17/01/2024 11comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 0 Crystal Palace

André Gomes's second goal of the season was enough to put Everton through into the Fourth Round and a date with Luton Town back at Goodison

André Gomes produced what was a rare moment of quality in an otherwise gruelling affair on a frigid night at Goodison Park to edge Everton past Crystal Palace and into the FA Cup Fourth Round.

The Portuguese scored the first goal scored by a Blues player from a direct free-kick since Lucas Digne against Lincoln City in August 2019 late in the first half while his compatriot, Joao Virginia, made sure of Everton's passage from this Third Round replay with some key saves.

Having kept a clean sheet in the original tie on 4 January, Virginia was handed responsibilities between the sticks again this evening and he didn't disappoint, pulling off a number of excellent stops, not least the one that denied Jeffrey Schlupp a 90th-minute equaliser that would have forced 30 unwanted minutes of extra time.

The 24-year-old was one of four changes to Sean Dyche's team which saw Gomes and Nathan Patterson come in for the injured Abdoulaye Doucouré and Seamus Coleman while Dwight McNeil replaced Arnaut Danjuma and, though genuine chances were few and far between, the hosts carved out the early ones.

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Gomes tested Sam Johnstone in the Palace goal early on with an effort that the keeper saved and Dominic Calvert-Lewin forced a better stop from him from the angle in the 13th minute off Patterson's ball forward before Erebechi Eze went close for the visitors shortly before the half-hour mark.

Schlupp fired over and Virginia was equal to Will Hughes's shot in the 34th minute but the deadlock was broken three minutes before the break when Gomes, arguably the standout player on the pitch in the first half, picked himself up after being fouled just outside the box to bag what proved to be the winner.

The midfielder, who had only three goals to his name in an Everton jersey before this evening, stepped forward and whipped a curling shot over the defensive wall and in off the inside of the post, with Johnstone powerless to prevent it.

The Toffees almost surrendered that precious advantage in short order but Virginia made a terrific save, pushing Tyrick Mitchell's shot over his crossbar.

The second period was largely a non-event for the first quarter of an hour when McNeil tried his luck with a speculative shot from distance that was saved before penalty appeals for a handball by substitute Jaïro Riedewald off Patterson's attempted cross were ignored by the officials.

Virginia then denied Odsonne Edouard's shot on the turn from around 12 yards out with his legs at one end and Amadou Onana played Calvert-Lewin in at the other but the striker's shot flashed across goal and wide of the far post.

Then, despite Roy Hodgson having angered his travelling support by withdrawing his most dangerous player in Eze midway through the second half, Palace had a late flurry that almost rescued the tie.

First, Virginia saved Schlupp's free header on his goal-line with a point-blank save and Jean-Philippe Mateta put the rebound wide. Then, after the Everton 'keeper had spilled the ball, Naouirou Ahamada failed to turn the loose ball home and the Blues survived.

They had a chance to seal it in injury time when James Garner led a counter-attack and fed McNeil but when the winger found sub Lewis Dobbin with a cut-back from the byline, the youngster couldn't beat Johnstone with an attempted flick.

So, Everton booked their date with Luton Town in the next round back at Goodison in 10 days' time, the first time they'll have played back-to-back cup games at home for 33 years.


Reader Comments (11)

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Richard Duff
1 Posted 18/01/2024 at 07:39:40
I think that's 7 clean sheets in the last 10 games which is a brilliant achievement and a solid platform to build on.

Our strength is clearly defence rather than attack but that's the squad we have and at last we are playing to our strengths.

A win and through, though it didn't look the best!

Dean Johnson
2 Posted 18/01/2024 at 07:42:57
Just need a striker now…
Mal van Schaick
3 Posted 18/01/2024 at 07:49:03
I was impressed with Virginia. He looks to be more than an adequate replacement for Pickford, should he leave.

We look tough to beat at the moment, with a resolute back four, and irrespective of the issues off the pitch and without a great strength in depth we showed against Palace and Villa, that we are up for the fight.

Bring on Luton.

Ian Jones
4 Posted 18/01/2024 at 07:59:21
Richard, 3, saw your comment about the 7 clean sheets in 10 and thought it was incorrect, but checked and it's about right! 7 clean sheets is great, definitely something to build on.

It's also good that Virginia has come in, no doubt feeling the pressure of stepping up, and seems to have done a decent job for the team. It would be interesting to see how he would cope against more attack-minded teams.

One thing I have picked up from watching the games, albeit on TV, is that the players do seem to fight for each other. If there's an off-field grievance against the other team, players are coming in to defend themselves and their team mates, a real unity, camaraderie etc.

Onwards to playing Luton. If we can get them out of the Cup, all to play for.

Kevin Edward
5 Posted 18/01/2024 at 09:04:53
Considering everything that's been going on lately, I'll give credit to the manager and team for getting through. Palace are lively on the ball going forward and we shut them out.

We don't have the quality to move the ball around like the top teams, so our football looks poor at times. But we make up for that with a solid defence and bags of effort and we can get results.

So on we go; winning games is a mentality, sometimes it's not pretty but it's all about winning at the moment. So job done.

Jim Wilson
6 Posted 18/01/2024 at 11:15:34
We need to bring in the best midfield general we can find on a free or loan as a matter of urgency

With Doucoure injured again and Gueye not available, the midfield is looking very bare.

Onana fails game after game to get a grip, Garner needs someone with him, and we need more attacking options.

Two midfielders would be ideal but we must sign at least one.

Ted Roberts
7 Posted 18/01/2024 at 11:29:22
Well done, Blues, another fighting performance, showing determination and grit that brings the belief that we can get through this nightmare being well-disciplined and led by a manager who knows how to handle where we are and keep everyone focused.

Not pretty football at times (as mentioned in previous posts), but it's getting the job done that matters. With a bit more good fortune to accompany the team's hard graft, I feel that the playing side of things is good enough to achieve the end result we are so looking for — justice!!

John Raftery
8 Posted 18/01/2024 at 11:42:21
There was far too much excitement in the closing minutes for comfort. With Palace pushing forward, we were too loose in possession, almost allowing the visitors a late equaliser.

The reserve keeper performed well. The game was low on quality and until the final minutes low on incident. The thought occurred that Palace might be regretting leaving it so late to exert sustained pressure on our defence. When they did so a few holes were exposed with Branthwaite not quite as assured as normal and Patterson's decision-making and positional sense unsettling.

As always in the cup, all that matters is getting through.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 18/01/2024 at 12:00:43
It was the only way we were scoring last night wasn't it.

It was always taking something a bit special and Gomes produced that rare moment of class.

At the end of the day in the Cup it's all about getting through, remember the slugfest against Derby County in January 1995?

I think we need to find more attacking threat soon though because the league games coming up and even the Luton Cup match will pose difficult tests.

Nick Strong
10 Posted 18/01/2024 at 21:13:48
Luton up next. Barkley will be trying his best to make us even more depressed with the current state of our club.
Rob Dolby
11 Posted 18/01/2024 at 21:48:49
I thought it was a pretty awful game with both sides looking totally disinterested. In fact, I have seen livelier testimonials. The magic of the FA Cup has long since left today's footballers. Stay in the Premier League and earn the big bucks is the aim.

Gomes with the only real piece of quality in the entire game. I posted last week that he doesn't do enough but credit where it's due as it was a fantastic free-kick.

Branthwaite and the defence did well but the goalie kept us in the game and celebrated like we had won the cup at the final whistle and took my MotM award.

The subs underlined the lack of strength we have on the bench. Beto is lumbering and Dobbin didn't get involved enough. If they want to push for a shirt, they need to impact the game and show a lot more urgency. I thought Danjuma deserved some minutes as he has stepped up a bit over the last couple of weeks.

Anyhow, into the next round and a home draw.


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