Kevin Mirallas enjoyed a dream debut as Everton’s fine early season form continued with a thumping win over Leyton Orient to book their place in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
True, the Toffees were expected to win, but it was encouraging to see it was done with such efficiency. The headline maker will undoubtedly be Mirallas, who gave us all a taste of what lies in wait with two well struck goals.
Mirallas was one of six changes from the 3-1 win at Aston Villa, with Jonny Heitinga, Jan Mucha, Victor Anichebe, Magaye Gueye and Seamus Coleman all coming into the side.The kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes due to crowd congestion. Thousands of fans who had pre-booked tickets queued at the box office outside the ground and even with the delayed start, many did not get to their seats until near half-time.
A dog also randomly managed to find its way onto the pitch as the players warmed up – Jonny Heitinga even tried to scare it off with a rake!
When we finally did get underway there was an early scare when Leighton Baines appeared to pick up a knock. But – with Distin and Luke Garbutt readying themselves on the touchline – the England man managed to run it off.
The first chance of the game fell to Gueye, who had a left-footed shot just over. Moments later the Senegal international crossed for Victor Anichebe, whose header deflected wide for a corner.
Everton didn’t have to wait long for the opener though, and it was the one we were all waiting for.
With 16 minutes gone Steven Naismith played a neat through ball to Kevin Mirallas who took a touch before driving the ball across goalkeeper Jamie Jones and into the corner.
Four minutes later it was two. Baines crossing from the left and finding Mirallas, whose deft touch fell to Osman, who poked home his 50th career goal.
Everton were rampant at this stage, with Seamus Coleman particularly impressive down the right. One of his many rampaging runs down the by-line carved out a chance for Mirallas, who couldn’t quite fashion a shot on goal.
The Belgian and fellow newboy Naismith both had chances to score another before Everton did eventually net again on 29 minutes.
Mirallas picked the ball up on the left, jinked past one defender before firing in a low shot that flew beyond Jones and into the corner.
A perfect half was completed when Mirallas teed up Anichebe, whose shot perhaps should have been kept out by former Everton trainee Jones, who let the ball squirm beyond him and into the net.
David Moyes, aware the tie was won, chose to make three substitutions at the break, with Luke Garbutt (his debut), Shane Duffy and Ross Barkley on for Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka.
Those changes contributed to a much more fragmented second period, with Everton also taking their foot off the pedal.
The chances kept coming though; Ross Barkley in particular seemed desperate to score, seeing one effort deflect wide and another fly over. He also was a little over-eager and stole the ball ahead of Mirallas, who looked well set to fire home his hat-trick from inside the area.
The youngster did earn a glare from the Everton bench when he dallied on the ball in a dangerous area, allowing Dean Cox to have a shot that deflected just wide of Mucha’s net.
Seamus Coleman continued to impress, however, and he set-up the fifth goal, his cross from the right finding Gueye at the far post, who volleyed the ball into the back of the Gwladys Street net.
There was an injury scare in 74 minutes when Phil Neville pulled up and later hobbled off with a calf injury, meaning the home side finished the game with ten men.
Anichebe and Mirallas both could have added to the scoreline late on but in the end it stayed at 5-0, sending the Toffees through to the third round, the draw for which takes place after the Northampton v Wolves game on Thursday evening UK time.
Ratings: Mucha 6 Coleman 9 Heitinga 7 Jagielka 7 Baines 7 Naismith 8 Neville 7 Osman 8 Gueye7 Anichebe 7 Mirallas 8.
Man of the match. A tough one, there were solid performances across the pitch – not least from debut boy Mirallas. I’m going to be a bit controversial though and go instead for Seamus Coleman, who after a difficult season last year, looks to be rediscovering his form.
What did you make of the performance? Who do you want in the next round? Can we go all the way? Don’t forget to have your say below.