Roberto Martinez move pays off as Everton reach last eight
The Toffees overcome Swansea and now face a tough quarter-final clash against Arsenal
Roberto Martinez kept alive his dream of winning the FA Cup in successive seasons with different clubs as Everton beat Swansea 3-1 to advance into the quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Toffees manager, who guided Wigan to Cup glory last term,produced the telling substitution which helped Everton break a stalemate with their Premier League rivals at Goodison Park.
However, Everton now face a tough last eight clash against Arsenal, who beat Liverpool 2-1.
After Everton debutant Lacina Traore and Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman had traded early goals, Steven Naismith’s introduction on the hour proved decisive as he scored a second goal for Everton and won the penalty from which Leighton Baines completed the scoring.
Traore had taken just four minutes of his Everton debut to hand Martinez’s side the lead.
Kevin Mirallas’s free-kick was headed goalwards by Sylvain Distin, who did well to latch onto the blocked effort and thread a pass to Traore who scored via an audacious back heel from six yards that passed through the legs of Pablo Hernandez.
It was an ideal start for Everton, and a fortunate one as they could have gone a goal behind after 30 seconds when Hernandez’s through ball was chased down by Alvaro Vazquez who rounded the goalkeeper but, from a difficult angle, opted to pass to Roland Lamah whose shot was blocked.
However, Everton were not so fortunate after 14 minutes when the visitors equalised with a routine goal that exposed some poor Everton defending.
The unmarked de Guzman raced in between the stationary Baines and Distin to connect with left-back Neil Taylor’s far-post cross and head powerfully past Joel Robles.
In between the goals, Ross Barkley had made an opening for himself before producing a low shot which passed just wide of the Swansea goal.
And, as they looked to regain the lead, Steven Pienaar hit the cross-bar with an intelligent chip from a Baines cross with Traore’s follow-up header being well held by Gerhard Tremmel.
Mirallas also rolled a shot narrowly wide from a good attacking foray down the right by over-lapping full-back Seamus Coleman.
Swansea were not helped by injury to Kyle Bartley, who limped off to be replaced by Ashley Williams after a half-hour, and fellow defender Ashley Richards did not help their cause when he tripped Mirallas just outside the Swansea area.
Mirallas himself took the direct free-kick and drew a decent, diving save out of Tremmel who moved sharply to his left.
Before the interval, Barkley also came close with another strong run that ended with an 18-yard shot that, again, narrowly missed the Swansea goal.
But Swansea, despite eight changes made by new manager Gary Monk, looked capable of hurting their hosts on the counter-attack and twice Lamah threatened, first drawing a save from Robles then sending a ball into the area which Vazquez should have done more to meet.
The second half opened with Everton again carving out the better chances with Barkley, yet again, chancing his arm from the edge of the area and Pienaar wasting a glorious chance by heading wide from six yards from James McCarthy’s touch.
By that stage, Martinez had brought on Naismith and Leon Osman as 60th minute substitutes and it was to be the former who made an almost immediate impact by shooting Everton into the lead five minutes later.
The goal required a considerable helping hand from Swansea, however, as Taylor succumbed to pressure from Mirallas and hit a poor back pass in the direction of his goalkeeper.
Naismith showed lighting reactions to intercept the ball and calmly beat the advancing Tremmel with a finish into the far corner for his fourth goal in the last six matches.
A further six minutes on and Naismith was again involved as Everton effectively killed off the tie.
The substitute was on the receiving end of a rash challenge from Richards and referee Kevin Friend instantly awarded the penalty kick from which Baines convincingly handed Everton a 3-1 lead with a shot into the bottom right-hand corner.