Everton cruise through but at a cost

, 25 January, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Stevenage 0 - 4 Everton

Everton made comfortable work of a potentially tricky tie at Stevenage with a handsome 4-0 win but the evening was marred by a horrific injury to Bryan Oviedo.

The Blues were a goal up thanks to John Stones' superb block from Francois Zoko in front of an empty goal and Steven Naismith's early opener when the Costa Rican was caught by Simon Heslop as he tried to shoot from distance and was stretchered off with a broken leg.

Roberto Martinez confirmed after the game that the 23 year-old suffered a fracture to both his tibia and fibula and will undergo surgery on Monday, ending his season and putting his involvement in the summer's World Cup Finals in serious doubt.

Everton remained composed, though, despite the players' visible distress at Oviedo's plight and, having weathered early Stevenage pressure on a heavy pitch, doubled their lead after 32 minutes.

Naismith was released by Leon Osman's pass and he poked home to make it 2-0 and put the Blues firmly in the driving seat.

The home side were not without threat and Joel Robles had to make an excellent save from Morais' curling free-kick, pawing the ball away from the top corner in the 26th minute

The second half was more routine for Everton and, after Kevin Mirallas' twisting run had forced a save from Day in the Stevenage goal, the Belgian executed a superb overhead kick from the resulting corner to provide John Heitinga, who had replaced Phil Jagielka as a precaution at half time, with a free header that he planted home via a deflection of a defender.

Naismith then had his chance to notch a hat-trick ruined by an erroneous offside flag and was booked for floating the ball into the goal anyway.

Zoko, meanwhile, prodded a terrific chance for a consolation goal wide after expertly bringing Freeman's cross down on his chest and Robles had to be at his best to push a deflected corner behind at his near post as Everton's defence held against the League One side.

Mirallas was removed from the fray in the 80th minute to protect him ahead of Tuesday's Merseyside derby and his replacement, Magaye Gueye, marked a rare appearance with the fourth goal. The Frenchman was picked out by Osman's excellent pass and, after holding his marker, he tucked the ball past the 'keeper to seal the win.

Though the Lemax Stadium pitch was like treacle in places, it did not stop Everton from controlling much of the match with their passing game but it played a big part in denying the home side a goal in the 90th minute.

Robles got a hand to Darius Charles' shot but the shot had enough on it to have dribbled home in dryer conditions. Instead, the ball held up in the mud and a combination of Heitinga and the goalkeeper prevented Stevenage from bundling the ball home on the line.

Everton now progress to the Fifth Round for the fourth season running and Martinez remains on course for a second-successive FA Cup triumph.

Quotes or other material sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports

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