Everton have not won the League Cup in any of its guises and will have to play better than this to end their long wait. They edged past Charlton Athletic at Goodison Park last night with a landmark goal from Tobias Linderoth - one that survived as a decider only because of the Londoners' wayward finishing.
Both teams have had problems scoring in recent weeks, but they set off at a lick that suggested they did not want to hang around.
Charlton, having needed penalties to struggle by Luton in the previous round, were quick to attack. Jonatan Johansson forced Nigel Martyn to be watchful as he skidded a 20-yarder across the turf and Hermann Hreidarsson should have done better than power a header wide from the Finn's cross.
Wayne Rooney, his age now matching the number on his back, had been largely subdued, only for his flair for the unexpected to bring a breakthrough three minutes before half-time. With little warning but no little technique, he slammed left-footed against the bar from Tony Hibbert's right-wing centre and Linderoth dived to head in the rebound.
The relief of the Swede's first Everton goal was soon threatened by a Claus Jensen free-kick and corner - token efforts compared with the let-off that was to follow early in the second half.
Jason Euell was back in the starting line-up because of a Charlton injury pile-up that also prompted the recall of Mathias Svensson from his loan spell at Derby. And he squandered a glorious opportunity when poking wide from inside the six-yard area following Johansson's low delivery to the near post.
Duncan Ferguson, having climbed to meet James McFadden's corner, was denied by a clearance near the line by Chris Perry before Hreidarsson thundered off target from two more presentable Charlton openings. As the game remained open, Rooney then squeezed an angled shot against the outside of the post.
Everton (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Naysmith; Gravesen (Li Tie, 87), Linderoth, Nyarko (Stubbs, 87), McFadden (Radzinski, 75); Rooney, Ferguson. Substitues not used: Jeffers, Simonsen (gk).
Charlton (4-4-2): Kiely; Kishishev, Fish (Fortune, h-t), Perry, Hreidarsson; Holland (Campbell-Ryce, 81), Parker, Jensen, Stuart (Svensson, 72); Euell, Johansson. Substitutes not used: Powell, Royce (gk).
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).Reuse content