Published: Tuesday 27th October 2015 by The News Editor
Everton reached the Capital One Cup quarter-finals after keeping their cool in the penalty shoot-out to advance past Norwich.
The two sides could not be separated after 120 minutes in a 1-1 draw, but the Toffees converted all four of their penalties while Joel Robles saved from Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond shot over when needing to score as Everton progressed 4-3.
Sebastien Bassong’s first goal since December 2012 had given Norwich a 51st-minute lead that was cancelled out by Everton captain Leon Osman’s equaliser 17 minutes later.
Robles then made a fantastic save from Lewis Grabban in the final minute of normal time before helping the hosts gain the upper hand in the shoot-out by denying Hoolahan.
A combined 15 changes were made to the starting line-ups and it contributed towards an error-strewn first period, with Darron Gibson setting the tone by gifting possession to Hoolahan inside his own area.
Robles, once more preferred to Tim Howard in this competition, also made a gaffe when he totally misjudged a corner and John Stones had to nullify the danger by heading away from the back post.
Everton finally woke up midway through the half. Again it was a mishap which opened the door, this time Bassong firing straight at Tyias Browning, who rolled a pass into Romelu Lukaku only for the Belgian to dither and drill into stopper Declan Rudd’s legs.
The style Martinez endorses finally reared its head with an attack started by Gibson’s terrific long ball to Bryan Oviedo. He shifted the ball inside to Kevin Mirallas and he fed James McCarthy, whose first-time pass towards Lukaku was almost toed beyond Rudd.
Six minutes after the restart, Norwich went ahead through an unlikely source. Redmond sent a deep corner towards the back post and after neither Ramiro Funes Mori or Osman could clear, Gary O’Neil put the ball in to the six-yard box where Bassong was on hand to hook a first-time finish in.
The hosts were then lucky Vadis Odjidja lost his footing when lining up a shot as Martinez called on reinforcements for his ponderous midfield in the form of Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu.
And the duo’s presence helped provide a spark as Everton levelled. After Lukaku’s prod had been turned off the line by Martin Olsson, Mirallas’ left-wing cross was finished by a sweeping Osman shot that hit the far post and trickled in.
Bassong then got back to prevent Mirallas applying the finishing touch to Oviedo’s centre as Everton finally took charge for a prolonged spell that was only interrupted by Robles’ save from Lewis Grabban after Gibson once again lost the ball in his own area.
Lukaku, with a free header from close range, came close, while Olsson’s long-range try tested Robles and Rudd’s fingertips diverted Mirallas’ free-kick over as both teams sought a winner in normal time.
Grabban thought he had that in the final minute only to see Robles’ right hand claw away his header and force extra time.
During that period a tired Mirallas pushed a shot wide, substitute Matt Jarvis headed off target, Lukaku lashed a half-volley over and Funes Mori nodded Barkley’s whipped free-kick over the top as penalties loomed.
They could have been prevented had Lukaku’s shot on the turn fallen the other side of the post after hitting Bassong, while Barkley blazed the final touch of the 120 minutes over after Rudd pushed Oviedo’s shot into his path.
In the shoot-out Deulofeu, Barkley, Lukaku and Gibson all scored while Hoolahan was left ruing a slip which assisted Robles in saving from him before Redmond got his placement all wrong in firing over.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
“Boooom!! Another poor performance but we got to the next round in the end. Making hard work of this cup run. #COYB #EFC” – former Everton, Rangers and Manchester City full-back Michael Ball (@Bally03)
Another poor performance but we got to the next round in the end.
— Michael Ball (@bally03) October 27, 2015
Everton (Out of 10)
Joel Robles – 7
Darron Gibson – 5
John Stones – 7
Bryan Oviedo – 7
Arouna Kone – 6
Romelu Lukaku – 6
Kevin Mirallas – 6
James McCarthy – 6
Leon Osman – 7
Ramiro Funes Mori – 6
Tyias Browning – 6
Ross Barkley – 6
Gerard Deulofeu – 6
Steven Naismith – 6
Declan Rudd – 6
Andre Wisdom – 6
Sebastien Bassong – 7
Lewis Grabban – 6
Wes Hoolahan – 6
Youssouf Mulumbu – 7
Nathan Redmond – 5
Martin Olsson – 6
Ryan Bennett – 7
Gary O’Neil – 6
Vadis Odjidja – 6
Matthew Jarvis – 6
Graham Dorrans – 6
Steven Whittaker – 6
Joel Robles. Filling in for Tim Howard again in this competition, it was his brilliant one-handed save from Lewis Grabban that forced extra-time and he then guessed right to deny Wes Hoolahan in the penalty shoot-out and give the hosts the advantage.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
In a game poor on quality, Robles’ stop from Grabban’s header stood out. He was already moving across his goal before the ball had reached the striker and he clawed the ball away with a strong wrist to force extra-time.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Everton lacked energy in midfield until Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu were introduced and their chances of winning inside 90 minutes would have been greatly enhanced had both started. Meanwhile, Norwich failed to take advantage when Darron Gibson reverted to centre-back.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Surely unused substitute Kyle Lafferty, the man who fired Northern Ireland to France, deserves a Norwich look-in?
WHO’S UP NEXT
Everton v Sunderland (Barclays Premier League, Sunday, November 1)
Manchester City v Norwich (Barclays Premier League, Saturday, October 31)
Published: Tuesday 27th October 2015 by The News Editor