Stevenage 0 Everton 4 match report: Bryan Oviedo blow overshadows Roberto Martinez’s quest for a swift return to Wembley

Oviedo suffered a suspected broken ankle but a Steven Naismith double helps Toffees progress regardless

Broadhall Way

For three members of the Everton emporium, this amounted to an FA Cup defence. Roberto Martinez, James McCarthy and Joel Robles were all part of the winning Wigan experience at Wembley and might easily find themselves returning in May.

This was further evidence of the improvement made by Everton under Martinez. Though there will be better barometers by which to measure progress, Everton fizzed the ball about with Pythagorean precision. That this turned out to be as straightforward on grass as it appeared on paper is a reflection of the confidence coursing through Martinez’s side.

After Manchester City’s recovery against Watford Everton found themselves in the Punch and Judy slot, the day’s last hope of a shock result. The fanciful idea lasted all of six minutes, the time it took Steven Naismith to clip the ball past the keeper Chris Day.

Before that there was lots of earthy enthusiasm from the team rooted at the base of League One. John Stones would have had to watch the highlights to discover how he kept out Lucas Akins’ shot, the ball clattering against his cranium and away to safety with him oblivious to its whereabouts.

The goal quietened the stadium and allowed Everton room to impose their pedigree, particularly through Kevin Mirallas glorying in the central role ascribed to him.

The rain relented before kick-off, which was excellent news for the galleries as well as the players, including Joey Barton, who would not have enjoyed a dousing with his hair confection, growing copiously in the Continental fashion.

Barton, re-inventing himself as a football personality/intellectual, was part of the BT Sport outreach squad dispatched to the Lamex Stadium to capture the atmosphere for the cameras. There is still a degree of novelty in the lower leagues when the big broadcasters deign to visit.

Until the loss of Bryan Oviedo to a suspected broken leg in the 20th minute Everton had it mostly their own way. The Costa Rican injured himself conceding a free-kick that brought Robles in the Everton goal into the game, tipping a well-worked shot around the post.

Ten minutes later Stevenage found themselves two down, skipper John Ashton letting the ball slide beneath his foot to release Naismith. The Scotsman tore forward and finished neatly.

Everton replaced Phil Jagielka with John Heitinga at the start of the second half without any disruption in rhythm. Call it manager’s intuition. Ten minutes into the half it was Heitinga who met the overhead kick of Mirallas to power a header past Day for the third.

With the Merseyside derby looming on Tuesday, an amble towards the tape was required by Everton. Stevenage kept chasing every ball but their attacks were increasingly predictable. The difference between a team with Champions’ League ambitions and another clinging to the third tier of English football was evident in the patterns painted by the men in blue.

Naismith was marginally offside in pursuit of his hat-trick but chipped the keeper anyway just to show how it’s done. He was booked for his impudence, giving the home support at least something to cheer.

With 20 minutes to go they might have had more to celebrate after Stevenage fashioned a rare opportunity. François Zoko, the source of much pre-match optimism in these parts, chested the ball down on the edge of the box only to poke his shot tamely at goal.

Here is a footballer who sees in his own story something of fellow Ivorian Didier Drogba’s traipse across Planet Football. How one player progresses and another doesn’t is probably a matter of fractions, Drogba needing only a split second to make a difference; Zoko and his Stevenage brothers are evidently on a different clock.

Line-ups:

Stevenage (4-3-3): Day, Smith, Ashton, Jones (Parrett, 72), Hartley; Morais (Andrade, 81), Charles, Heslop; Akins, Freeman, Zoko (Deacon, 85).

Everton (4-2-3-1): Robles, Hibbert, Jagielka (Heitinga, h-t), Stones, Baines; Barry, McGeady; Oviedo (Osman, 22), McCarthy, Mirallas (Gueye, 81); Naismith.

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match: Naismith (Everton)

Match rating: 8/10

 

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital