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Everton recover to sail past Blades

24/08/2011 |   Comments () :  Add your Comments
Everton booked safe passage to the Carling Cup 3rd round with what was in the end a comfortable win over Sheffield United. A sucker-punch from Richard Cresswell after 27 minutes had the alarm balls ringing but when Cresswell turned Jack Rodwell's low shot into his own net just two minutes later and goals by Anichebe and Arteta put the Blues into a commanding half-time lead, the result was never in doubt. A slower second half was lit up by a rasping Osman shot off the post but Everton coasted into the draw for the next round.

David Moyes made five changes to the team that started against QPR on Saturday, with Victor Anichebe leading the line after Jermaine Beckford was rested because of a knee strain and Tim Cahill missed out due to illness.

Marouane Fellaini and Mikel Arteta, both of whom made substitute appearances at the weekend, both started this time around, Tony Hibbert came in for Phil Neville at right back, Sylvain Distin dropped back to the bench, replaced by John Heitinga in central defense, and Jan Mucha made a rare appearance in goal.

Jack Rodwell, who struggled on the right wing against QPR was moved inside and enjoyed a much better game.

Though this was a potential cup banana skin, Everton seemed keen to avoid an upset with a purposeful start to the game that saw Fellaini, the energetic Ross Barkley and Anichebe all test ex-Everton 'keeper Steve Simonsen with shots from around the edges of the penalty area.

But they succumbed to another frustrating lapse in concentration at the back when Phil Jagielka misjudged Quinn's cross and Richard Cresswell slid in to hand Sheffield United the lead with their first meaningful attempt on Mucha's goal.

Thankfully, the response from the home side was immediate. After Leighton Baines had fired a free kick into the wall, the Blues kept possession and eventually Rodwell forced the equaliser in via a deflection off Cresswell.

Five minutes later, Osman surged forward into the Blades' half before feeding Barkley and when the 17 year-old's cross found Anichebe, the striker prodded home his first goal in over a year to send a wave of relief around Goodison Park.

2-1 became 3-1 a few minutes before the break when Barkley was the provider again, this time cueing up Arteta who drove a precise shot inside the post from the edge of the box.

Though Everton pressed further in the second half and Simonsen had to be at his best to deny Barkley his first goal for the senior side, Moyes's side were able to take their foot off the pedal after half time and bring on Louis Saha for the last 25 minutes and then, in a double switch, throw Neville and Jose Baxter into the mix as well. Somewhat disappointingly, Apostolos Vellios was left on the bench.

Osman hammering a shot off the post in the 75th minute and Anichebe dispossessing Francois, only to then be dispossed himself when he delayed his shot and the defender closed him down, were the closest the Blues came to extending their advantage but Moyes was rightly pleased after the final whistle had ushered his side safely into Saturday's Third Round draw.

Original Source: ToffeWeb Match Summary

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