That Evertonian song that asks if you know your history, which resounds around Goodison Park in good times and bad, was being belted out on the streets around the stadium last night louder than ever. The history in question, however, was made last night by a 19-year-old, kid Dan Gosling, who scored the goal that decided an FA Cup tie after 208 minutes and a whole load of blood, sweat and tears.
Low on quality, high on drama, the third instalment in 17 days of the Merseyside rivalry was decided by a boy from Devon who was thrown in because his manager, David Moyes, had simply run out of alternatives in attack. Gosling, who turned 19 only three days ago, was signed from Plymouth Argyle this time last year and has already written himself into the bitter, fearsome rivalry of these two clubs that has run for more than a century.
Last night belonged to Everton, who finally overcame an opposition bereft of Steven Gerrard, withdrawn injured after 15 minutes, and down to 10 men after Lucas Leiva's red card on 75 minutes. The problems in Rafael Benitez's side are evident for all to see, but it took a dogged, unflinching Everton team finally to put them away and for that Moyes deserves the credit. He began the day dealing with Victor Anichebe's refusal to play; he ended it with arguably the greatest result in his seven years at the club.
For 118 minutes it was one of the worst FA Cup ties in living memory. Never mind that because all anyone from the blue half of this city will remember is the dramatic moment when Gosling got the ball out from between his feet and hit a shot that deflected off Alvaro Arbeloa and Martin Skrtel to beat Pepe Reina at his far post.
Before then Liverpool had dug in for penalties and who could blame them? They have won 10 out of their last 11 penalty shoot-outs. Reduced to 10 men, with Torres a shadow of his usual predatory self before he was substituted, they became entrenched. Everton, lacking any height in attack and with Marouane Fellaini off injured, looked like they might be play for another 120 minutes before they found a way of breaking Liverpool down.
Incredibly it was Andy van der Meyde, on the pitch only because Moyes had no one else to turn to, who hit the cross that Gosling ultimately finished. It was always likely to take something special, and a cross from a man whose troubled private life means that he has appeared only 15 times for Everton, was that something special. Jamie Carragher and Skrtel had been excellent all night, it was just for those last few minutes that they could not hold out.
What of Liverpool? They have endured a week as chaotic as the performance of ITV's match director last night. The injury to Gerrard, the decision to leave out Javier Mascherano last night in favour of Lucas, the absence of a cutting edge when Torres is not on form – it is enough to shake the faith of even the most stubborn Rafa loyalist. When Gerrard departed, Benitez switched to 4-4-2, with Dirk Kuyt in attack with Torres; typical that as soon as Keane leaves, Liverpool start playing the system in which he thrives.
It took around 15 minutes for this game to come to life and when it did, it did so with the predictable fervour and aggression of a derby teetering on the edge of chaos. Gerrard limped off and Everton supporters responded with the predictable bile. Once the fans had drawn the lines of demarcation so too did the players. Joleon Lescott had gone in high on Torres and, in return, Lescott was knocked to the ground by the Liverpool striker. Albert Riera left something on Leon Osman in the middle of the pitch as the game intensified.
That period of madness had been defined by Tim Cahill's challenge with Carragher in the air which left Carragher on the ground checking his jaw was still in place. None of it improved the quality of the football. The first serious shot of the match did not come until the 69th minute when Mikel Arteta, influential throughout, found Cahill in the Liverpool area and he laid the ball off to Osman. The Everton man was in the right channel of the Liverpool area and hit his shot at the near left side of Reina's goal, striking the post when he should have scored.
The dismissal of Lucas came with 15 minutes remaining, a ridiculous trip in the middle of the pitch when he had no chance of getting the ball from Lescott which meant the Brazilian's second booking of the game and a red card. Everton had most of the game after that, Arteta running much of it. Benitez brought on Mascherano for Riera to try to keep Liverpool in the game.
Did Liverpool really want this? In the grand scheme of their extraordinary season, the FA Cup is not such a great loss. Had Benitez been given a choice of winning against Chelsea on Sunday or Everton last night he would have taken the former. Nevertheless, when Goodison erupted as Gosling squeezed his deflected his shot into the far post you knew that they had lost a famous game.
The jokes about Everton rushing this match out on DVD to be on sale in the club shop this morning can start now among Liverpool fans. They claim they have bigger fish to fry. For one night at least, however, the blue part of the city celebrated like they had won the FA Cup. If they really want to make some history, that is what Everton must do now.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Osman, Neville, Arteta, Pienaar (Rodwell, 60); Fellaini (Gosling, 52), Cahill. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Yobo, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Jacobsen.
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena; Lucas, Alonso; Kuyt, Gerrard (Benayoun, 15), Riera (Mascherano, 80); Torres. Substitutes not used: Cavalieri (gk), Hyypia, Agger, Babel, El Zhar.
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
ITV score another own-goal
ITV's much-criticised coverage of the FA Cup was subject to further scrutiny last night when it's live coverage of the game at Goodison Park was inexplicably interrupted for a commercial break during extra time – and it was during that break the only goal in 120 minutes of play was scored by Dan Gosling. The live coverage returned just in time to catch the start of Everton's delirious celebrations. "I'm afraid it came at a pretty bad time for us," a sheepish presenter Steve Rider said afterwards. "If you missed the goal, our apologies."Reuse content