Everton 1 Blackburn Rovers 4: Everton fall victim to Hughes' shoot-on-sight policy

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For the first time since 1998 neither of the Liverpool clubs will be in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Blackburn ensuring that there will be no Merseyside representation at the new Wembley with a vibrant first-half display at Goodison.

Rovers shot on sight and got their reward in the shape of an impregnable three-goal lead: "We had the FA Cup ball all week and thought it was very unpredictable in its flight,'' said that seasoned cup campaigner, Mark Hughes.

It certainly seemed to baffle Everton, who were warned of what lay ahead in the first four minutes when Tim Howard struggled to parry a shot from David Bentley.

Almost immediately, the goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, was guilty of a fumble that was punished when he failed to hold an effort from Morten Gamst Pedersen. The ball might have continued over the line in any case, but Matt Derbyshire followed up to make absolutely sure.

It was the second goal in two starts for Derbyshire, a 20-year-old local lad from Great Harwood, and Everton never recovered from it. Bentley also figured in the second goal when he was fouled by Leon Osman 30 yards out. Despite protests from Osman that Bentley had dived, Pedersen took a curling free-kick that beat Howard rather too easily.

In a thoroughly bad-tempered half, it was fitting that Everton's only real chances should come from free-kicks, resulting in shots off target from Victor Anichebe and Lee Carsley, plus a Joseph Yobo header that was blocked.

The problem was that the Blues were still wide open at the other end of the field - as Paul Gallagher demonstrated when he took Bentley's accurate pass on his chest and, turning away from Yobo, shot left-footed past the hapless Howard.

Everton's half was summed up when another of their defenders, Nuno Valente, managed to get himself both booked and carried off as a result of the same clumsy tackle on Bentley. Small wonder that they went off at half-time to the sound of booing.

With Blackburn sitting back comfortably like a team who knew they were in today's fourth-round draw, Everton had a couple of chances early in the second half, but Brad Friedel tipped over from Andy Johnson and Mikel Arteta fired high after a good run from Andy van der Meyde, much more effective from being switched to his natural right-hand side.

Everton finally got their goal with just over 20 minutes to play when Aaron Mokoena brought down Arteta and Johnson dispatched the penalty.

That created a hum among the previously disillusioned home crowd but their side never looked remotely capable of repairing the damage of the first half. And in injury time the substitute Benni McCarthy, one of a number of regulars given a complete or partial rest, completed the rout.

"Everything they hit went on target. Everything we hit went high or wide,'' the Everton manager David Moyes said.

Goals: Derbyshire (5) 0-1; Pedersen (21) 0-2; Gallagher (38) 0-3; Johnson (69 pen) 1-3; McCarthy (90) 1-4.

Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neville, Yobo (Vaughan 77), Lescott, Valente (Naysmith 42); Arteta, Carsley, Osman, Van der Meyde; Johnson, Anichebe. Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Weir, McFadden.

Blackburn Rovers 4-4-2: Friedel; Ooijer, Khizanishvili (Henchoz, 37), Todd, McEveley; Bentley, Tugay, Mokoena, Pedersen, Gallagher (Emerton, 63); Derbyshire (McCarthy, 69). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Savage.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).

Booked: Everton Nuno Valente, Carsley. Blackburn Pedersen, Ooijer, Derbyshire, McCarthy.

Man of the match: Bentley.

Attendance: 24,426.

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