Football: Bakayoko strike puts Everton in the clear

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The Independent Online
Middlesbrough 2 Everton 3

aet; score at 90 min 1-1

BRYAN ROBSON'S vision of leading Middlesbrough to a third successive League Cup final appearance disappeared from view as Everton proved extra special in extra time.

That was when Walter Smith's Premiership underachievers eventually secured their place in the last 16, leaving Middlesbrough surprising third-round casualties.

Middlesbrough's problem was that, having laboured so long to secure a lead in front of an unusually subdued Riverside audience, they could not muster the defensive discipline necessary to protect it for more than two minutes.

So, having forced their way back into the tie thanks to the opportunism of their inspirational captain, Duncan Ferguson, Everton squeezed an additional 30 minutes out of the contest. And, although Middlesbrough gave them a late scare with Hamilton Ricard's 11th goal of the season, Everton had already sewn up a fourth-round meeting with Sunderland which may or may not please the Peter Reid fan club.

Everton guaranteed themselves that home tie with two goals in the second period of extra time which gave Ibrahima Bakayoko his first goal in English football before the substitute Don Hutchison punished Boro further in the 109th minute.

Now Everton fans know why Smith caught the squad rotation bug and made six changes from last weekend's line-up at Sheffield, one of which involved relegating John Collins to the substitutes' bench.

Everton, though, could have been spared the agonies of extra time if the pounds 4.5m Bakayoko had taken a penalty opportunity that was heaven-sent early in the second half when the Merseysiders could and should have taken control.

However, the man who turned up at Goodison recently via the Ivory Coast and Montpellier looked just more than a shade casual as he shaped up to take his 53rd-minute spot kick, awarded for Mark Summerbell's trip on Mitch Ward. The result was that goalkeeper Marlon Beresford was presented with a comfortable saving opportunity.

It was scarcely a night for fluent football. The midfield was too congested for that. Danny Cadamarteri offered them width and an outlet, but generally his crossing failed to meet requirements.

Ironically, Summerbell claimed the goal which briefly raised Middlesbrough's hopes, racing on to a ball cleverly placed by 18-year-old defender Robbie Stockdale.

Then a sliced clearance by Vickers let Ferguson in for the equaliser setting up the extra-time struggle.

Not surprisingly, Smith was delighted and said of Bakayoko: "The confidence of that goal will do him a lot of good. I think he will adapt OK and I am happy if he is getting chances like that. He will get there shortly."

Middlesbrough (5-3-2): Beresford; Stockdale (Campbell, 108), Fleming, Vickers, Festa, Gordon; Stamp, Mustoe (Summerbell 36), Townsend; Ricard, Beck (Deane, 75). Substitutes not used: , Harrison, Blackmore.

Everton (3-5-2): Gerrard; Dunne, Short, Materazzi; Cadamarteri, Ward (Collins 70), Grant, Dacourt (Hutchison, 90), Unsworth; Bakayoko, Ferguson. Substitutes not used: Myhre, Cleland, Ball.

Referee: Neale Barry (Scunthorpe).