McFadden takes lead in Everton's history pageant

Everton 3 - Sunderland 0
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The Independent Online

They like their FA Cup history at Goodison Park. Black-and-white pictures from 40 years ago are shown on the big screen and one of the club songs works hard to rhyme 1966 with Harry Catterick.

They like their FA Cup history at Goodison Park. Black-and-white pictures from 40 years ago are shown on the big screen and one of the club songs works hard to rhyme 1966 with Harry Catterick.

So it did not take long for the significance of this result to sink in. "We beat Sunderland 3-0 in 1966," a club official said, "and two of the goals were scored by a striker and the other by a midfield player." The comparison was uncanny until close examination began to bend the parallels to Wembley, oops Cardiff (there goes another similarity).

For a start, it is going to take a generous judicial panel to award Everton's second goal to James Beattie as the ball was diverted past Thomas Myhre in the Sunderland goal by Danny Collins. Then there is question of whether James McFadden can be classified as a striker.

In fact, placing McFadden as anything other than "one for the future" has been a problem for the manager David Moyes, because he has been an enigma since his £1.25m transfer in September 2003. Arriving from Scotland as the next best thing since bagpipes, he has been a fringe player at best at Goodison, making just 17 starts before this game, usually as a winger.

On Saturday, however, he played in his Motherwell position of support striker and was the outstanding influence on this fourth-round tie. Quick and skilful, he complemented Beattie's muscular presence, scoring one goal and making Everton's third for Tim Cahill.

"He made a lot of good decisions," said Alan Irvine, Everton's assistant manager, and an equally good one was to start with McFadden rather than bring him on for a cameo role, as he has done on 36 occasions. "Sometimes I was trying too hard," McFadden said. "But the important thing was that I tried to change the mistakes into good things. Certainly, scoring helped me. I was told to go on and win the game for us and that's hard in 90 minutes, never mind 10. And your confidence can go backwards when you are not playing regularly. I thrive on confidence, but then again, everybody does. It is the best thing any player can have."

With McFadden's prompting, the confidence coursed through Everton who were 2-0 up and effectively through to the last 16 in 27 minutes. "They have a swagger about them," said Mick McCarthy although the Sunderland manager was far from dismayed at the gap between his side, who are third in the Championship, and the team who are fourth in the Premiership.

"It fills me with excitement that I might have to compete against that," he said. "It is worth remembering what these players have done already to get us into third spot in our own division, and have come from lower leagues. It is remarkable and I am full of admiration for them.

"We've come a long way and if we are lucky enough to come here next season we'll improve again. We'll learn a lot from that game."

The last time Everton won the Cup, in 1995, Sunderland were promoted the following season. Oh dear, this history thing is catching.

Goals: McFadden (9) 1-0; D Collins og (27) 2-0; Cahill (80) 3-0.

Everton (4-4-2): R Wright; Pistone, Yobo, Stubbs (Weir, 65), Naysmith; Osman, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane (Bent, 77); McFadden, Beattie (Chadwick, 77). Substitutes not used: Martyn (gk), Hibbert.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Myhre; S Wright (Brown, 62), N Collins, D Collins, McCartney; Whitehead, Thornton, Robinson, Arca; Stewart, Elliott (Bridges, 77). Substitutes not used: Alnwick (gk), Caldwell, Lynch.

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

Booked: Everton Naysmith, McFadden; Sunderland Wright, Elliott.

Man of the match: McFadden.

Attendance: 33,186.

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