Mission Accomplished at Dean Court

Everton redeemed themselves to a large degree for November's capitulation on Bournemouth's turf in the Premier League with a 2-0 win and passage to the FA Cup Quarter Finals.

Lyndon Lloyd 20/02/2016 40comments  |  Jump to last
Bournemouth 0 - 2 Everton

The dream of a Wembley final and a trophy to lift what could otherwise be a season of frustration remains alive after Everton successfully negotiated a potentially difficult FA Cup Fifth Round tie to book passage to the Quarter Finals.

A fourth win in give games in all competitions represented a job well done for the Blues on the south coast and helped dull, for now at least, lingering pains from last weekend's defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League that had once again thrown up fears of another wasted year.

It also provided redemption for their capitulation on this ground in late November. Thanks to an excellent penalty save from Joel Robles and two second-half goals from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, Everton made sure with their second bite at the Cherries this season.

While the WBA loss had thrown the question of Roberto Martinez's long-term future at Goodison Park back into virtual and real-world pub discussions alike, it was the influence of fortune that has dominated much of the Everton-related talk in recent days. As if in response, Lady Luck relented a little today, offering Barkley's 55th-minute opener a little helping hand over goalkeeper Adam Federici, perhaps influencing the direction of Robles's dive when faced by Charlie Daniels from 12 yards, and diverting Junior Stanilaus's direct free kick off the defensive wall and maybe a foot wide of his post at a crucial period of the second half when it was only 1-0.

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Ultimately, though, the Blues overcame what was an untidy first half and were strong enough overall on the day to push through to the next round on their own merits.

To his credit, the manager erred on the side of continuity, naming an unchanged line-up from last Saturday's exercise in attacking futility and left a trio of one-time first-team certainties in the form of Tim Howard, John Stones and Leighton Baines on the substitutes' bench. Just as encouragingly, he found no room in the dugout for Arouna Kone who made way for new signing Oumar Niasse, a player of whom the travelling fans would get their first glimpses, however inconclusive, with a 10-minute cameo at the end.

Though they would dominate the opening quarter of the contest, Everton weren't quite on their game, however, and the chemistry certainly didn't appear to be there between Barkley and Lukaku up top, while the deliveries from the flanks by Seamus Coleman, Aaron Lennon, Tom Cleverley and Bryan Oviedo left plenty to be desired as well.

Moments to excite the 2,000-plus travelling Blues were few and far between in the first 45 minutes but Lukaku provided the best of them when he burst down the left flank, cut along the byline and then tried to filck the ball past Federici but was foiled by the keeper's leg.

At the other end, Juan Iturbe's surging run and shot that flew wide and another even more wild effort by Stanislaus were the only real signs of intent from Eddie Howe's men until they were gifted the chance to take an undeserved lead eight minutes before the break.

James McCarthy, his finger already on the self-destruct button with a rash, late tackle on Iturbe that earned him an uncomfortably early booking in the 18th minute, visibly handled the ball trying to field a deep Bournemouth corner giving Martin Atkinson all the invitation he needed to point to the spot.

Robles anticipated the direction of the resulting penalty, though, and leapt to his left to push the shot away and watched in relief as the rebound was lashed into the side-netting.

Not surprisingly, Everton were better after the half-time interval and, after a Lennon volley had been deflected behind for a corner and McCarthy sliced a first-time shot well wide, Barkley gave them a precious lead. Collecting Cleverley's pass, he had time to measure a shot that nicked off Dan Gosling's boot and arced over Federici's flailing gloves.

Three minutes later, the 22-year-old looked to have served up the second for Lukaku who finished in typically clinical fashion but the Belgian was ruled marginally offside.

Had it been allowed, that 'goal' might have killed the game there and then. Having lost their previous two matches, both at home, in fairly convincing fashion, the Cherries weren't at their energetic best and they certainly lacked the kind of service from the flanks or the shooting accuracy that had brought them back from the dead in this fixture three months ago.

Nevertheless, in chasing that 1-0 deficit for the ensuing 20 minutes, they had their best spell of the game and they were unfortunate that Stanislaus's free kick was deflected the wrong side of the post from their point of view, denied by Phil Jagielka's crucial block on Glenn Murray's drive from the angle, and frustrated when Gosling planted a free header straight into Robles's grateful arms from six yards out.

Ritchie then swept a good chance wide after Joshua King had surged past the otherwise solid Ramiro Funes Mori and delivered an inviting cutback. But Everton underscored their superiority with a lovely move that eventually led to the corner from which Lukaku plundered the second. It started deep in their own half with the game's best player, Gareth Barry, and ended with Aaron Lennon collecting McCarthy's backheel, nudging it on the Barkley in oceans of space in the box and his shot taking a vital deflection off Eunan O'Kane's elbow.

Barry, who had led by example with an excellent display, would play a delicious role in creating the goal for Lukaku, as well with a deft flick with the inside of the boot to guide Oviedo's short corner into the striker's path in front of goal where he couldn't miss from five yards.

That was the cue for both he and Barkley to depart for a well-earned rest and Kevin Mirallas and Niasse to lead the line for the final 10 minutes or so in which the former would despatch one wayward into the away fans from 20-off yards.

It wasn't the most attractive victory of the season - although there were some lovely touches and moments to be enjoyed here and there - particularly in the first half, where things broke down to a frustrating degree in the final third, but they don't all have to be. Away from home in the last 16 of a cup competition, the result is of paramount importance; anything else is gravy.

Having escaped the setback of going a goal down thanks to Robles's heroics, Everton retained the conditions by which they could go on and win the game by what was a fairly comfortable scoreline, and progress to the last eight.

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Reader Comments (40)

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Jon Withey
1 Posted 21/02/2016 at 09:24:22
Great write-up, thanks Lyndon.

It was a weird match that I didn’t enjoy much apart from some bits and pieces from Barkley and determination from Jags, Funes Mori and Robles.

And Barry, obviously, who is like some sort of English equivalent Pirlo in his old age.

Some shocking play at times, which I’ll partly put down to the wind.

Christopher Timmins
2 Posted 21/02/2016 at 09:45:38
Lyndon, for the first time in a long time I thought we played poorly and won. One game from Wembley and two away from a Wembley final.

Ian Riley
3 Posted 21/02/2016 at 10:08:38
The most interesting part of yesterday’s match was the post match press conference by Roberto. Even he was critical of our first half procession (sic? 'possession') football going nowhere. Perhaps he has turned a corner in realising it’s not just the fans seeing that our style and pace is that of a training camp, keep the ball!!

I do think Roberto realised yesterday that, if we had lost, our season was dead with his future being the main topic for the rest of the season. A Wembley appearance may just save him for another season.

Roberto is coming under pressure by all sides of the media. I believe this is due to the regular top four not being at the races. Furthermore, the pundits are now ex-manager’s understanding the fans' frustration with the level of quality we have in the squad.

A break in the sun may do the players and staff good. Only time will tell!!

Ray Robinson
4 Posted 21/02/2016 at 10:13:27
I’ve given some stick to Martinez recently and nothing has really changed my opinion of him after the win at Bournemouth but I will give him kudos for playing the correct team at the Vitality Stadium. By-and-large, the line-up, tactics, substitutions and game management towards the end of the match looked spot on.

Now please keep Robles in goal, consider giving Mirallas more playing time when possible, and only recall Stones when the situation warrants.

Iain Love
5 Posted 21/02/2016 at 11:56:18
Hey a win's a win, we didn’t look convincing and Bournemouth were in the game until our second goal. Barry was excellent and I thought Lennon did well, especially tracking back.

My bone of contention is McCarthy. First, a needless yellow, and second, that stupid penalty, which could have led to another yellow and a goal and a man down.

Howe had rung the changes due to their position in the Premier League yet we persist in two holding midfielders; the West Brom game also comes to mind as a time to adjust our shape. Moving Cleverley to that position would have given us a bit more on the attacking front and bringing Deulofeu in would give us more threat down the wings and a better final ball for Big Rom instead of relying on Ross’s wayward delivery.

That numpty Merson said recently that he couldn’t see much difference squadwise between us and Spurs, yet they are 2nd and we aren’t... Take away Kane, Lukaku and Delli, Ross... we play Cleverley they play Erickson the difference there is 10 goals scored or created, yet put Deulofeu in, and the difference is only 4 with Erickson's playing time a hell of a lot more.

Phil Williams
6 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:00:53
Lyndon, it is you who should take credit for our win. Your article on the appeal to coincidence created a great discussion on Lady Luck. Well someone up there must have read it and took sympathy with us.

Yes, we were the better team yesterday, but Barkley's deflection, Robles's save (not to mention that McCarthy could easily have been sent off for a second bookable), the deflected shot and Gosling’s header were all slices of good fortune that went our way for a change. Long may it last and let’s just hope it continues today with a favourable quarter final draw.

David Ellis
7 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:04:58
Iain (#5), to be fair, it wasn’t a needless yellow. It broke up a counter attack from that very threatening right mid that Bournemouth have just acquired from an Italian club on loan. Also, I'm not sure it was deliberate as the guy was very quick and his speed surprised McCarthy – but it was an important tackle/foul.

My longer term concern with McCarthy is that I don’t think he has ever scored a goal for Everton (or it is just one?). His shooting is appalling at this level. He gets into good positions but always seems wayward. Perhaps a bit of practice is in order...

Ray Roche
8 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:10:26
Iain (#5),

I was thinking along the same lines, Iain. After McCarthy was booked, I would have subbed him sooner rather than later, moved Cleverley into his more natural central role, and brought on Mirallas or Deulofeu to run at them.

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the comment was made that Deulofeu plays centre-mid for Spain under 21 team where he’s scored 13 goals in 24 games. It is where Barcelona apparently see his future role.

At least Niasse has had a taste of the game over here even though it was too short to make an impact or form any sort of opinion, but, as you say, a win's a win.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:12:48
It’s going to get a whole lot harder from here on though, unless we get fortunate enough to get Reading in the Quarterfinals.

You think there’s still got to be two really huge performances left in us in the Cup though; we need to improve to beat the likes of Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham or Manchester United.

That first half yesterday did have me asking why it happened, it does happen too often and, but for Robles's save, it could have been a lot different.

Paul Andrews
10 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:15:33
Mission accomplished indeed. Two scored and a clean sheet,the 4th clean sheet in 5 games since the Jagielka - Funes Mori partnership at centre-half.

I can't see a way for Stones to get back into the side, unless Martinez experiments with 3 centre-halves and wing-backs.

That would give us a solid 3 in midfield and allow a player to play off the shoulder of Lukaku.
Ernie Baywood
11 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:16:33
He’s got at least two. I seem to recall another as well. But yes it’s definitely a weakness.

That said, I think people are quick to criticise McCarthy for the opposite reason they criticise Barkley. So again we’re getting back to this idea that every player should be a brilliant all rounder... and I think we’d struggle to name many in the history of the game who actually were.

As for people (I’ve seen three such posts now) claiming that McCarthy could have been sent off for his handball. Well that’s only true if you accept that any handball could be a yellow. It would have been one of the worst decisions of the year if he’d been punished for a putting his arm out under pressure from a high ball.

I’m lacking a bit of optimism right now but even I can’t subscribe to the ’reverse bias’ going around at the moment.

Paul Thompson
13 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:27:30
We were poor in the first half, but so were Bournemouth, who created nothing (the pen was a gift). Who knows what would have happened if it had gone in, but it didn’t and we continued to ride our luck.

Defensively we were pretty solid, but didn’t create much. There was numerous calls for Rom to be subbed on the Live Forum, but (not the first time) he was isolated, but despite that always looked our most likely scorer.

Two small points: Coleman’s marauding runs are great, but will the lad ever learn to cross a ball? (It’s a rhetorical question to which we know the answer...)

Second, in a sea of mediocrity, it’s a pleasure to watch Barry. Such a smart and strong player. There were a lot of moans when we extended his contract, but he’s been our best player this season.

Ben Jones
14 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:30:19
McCarthy is a defensive midfielder, his job isn't to score goals. He again covered so much ground and did a good job defensively. It wasn't his strongest game but it's been no coincidence we've been consistent since he's been in the team.

He did that delicious back heel to Aaron Lennon in our best move of the game. Why hasn't anyone mentioned that?

Really good summary of the game though Lyndon, I thought Jags was man of the match personally. King had some pace on him and Jags dealt with it very well.

Richard Farrington
15 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:36:46
Just got back from the game.

Our end was right up for it at kick-off but the atmosphere had become subdued by half-time as another dull showing zapped the energy from the faithful... well, it certainly did for me, it was basically rubbish and more of Martinez’s brand of footy that I just don’t and never will like.

We won the game in the end against Bournemouth reserves with two raggy goals. I sincerely hope we make Wembley but I fear that our luck in the draw so far will come to a crashing end in Round 6.

Sorry if this is too pessimistic for some to read but it's how I am feeling right now.

Chris Gould
17 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:39:43
Well said, Ernie, it’s getting a bit much. The ’reverse bias’, as you aptly term it, is frustrating to read. Positives are excused away and any slight negative is jumped on.

We won away from home against a Premier League club, without conceding a goal. Many have been moaning that we should be able to grind out results and win ugly against the lower teams. We did that, and then people moan that we didn’t look particularly good in doing it. It’s getting silly.

Iain Love
18 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:45:09
David (#7), my take was it wasn’t last man or a breakaway, middle of the park with 3 or 4 of our players between him and goal. I might be wrong, but that is his job. I think that the team we have now needs more from him and I certainly wouldn’t drop Barry.

I remember in the '80s when we had goals throughout the team, we bought Lineker and although he scored the rest of the team didn’t, we sold him and the team started scoring again. The best teams have goals throughout and we have our goal scorers on the bench Super Kev and Magic Gerry to accommodate Cleverley and McCarthy. Plus our defensive record doesn’t say two defensive midfielders work.

Iain Love
19 Posted 21/02/2016 at 12:52:06
Ernie 11, a deliberate handball could bring a yellow, not 'should' or 'would'... but 'could'.
Tom Bowers
20 Posted 21/02/2016 at 13:45:47
It takes two teams to make a good match and the Cherries are poor.
Parking the bus on your own patch is disrespecting their paying fans so it was a case really of Everton doing the necessary albeit after giving them one or two chances to take the lead.
Mike Powell
21 Posted 21/02/2016 at 14:47:30
How did Lukaku get MotM? That was one off his worst games. Was Keown watching a different game. We might've won but against a half-decent team we would've lost. That was basically Bournemouth's second string. Anyway, let's hope the draw is good to us.
Trevor Lynes
22 Posted 21/02/2016 at 15:30:23
I have said all season and before Naismith was sold that opponents only need to concentrate on stopping Lukaku and our goals will dry up. Apart from Mirallas and Naismith our supposed attack force scored less than Jags. This season Barkley has scored a few but we have too many midfielders who never score.

To see Mirallas sitting on the bench with Barry, McCarthy and Cleverley all playing is frustrating for me. Without Baines at left back, we have the bulk of our side filled with non-scorers. Funes Mori has scored more than most of our midfielders and that is nowhere near good enough.

Look at the stats: Coleman is more potent than the likes of Besic, Barry, McCarthy, Kone, Oviedo and Osman. This game of ours is about scoring goals and we have one ’real’ goal threat in our starting side. If Mirallas is not playing from the start then he must be the first sub used when we are chasing the game. Against WBA we brought on three non scorers as subs when we were a goal down, FFS.

Tamhas Woods
23 Posted 21/02/2016 at 16:12:43
Inept? Shocking?.... I really don't know what game everyone else was watching.

Alright, a team like Arsenal would have ragged us yes, but it was the first time since the 4-0 over Villa that I felt we really controlled a game and frustrated the opposition.

Mike Powell
24 Posted 21/02/2016 at 17:13:51
A woeful performance – so slow and pedestrian like... Yes, we won the game but it was their second team. We have played like that most of the season, things are not improving. I just hope the draw is kind to us because, if we get Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City or Man Utd, our season will be over.
Steve Davies
25 Posted 21/02/2016 at 17:26:02
Great article, Lyndon.

The result was the main thing. I would love to take my kids to Wembley. With a little bit of luck......

Mike Gaynes
26 Posted 21/02/2016 at 17:37:19
Ray Roche (#8), lots of folks on the Live Forum yesterday were advocating the same substitution. I wanted it at half-time. RM eventually did make it, but not soon enough to prevent some nervousness in the congregation about a second yellow. Macca did have a much better second half after a miserable first.

Ernie (#11), Macca is listed as having three goals for us, but like you I remember only two.

Ernie Baywood
28 Posted 21/02/2016 at 20:04:42
He got one away on the last day of the season (Hull or Bradford our someone like that), one against Utd where he burst through and suited from a tight angle.

There was another where the keeper had a shocker and dived out of the way.

Iain, a yellow is for deliberate handball, ie an unsportsmanlike decision to block play. You couldn't describe his handball like that. He just had his arm out.

Harold Matthews
29 Posted 21/02/2016 at 22:11:54
Yes, I watched Macca closely and he definitely wasn't firing on all cylinders. The early yellow didn't help but he carefully nursed himself throughout and will hopefully strip much fitter and quicker in games ahead.

At his best he is very fast and extremely aggressive but we haven't seen that side of him for quite some time now. He'll gradually get there but right now he is still some way off.

Anto Byrne
30 Posted 22/02/2016 at 06:06:25
Macca is out of sorts but really does not get forward enough, he has that in his locker. He plays the easy ball square instead of the cutting pass forward that Gibson gives us.

I think Stones could do that job and he likes to carry the ball forward – something Macca won't do. Is he following orders? It does tend to slow the game down when we need the winger freed early to the byline.

A lot of possession but nothing to show from it in terms of real chances.
Paul Andrews
31 Posted 22/02/2016 at 06:49:01
Good point, Anto.

James doesn’t really show for the ball when we are in possession either. Besic would be the better option if we are carrying on with two in the defensive midfield screen.

I am still advocating a 4-3-3 system though.

Martin Mason
32 Posted 22/02/2016 at 07:59:45
I don’t believe that Bournemouth making 7 changes from the last game was key. Everton could make 7 changes to the team they put out Saturday without being significantly weaker.

It could also have been interesting to give players like Besic a good run out and perhaps to see Mirallas up front. 7 changes and I believe that we’d still have won.

Martin Mason
33 Posted 22/02/2016 at 08:17:49
Paul @31,

I don’t think that there’s much difference between a modern flexible 4-5-1 and 4-3-3. Around 1970, Everton played what was a nominal 4-3-3 but in reality the majority of the time Royle was a lone striker and Morrissey and Husband were back to form a 5-man midfield. Kendall was a defensive midfielder, Ball attacking and Harvey was both but mainly an inside forward or attacking man.

Both full backs overlapped but the thing is we were rumbled and sides like Arsenal usurped us by playing an extra man in midfield. 4-5-1 can be 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 going forward but the key thing for Everton is that we always use two defensive midfielders – we aren’t good enough to play with one and there are no one like Vierra or Makelele around for us. You have to be a very strong team to not play 4-5-1.

Martin Mason
34 Posted 22/02/2016 at 08:20:25
Paul, sorry, I guess what you mean is two wingers? My own feeling is that Deulefeu is too weak defensively and both are right-sided.
Anto Byrne
35 Posted 22/02/2016 at 10:13:50
I think it was circa 1969-70 when Everton lined up with West, Wright and Wilson; we then had Labone as centre-half. At kick-off, they would line up Morrisey, Ball, Royle, Hurst and Husband leaving Kendall and Harvey in front of the centre-half. John Hurst was number 10 but formed part of the back four?

