Everton 4 - 0 Yeovil Town
With home cup games now counting as away credits, you almost dare not miss a home cup game anymore at risk of missing out should we get to Wembley this season. Though with a new manager not long through the door there is still a bit of initial excitement about going the game and seeing some of the new signings. All of them featured in our English Football League Cup Second Round tie at home to Yeovil Town of League Two with Ross Barkley given the privilege of skippering the side on his 116th Everton appearance. As promised, Ronald Koeman fielded a strong side.
With my season card not working in the home game against Tottenham Hotspur I had to collect a new one from the Goodison Road ticket office before kick off. I was convinced it wasn't going to work again as I walked through the turnstyle but thankfully it was fine, and after meeting the guys in the pub for a quick pint we were in the ground, comfortably in time for kick off, Everton attacking the Park End in the first half.
Romalu Lukaku, still awaiting his first goal of the season, missed perhaps the best of our early chances and we were nearly punished when Matt Butcher was unlucky with a great effort on goal from the edge of the penalty area. Another Yeovil Town player also came close with a header from a corner kick as the visitors, backed by a solid following of 903 supporters on a long mid-week journey, seemed to be enjoying themselves. Their fans got plucky too, and were having fun singing about the "library" that is Goodison Park. They were stopped in their tracks however when just as they taunted, James McCarthy played the ball back for Aaron Lennon to slot home, giving Everton the advantage. We got to the break a goal to the good.
The second half consisted of plenty of probing, and though we were comfortable with Yeovil Town opportunities very few and far between, we struggled to make the most of our opportunities with crosses over-hit, passes over-played and shooting somewhat wasteful. Romalu Lukaku missed another good opportunity and the longer the game went on at 1-0 you really hoped we could just finish them off. The prospect of extra time really wasn't very appetising.
Thankfully we as good as put the game to bed on 69 minutes when Artur Krysiak was beaten at his near post too easily from a Ross Barkley free kick. Though I wasn't aware of it at the time, Ross offered a nice gesture to Sid Benson, the recently deceased scout who discovered his talent, upon scoring his goal. It was nice to see Ross score on the night he captained Everton for the first time.
Arouna Kone was given a bit of game time and good on the Ivorian for making the most of his opportunity with two fine goals. One a great finish from the edge of the penalty area, the other when he was somehow afforded time and space to wriggle inside the penalty area from a corner before scoring from close range. He did well to take his chances, but as Ste said, it's all well and good doing it in the last minute against an exhausted Yeovil Town. Can he do it in the Premier League?
The 4-0 scoreline certainly put some gloss on the scoresheet, and though we have to be satisfied with a comfortable victory and safe passage into the Third Round, we can certainly make more of our opportunities in and around the penalty area.
Leaving the ground we hit all sorts of roadworks whilst trying to take our usual shortcut towards the Queensway tunnel. It felt like something of a labyrinth as we seemed to meet road closure after road closure until Ste navigated us safely towards home. I'll be sure to check the roadworks prior to Saturday's battle with Stoke City.
Stekelenburg: Had an easy night really but came and caught what he had to. Distribution I'm still not sure about. 6
Oviedo: Full of effort but his crossing was generally poor and he seemed a bit light defensively at times. 5
Funes Mori: Question marks remain over his defensive abilities for me. 6
Williams: Seemed to take a little bit of time to settle but coped fine once in the groove. 6
Holgate: He doesn't really put a foot wrong defensively, that's not a problem. Going forward from right back however, though he gives it his best shot, is just not his position. Cover/quality competition for Seamus Coleman should be on our shopping list, whether that be externally or with Callum Connolly perhaps. 6
McCarthy: Back in his more familiar position in the midfield, James ran hard and kept things ticking over nicely, even claiming an assist. My man of the match. 8
Gueye: Hit that consistent level we already expect. A great player. 7
Bolasie: Some flashes of brilliance though was in and out of the game. I got the impression he was only really playing at 60%. Loads more to come from him. 7 Lennon: Always lively and industrious, and will be pleased to have gotten on the scoresheet also. 7
Barkley: Nice to see him get his goal on the night he skippered the side for the first time. 7
Lukaku: His presence is good but he was wasteful with his opportunities. Will come good at the weekend I think. 5
Gibson (for McCarthy): Kept things ticking over nicely. 6
Cleverley (for Holgate): Worked hard down the right. 6
Kone (for Barkley): Well you can't ask for more than that. Will be interesting to see if he's earned an opportunity for the weekend. 8
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