There have been rumblings at Everton about the methods and style of manager Roberto Martinez, but the fans who travelled to Dorset went home happy yesterday evening after their team won for the fourth time in five games and reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the fourth time in five seasons in the process.
It was not easy – back-up goalkeeper Joel Robles, who has played in all Everton’s cup games this season, saved Charlie Daniels’ penalty after 38 minutes before second-half goals by Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku secured victory – and it was not as eventful as the 3-3 draw here in the league. But victory kept Everton on course for a place in Europe and perhaps even a first trophy since they won this competition in 1995.
Bournemouth, who were appearing in the last 16 for only the fourth time, can now concentrate on retaining their Premier League status. Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, showed once again where his priorities lay by making seven changes to the team that had lost to Stoke City seven days previously. Junior Stanislas, who scored twice in the dying minutes of the clubs’ first meeting, was one of the four who kept his place.
Martinez, who led Wigan to the trophy in 2013, gave another chance to the Everton XI who started the 1-0 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion eight days ago and they dominated the early possession with quick passes and plenty of movement.
The visitors looked good over two-thirds of the pitch but not the third that mattered in the first half. With accuracy in their final pass eluding Everton, it was the direct approach that nearly gave them the lead when Lukaku charged past Tommy Elphick into the penalty area, only to poke his shot too close to goalkeeper Adam Federici, who clutched the ball at the second attempt.
Everton had a lucky escape when Bournemouth finally found a way out of their own half. Lukaku jumped for but missed Daniels’ corner and James McCarthy, behind him, handled. Awarding a penalty was an easy decision for Martin Atkinson, the referee, but Robles dived to his left to parry Daniels’ kick and Simon Francis, perhaps put off by two team-mates also trying to reach the loose ball, put the rebound wide.
Everton’s Seamus Coleman put an unchallenged header over the bar soon after the restart and Shaun MacDonald, making only his second start this season, went equally close for Bournemouth with a half-volley from 20 yards. But it was Everton who made the breakthrough after 55 minutes, although it came with a slice of luck. Barkley, in front of watching England head coach Roy Hodgson, took a pass from Tom Cleverley and shot from 22 yards, the ball looping off the outstretched foot of Dan Gosling and over Federici.
It would, perhaps, have been only fair if another deflection, off the Everton defensive wall, had taken Stanislas’s free-kick past Robles rather than the post seven minutes later, or if Gosling had headed home a three-yard chance instead of straight at Robles, but football does not work that way. Instead Everton scored their second after 76 minutes.
Bryan Oviedo’s corner to the near post was flicked on by the heel of Gareth Barry into the path of Lukaku, who could not miss.
Bournemouth: (4-1-4-1) Federici; Francis, Elphick, Distin, Daniels; O’Kane; Iturbe (Murray, 71), MacDonald (Ritchie, 63), Gosling (Smith, 77), Stanislas; King.
Everton: (4-2-3-1) Robles; Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo; McCarthy, Barry; Lennon, Barkley (Mirallas, 81), Cleverley; Lukaku (Niasse, 81).
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Lukaku (Everton)
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content