I always remember Morrisey collecting the ball on his chest and then scampering away down the line before crossing it over to Royle or whoever else got forward. I’m not sure what happened to Alex Young by this time?

My old man had watched Everton climb out of Division Two and he maintained it was a 4-2-4 line-up; with Ball dropping back, it would be 4-3-3. He passed away in 98 but would have hated Moyes and his 4-5-1 or 4-6-0 – even 550. I think he would prefer the purist football we have under Martinez.

I was brought up Everton and the family links to Everton and Everton Valley go right back to the 1870s. My uncle Jimmy was born in 1915 and along with his exploits in France in WW2 he would tell us all about the great Dixie Dean and other great players that made up that great team of the late '20s and '30s and of course right up until he passed on in 2000. He used to say that only one team played football in Liverpool, then laughed until he almost choked.
Dave Lawley
36 Posted 22/02/2016 at 12:29:50
Macca frustrates me in that, there is a great player in there but we just don’t see enough of it, it seems he has been so drilled to be a Makalele/Carsley type defensive midfielder, (which is fine if you haven’t already got Barry doing a better job in that role) that he just doesn’t get forward enough.

Barry always looks forward when he has the ball, if it's on, the ball goes forward if not, the easy pass. Macca, even when its on to turn and look forward for a pass often just lays the ball back without looking with acres infant of him, a trait Ross has picked up to a certain extent.

Joe Clitherow
37 Posted 22/02/2016 at 12:41:27
I don't think James McCarthy is a great player. I think he is a decent enough water carrier who is key to Martinez's team and way of playing but still a water carrier who is quite limited as a footballer.

Alan Ball was referred to as the water carrier by Alf Ramsey (Didier Deschamps was also called this by the way) but Bally did this job and much much more.

Because Alan Ball was a great player.

Paul Andrews
38 Posted 22/02/2016 at 13:02:16
Joe Clitherow.

Bally could turn the water into wine mate.

Russell Smith
39 Posted 22/02/2016 at 16:00:25
Alan Ball a water carrier!!? He could have carried 20 gallons on his back and still move and react quicker than Lakaku. He was one of the greatest "give and go" players I ever had the pleasure to watch.

He harried defenders constantly, never giving them a moment on the ball, he turned lost causes into gilt edged advantages (the second goal in the World Cup Final), and he was constantly finding space and calling for the ball, and he scored regularly and at crucial times. Even when he sat on the ball he did it with aplomb. The best "all round" midfield player we have ever had bar none.
Richard Leeming-Mchale
40 Posted 22/02/2016 at 16:36:23
'Great' doesn’t come close to describing Mr Ball.

As so many already said, RM done good keep the same team – except for the no-show of Kone – why is that player still at the club??

Ray Roche
41 Posted 22/02/2016 at 17:03:50
Russell, agreed.
Joe Clitherow
42 Posted 22/02/2016 at 17:20:34

I agree with you 100%. Bally was my hero as a very small child. I only pointed out that that was what Ramsey called him and to make the distinction between the more limited/specialised roles that is particularly evident in the current Martinez Everton side. You can look at videos of the great man himself in after dinner speeches saying that that was what Ramsey told him to do, that his job in the England side was to get the ball and give it to Bobby Charlton. But he absolutely did not stop there as you point out.

The point I was making was that people use the word ’great’ for our current players far, far too easily. None of them are in my opinion, despite what some think.

Alan Ball did everything you would want a midfielder to do, and then some. He did all the "dirty" work as above, as well as attacking and scoring goals. Particularly in derbies. There did not used to be a distinction between "defensive" midfielders or "attacking" midfielders, there were just midfielders. Maybe some would argue that that is the modern game; my view is that it artificially limits those type of players, giving them an excuse to not defend or attack respectively. Alan Ball did it all, and never stopped all game.

That’s my idea of a true great, he could everything.

Paul Andrews
43 Posted 22/02/2016 at 18:04:51
Russel, Joe.

In over 50 years watching the Blues, he is the best I have ever seen wear the shirt. By a mile.

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