27/09/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Everton

Everton put in their strongest display of the season so far and survived a late push from Aston Villa to advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Before this evening, the Midlanders hadn’t lost at home since February and they crushed the Toffees on this ground in the Premier League in August but Everton came roaring out the gates with a committed high-pressing game that knocked Unai Emery’s men off their stride.

James Garner was rewarded for his strong recent performances with his first goal for the club with a quarter of an hour gone and Dominic Calvert-Lewin capitalised on an error by Youri Tielemans to race clear and doubled the lead five minutes into the second half.

Boubacar Kamara made the contest much closer than it should have been in the 82nd minute which set up a nervy finish for the 4,500 raucous travelling Evertonians but the visitors stood firm to see out a 2-1 win.

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With a comparatively small squad, Sean Dyche wasn’t able to make wholesale changes to the side that had won at Brentford on Saturday but he handed Jack Harrison his debut on the right flank, started Calvert-Lewin and Arnaut Danjuma in attack while resting Dwight McNeil, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Young by deploying a five-man back line with Nathan Patterson at right wing-back and Michael Keane among the centre-halves.

Villa, who also had a changed line-up but fielded a strong side, would have the first sight of goal when Tielemans flashed a half-volley just over from 20 yards out but the hosts soon found it difficult to handle the intensity from Everton.

And when a clutch of Blue shirts hassled the Villans’ defence into giving the ball away on the edge of their box and Danjuma and Calvert-Lewin kept the ball alive with headers, Amadou Onana put Garner into space with a lovely reverse pass that the former Manchester United winger rattled past Robin Olsen with a fine left-foot finish.

Keane’s poor pass wasn’t punished when the resulting through-ball was too heavy for Moussa Diaby and Jarrad Branthwaite did well to mop up ahead of the Villa midfielder a few minutes later as Everton comfortably kept Emery’s outfit at bay.

The would restrict Villa to zero shots on target in the first half while dominating the chances at the other end, first when Garner’s ambitious effort that flew wide from distance and then when Danjuma fired goalwards and saw his shot deflect off Ezri Konsa to Olsen seven minutes before the break.

The Toffees could and probably should have gone into half-time two goals to the good but Villa benefitted from a huge slice of luck and then some profligate finishing from Calvert-Lewin.

In the first instance, Danjuma had pressured Konsa into giving the ball away near his own goalmouth and it ended with John McGinn hacking wildly at it as it flew across the six-yard box and Olsen had to turn it onto the post.

Seconds later, brilliant work on the flank from Harrison saw him release Calvert-Lewin with a lovely defence-splitting ball but Olsen was equal to the initial shot shot from the striker who could only put the rebound from a tight angle into the side-netting.

After Everton had gone close from a corner early in the second period, Calvert-Lewin would make no mistake when handed another gilt-edge chance to extend the lead. Tielemans sold Konsa horribly short with an attempted pass in the centre-circle and Calvert-Lewin was sent away with just the keeper to beat which he did with aplomb.

The home side were almost back in the tie straight away when Tielemans played Diaby in behind the Blues’ defence but Jordan Pickford made a smart save with his right foot to divert the shot safety while, back down the other end, Onana raked a shot just over from 25 yards and Olsen did well to parry away Calvert-Lewin’s drive after the striker had again been freed into space in Villa’s half by Danjuma.

A flurry of changes by both managers disrupted the flow of the contest somewhat and Everton began to get a little less diligent with their retention of the ball but it wasn’t until the 82nd minute that Emery’s men tried to threaten Pickford’s goal again.

Matty Cash blazed wide from wide on the Villa right but a minute later after a corner was only cleared as far as Kamara, the midfielder despatched a low shot through a forest of legs from outside the area that took a decisive knick off Keane, wrong-footing Pickford and then rolling into the net to make it 2-1.

Beto, on for Calvert-Lewin in a 72nd-minute switch, might have sealed it as he galloped forward but was eventually out-muscled by Konsa but while Villa thought they had come close to forcing penalties with a cleverly-worked free-kick in the 90th minute, Pickford was equal to Diaby’s left-foot strike and beat it away to safety.

Douglas Luiz had one last chance to level in stoppage time but hooked the ball over the bar and Everton successfully saw out the remaining couple of minutes to secure both their second away win in four days but also a place in the next round.


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