouré [Y:68']), Gray, Pereyra (67' Deulofeu).
Subs not Used: Janmaat, Masina, Bachmann, Dalby.
Refereee: Simon Hooper
Everton look to the Carabao Cup again this evening to lift them out of their Premier League doldrums as Watford come to Goodison Park.
A place in quarter-finals beckons for the Blues if they can regroup following Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Brighton and overcome the Hornets for the second time this season.
Marco Silva oversaw his first win of the 2019-20 season when Watford made the trip to L4 in August thanks to Bernard's solitary goal and the Portuguese will be hoping for similar this time around.
Of course, the Brazilian won't be in the line-up because of the ligament injury he sustained at the Amex Stadium and that will force one change at least on the manager who has made a habit of mixing things up for the League Cup.
His options in defence will be limited if Yerry Mina isn't able to shake off a knee complaint as Silva will again be left with just two senior centre-halves but there are choices to be made elsewhere in the side if he does want to deviate from the side that started at Brighton.
Gylfi Sigurdsson could come back into the team to replace Bernard and that would pave the way of Dominic Calvert-Lewin to start up front while Richarlison moves back out wide and it's possible that Silva will reinstate Seamus Coleman after the skipper sat out on Saturday.
Watford, meanwhile, have some injury concerns as they adjust to life with Quique Sánchez Flores back in the hotseat. Jose Holebas is available again after serving a one-match suspension and Etienne Capoue could return after resuming training, but Femenia is a doubt after missed the goalless draw with Bournemouth because of illness, and Danny Welbeck is ruled out for at least the next two or three months.
Once again, there is talk that the outcome of this match could have significant ramifications for Silva if it's not a favourable one for Everton. As such, it's one he knows he must win to keep alive the hopes of reaching Wembley and once again ease the pressure on his shoulders.
“Our goal and our ambition in the competition is clear and this is not the moment for us to hide," he said in The Guardian. "We want to reach the end of the competition, the final.
"What I expect from our team is the same desire we showed in the last two [cup] games we won. If we can do the same performance that we did against West Ham, we will be really close to winning the game.”
Kick-off: 7:45pm, Tuesday 29 October 2019
Last Time: Everton 2 - 1 Watford (LC 2nd Rnd, 1st Leg, September 1991)
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Gomes, Delph, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin