Drawing like it’s 1990, but Wembley feels close again

Oldham Athletic 2-2 Everton

Just like in 1990 Everton looked set to progress to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup only to be pegged back by Oldham, as a last gasp goal consigned Everton to a replay at Goodison Park.

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If David Moyes wants to see progress both on and off the field before he commits his long term future to the club then the FA Cup presents an excellent opportunity for the Blues to secure silverware and a place in next season’s Europa League.

Two cup ties at Goodison Park stand in the way of Everton and a return to Wembley, exactly 12 months after the disappointment of losing to Merseyside rivals Liverpool in last season’s Semi Final. The Blues must first overcome League One Oldham on Wednesday week, with Wigan waiting in the 6th Round for the victors.

Whether Oldham deserved a replay of not, Everton should really have wrapped the tie up long before Matt Smith headed Oldham level in the 5th minute of stoppage time.

The game started poorly for Everton, with the Toffees playing in all white, caught on the break. Everton had just started to exert some genuine pressure on the Latics, when a long ball upfield caught out Leon Osman and left Croft scampering clear for Oldham. His cross come shot found an Oldham attacker unmarked and he stroked the ball home at the far post.

Before any fear of previous upsets could take hold, Everton were level. Just over 10 minutes after they had gone behind, the Toffees were level. Victor Anichebe showed all his strength and power to turn and hold off his marker before firing a rasping half volley past the Oldham keeper.

The second half started in perfect fashion. Mirallas on for the injured Anichebe, crossed in a perfect corner and despite been manhandled, Phil Jagielka headed Everton into the lead. From that moment on, Everton should have put the game to bed. A lack of a cutting edge and some poor finishing left Oldham in the game, and as time ebbed away, the Blues sat back and invited pressure from their lower league opponents.

With stoppage time almost up Oldham won a corner. Tim Howard who had made a couple of superb saves to keep Everton in front, cleared the first corner, punching away from the danger area, but only out for another corner ball. The Oldham keeper had come forward and was causing chaos in the box. A number of Oldham players were stood on Howard, looking to pressure the American keeper into a mistake. This time the corner was perfect, Howard tried to come and punch the ball clear again, but was left flapping in a crowded area as Matt Smith headed home and left the traveling Evertonians in despair.

So a replay at Goodison awaits. If Everton fail to make it back to Wembley they will only have themselves to blame. A performance lacking any form of complacency is a must, as is a packed and vociferous crowd to ensure victory comes Everton’s way.

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