Everton cruise to victory
Everton 3 Oldham 1
Everton booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and ended Oldham’s memorable run with a routine victory at Goodison Park.
Latics raced into the lead during their 3-2 triumph over Liverpool in round four and against David Moyes’ men in a dramatic 2-2 draw 10 days ago.
But Everton placed their opponents under pressure from the first whistle this time and Kevin Mirallas, preferred in attack to Steven Naismith, got the breakthrough when he converted Darron Gibson’s excellent 15th-minute cross.
Jose Baxter, who still holds the distinction of being Everton’s youngest senior player and was granted a warm reception on his return to Merseyside, almost pulled Oldham level through a sumptuous lob that struck the post.
It was a rare moment of first-half encouragement for the visitors and Leighton Baines’ penalty made it 2-0 at the interval after Connor Brown handled.
Oldham’s cup hero Matt Smith – Liverpool and Everton’s chief tormentor in those memorable Boundary Park ties – came off the bench to claim his fourth goal of the cup run but, by that stage, Leon Osman had ensured the Toffees’ smooth passage into the next round and a home quarter-final against Wigan.
Despite the absence of injured talisman Marouane Fellaini, Moyes’ men began firmly on the front foot.
A sharp turn of pace from Mirallas forced Jonathan Grounds to bring him down on the edge of the area, with Baines sending the third-minute free-kick into the wall.
Oldham looked to use the pace of left-winger Jordan Obita in the early stages, but a pair of attempted though balls from Baxter were misplaced when trying to send clear the man who opened the scoring in the first game.
That honour on this occasion went to Mirallas, who applied the finish to Gibson’s superb cross from the right.
Oldham were almost back on terms immediately as Baxter collected Lee Barnard’s lay off to launch an exquisite lofted effort over Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard from 25 yards and against the upright.
Referee Michael Oliver was disinterested in a 24th-minute penalty shout for the hosts, despite replays suggesting Latics centre-back James Tarkowski had a good handful of Nikica Jelavic’s shirt as he battled to meet Phil Neville’s cross.
Baines then scythed an effort from distance that Dean Bouzanis in the Oldham goal did superbly well to keep out of the bottom corner.
Tarkowski again engaged in an unseemly grapple with Jelavic as Seamus Coleman delivered from the right byline but, although Oliver missed that indiscretion, the referee pointed to the spot when the cross struck full-back Connor Brown’s outstretched arm.
Bouzanis got a hand to Baines’ 34th-minute penalty but there was sufficient power for the ball to slip underneath him and into the net.
The game followed a similar pattern after half-time with Phil Jagielka lashing over when well placed before Osman failed to connect cleanly as Coleman provided further ammunition from the right flank.
In the 55th minute, Latics introduced Smith in place of the ineffective Chris Iwelumo.
Their attacks briefly acquired renewed vigour and fellow replacement Robbie Simpson, on for Obita, forced Neville to into a last-ditch clearance behind, while Lee Croft rifled a shot that glanced the side-netting.
But Everton responded by extending their lead slightly fortuitously in the 62nd minute.
Steven Pienaar’s in-swinging ball from the left was glanced goalwards by Osman, a header that evaded both Jelavic’s outstretched boot and Bouzanis’ fumbling attempts to gather.
This time Oldham did find a quick response through an increasingly familiar source – Smith allowed far too much space to power home Grounds’ corner.
Caretaker boss Tony Philliskirk, on his way to a first defeat in five games at the helm, urged his side forward but that left spaces on the counter-attack, most notably when Gibson should have added late gloss to the scoreline.
Fittingly, Smith headed towards goal as the curtain fell in Oldham’s cup exploits but Howard would not be beaten again.