Sometimes what a struggling striker needs is a change of scene; sometimes it is merely a change of competition.
Nikica Jelavic’s first goals since March were one of the foundations of Everton’s commanding FA Cup third-round victory. In fact, he should have had at least four against a side that has been linked this weekend with a move for the 28-year-old.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp denied there being any substance to those rumours, but would acknowledge that he needs another striker if the club’s promotion push is to be sustained – and Jelavic could fill the bill.
After all the work Seamus Coleman and Co had forced on the Championship side from the right in the first half hour, it was a surprise that the break-through should come from an equally incisive thrust down the left, Bryan Oviedo providing the pass for Ross Barkley to thump home.
Jelavic broke his drought ten minutes later when Karl Henry got in a terrible tangle on the edge of his own penalty area and the Croation fired home equally decisively.
The general mood in the second half was of the home side having done more than enough, although their former player, Andy Johnson, who was warmly welcomed by the Goodison faithful when he came off the bench, almost sprang their offside trap mid-way through.
That was a wake-up call for the Blues, who almost immediately made it three, Oviedo crossing for Jelavic to bundle home from close range.
Jelavic should have made it a hat-trick, but chipped his penalty onto the bar after Oviedo had been tripped. It was almost as if, after a year in which he had had no confidence at all, he now suddenly had an excess.
Two minutes later Coleman applied the finishing flourish to a sweeping move for a richly deserved goal, before going off to a standing ovation.
Four goals might sound clear-cut enough, but on this occasion it barely reflected the yawning gap between the two sides.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Robles; Coleman (Hibbert, 81), Stones, Alcaraz, Oviedo; McCarthy, Barry (Heitinga, 81); Naismith, Osman, Barkley (Mirallas, 88); Jelavic.
QPR (4-5-1): Cesar; Simpson, Onuoha, Hill, Assou-Ekotu; Phillips, O’Neil, Barton, Henry (Johnson, 57), Traore (Kranjcar, h-t); Austin (Benayoun, 78).
Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the match: Coleman (Everton)
Match rating: 4/10Reuse content