Jo breathes new life into tired Everton

Everton 3 Bolton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Online

Gary Megson's hope that Everton would be running an empty after their marathon FA Cup victory over Liverpool proved to be wishful thinking, although Everton did benefit – handsomely, too – from one fresh pair of legs. The Brazilian striker Jo, ineligible for Wednesday's gruelling replay, marked his debut memorably, winning the first-half penalty that gave his new side the lead, before cementing their victory with two goals of his own.

It was quite a start. Despite the expectation, some five weeks since he last appeared for Manchester City, that he would be short of match fitness, Jo was on from the beginning and completed the full 90 minutes, scoring his second goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

His presence afforded manager David Moyes the rare luxury of allowing some of his wearier stars an early finish. More importantly, with a place in Europe next season still within Everton's compass, the new arrival immediately gave a fresh dimension to their play, much to the relief, one suspected, of Tim Cahill, who had been carrying the attack almost single-handedly.

The 21-year-old Jo, whose transfer from CSKA Moscow set City back £18 million, could hardly escape being labelled an expensive flop after his one Premier League goal in nine starts for Mark Hughes. In Russia, however, his return was 30 goals in 53 appearances. It is the opportunity to recapture that form and prove himself no ordinary Jo that tempted him to Goodison.

Yet Moyes, who happily regained the power of speech after his extraordinary performance in a televised press conference on Friday, admitted his new signing delivered more than he had anticipated. "I was surprised because I'd not seen anything of that from him for Manchester City but not surprised because I did see it when he was with CSKA," he said.

He had been reluctant, even, to play Jo so soon. But injuries – to Louis Saha and, he insists, the conspicuously absent Victor Anichebe – forced his hand. However, with such a spring in the newcomer's green-booted step it was soon clear that it had been a risk worth taking.

Indeed, although Tim Cahill missed a third-minute sitter, most of Everton's chances fell to Jo, the best of the first half provided by a Cahill through pass. He dragged that one wide but when, in the 39th minute, another opportunity came, he drew Andy O'Brien into a lunge and needed no second bidding to go to ground. Mikel Arteta scored from the spot.

Jo was already on the way to instant popularity. But winning a penalty was only the start. Four minutes into the second half he made his mark more emphatically still, with his first Premier League goal since he scored the opener in City's six against Portsmouth, back in September. He had a little bit of luck in that the back-to-goal flick that created his opening did fall kindly off Gary Cahill's body, but the finish was crisp and confident.

Up to that point, Everton were well in control. O'Brien struggled in his unfamiliar role at left-back while Sebastian Puygrenier, Megson's new centre-back, dealt so inadequately with Jo that he was taken off. On the right flank, 19-year-old Dan Gosling, who had kept his place because of Steven Pienaar's injury, built on his Cup heroics against Liverpool with another mix of youthful enthusiasm and clever touches.

Everton tired but Bolton could make little headway. In stoppage time, Mark Davies was judged to have controlled a Gosling cross with a hand and, with Arteta by then withdrawn, Jo added his second from the spot.

Attendance: 33,791

Referee: Phil Walton

Man of the match: Jo

Match rating: 7/10

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