Oldham 2 – 2 Everton

    Everton failed to confirm a place in the sixth round after slipping to a draw in the dying minutes at Boundary park.

    The Blues made two changes to the team that lost at Old Trafford the week before, with Jelavic coming in for Mirallas and Distin replacing Heitinga. This meant that a 4-4-2 system was put in place in order to match Oldham yet showing an attacking intent. Fellaini was placed in the centre of the midfield alongside Gibson, where he was hoping to win the long ball that Oldham would go on to play numerous times.

    Everton began the opening 10 minutes well, determined not to slip to an early goal similar to what Liverpool fell to against the same opposition in the last round.  Oldham were not allowed to play how they played against the team across Stanley Park, because the Everton team were on top and looking to get the first goal themselves.  It was Oldham however that grabbed the early goal. It came from Everton pressure as a freekick and a resulting corner were cleared but countered on by the Latics, with Lee Croft winning a duel with Leon Osman on the half way line, proceeding to the right hand corner of the penalty area to play a beautiful ball across for the oncoming but slightly offside Jordan Obita to slot home.

    obitaObita celebrates putting the home side in front.

    This Everton side are a team that has come from behind in the Premier League a lot of times this season, with only Manchester United getting more points from losing positions. The Toffees would have to do it again and did just that, as it only took 11 minutes to get back on level terms. A long ball forward, which was starting to become more of a feature of the Blues’ attack, was nodded on by Jelavic towards Anichebe who muscled his defender out the way, span and hit a blistering shot past the unmoved Oldham goalkeeper.

    chebeNikica Jelavic congratulates Anichebe after firing Everton level.

    While the Everton faithful were still cheering, Oldham were on their second attack of the game and were nearly just as clinical again, with a deflected shot from Obita striking the foot of the post. There were no more chances for Oldham as Everton grew in possession, with half chances for the away team coming in the form of a Fellaini header onto the roof of the net and Nikica Jelavic just failing to gather a good through-ball from Pienaar. As the half time whistle went, it was clear that there was still room for improvement for David Moyes’ men.

    That improvement came very quickly in the second half, as Everton came out of the traps brilliantly, putting pressure on the Oldham defence and winning a corner. Mirallas, who came on for the injured Anichebe for the second half, put in a beautiful delivery in which a standing Phil Jagielka nodded in to an empty net.

    jagsJagielka nods home from the Mirallas corner.

    The men in the all white strip, who were looking more assured in possession, continued to dominate and had a few great chances to finish the game off. Steven Pienaar jinked his way past the opposition defence, found half a yard of space but produced a tame shot into the hands of the relieved looking Oldham goalkeeper. Leon Osman did the same, but it was Jelavic’s chance that should have all but sealed the result. In a similar chance to the first half, a lovely ball was put through, this time by Gibson, which the Croatian did manage to gather at this attempt and raced through, only to smash the ball with his weaker left foot just over the bar.

    Oldham decided that enough was enough and that they were going to give it a real go. Caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk brought on fourth round hero Matt Smith, who would go on to win a lot of aerial duels that Jagielka and Distin had been winning until that point. Pressure grew, Everton dropped deeper and invited more balls into the box. Smith forced a great diving save from Howard and another incoming Oldham player Simpson missed a great chance. The game moved onto injury time and it looked as if it was to be an Everton win and progression into the quarter final, until a succession of corners proved costly to the men from Merseyside as Matt Smith rose highest and headed it into the middle of the net with Howard stranded. Boundary park erupted and continued to celebrate as the final whistle went with the tie going into a replay at Goodison on Wednesday the 27th of February.

    smithhSmith rises the highest to head in a last minute equaliser. 

    The Everton Forum’s Man of the Match: Phil Jagielka – After winning it last week he wins it again. While two goals were conceded, neither were his fault and he was commanding and dominant throughout the match.

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