Everton have a poor recent history against lower division knock-out opponents and took a calculated risk by making seven changes from the side that maintained an unbeaten Premiership record against Wigan last weekend. However, it took a late goal by substitute Tim Cahill to save them from another upset after Peterborough had threatened to strike a blow for League Two.
Unlucky to go behind to a freakish first-half own goal, Peterborough battled back to level through Trevor Benjamin, but Cahill spared his team the discomfort of extra time by scrambling home the winner for the Premiership team three minutes from the end.
Everton had the edge only after manager David Moyes had sent on Cahill and Mikel Arteta in a double substitution immediately after the home side's goal had pumped up the atmosphere among a near-11,000 crowd.
"We had wanted to stick with the players who started, but after Peterborough equalised we felt we needed an extra goal threat," admitted the assistant manager, Alan Irvine. "Happily, Tim has a knack of getting into positions like the one from which he scored."
Peterborough's match programme had reminded the visitors that their neighbours Liverpool had come a cropper at London Road 15 years ago in the same competition and Keith Alexander's team clearly represented a potential banana skin. The aerial threat posed by a characteristic Alexander side had been underlined after 15 minutes when Joleon Lescott headed off the line from Justin Richards' header.
Everton's nerves were calmed somewhat fortunately when James Beattie's far-post header from a Phil Neville cross rebounded off the back of Peterborough defender Jude Stirling, leaving goalkeeper Mark Tyler unable to prevent the ball crossing the line. It was bad luck for Tyler, who did manage to stop Everton taking a stronger grip just before half-time by pushing Lee Carsley's shot wide.
Benjamin headed the hosts level 11 minutes into the second half, but the double substitution with which Moyes responded tipped the balance. Former United midfielder Simon Davies almost restored Everton's lead, defied by Tyler's fine save, but the Peterborough keeper failed to hold on to Victor Anichebe's shot late on and a stumbling Cahill forced the ball over the line.
Peterborough United (5-3-2): Tyler; Newton, Stirling ,Arber, Turner, Holden; Butcher (Huke, 82), Gain (Branston, 90), Davis (Crow, 62); Richards, Benjamin. Substitutes not used: Carbon, Day.
Everton (4-4-2): Wright; Neville, Hughes, Lescott, Valente; Van der Meyde (Cahill, 63), Carsley, Davies, Naysmith (Arteta, 63); Anichebe, Beattie. Substitutes not used: Hibbert, Johnson, Turner.
Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).Reuse content