It wasn't flashy. It wasn't exciting. But it was a win. And that is all that really matters. Everton topped Dagenham and Redbridge by a score of 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.
This is a tough one to write much about. The game wasn't visually broadcast anywhere. For many Blues around the world, the onus came down to the audio stream on Everton's own website. The problem was that it didn't really work in the first half of the game. From the sound of it, we didn't miss much.
Everton dominated most of the game as they were expected to. According to BBC Sport, the Toffees maintained nearly 75 percent possession and outshot the visitors 20-3. The Daggers didn't even have a shot on goal the whole day.
The attack lacked its normal rhythm because many of the typical starters were on the bench. Instead, we were treated to the up and down performances of Arouna Kone and Kevin Mirallas as well as the return from injury of winger Steven Pienaar.
Kone was the one that broke the deadlock though. Bryan Oviedo's free kick found the head of the big Ivorian near the six-yard box and he buried it into the bottom left of the net with 32 minutes gone.
Later in the second half it sounded as though Everton were content to take the 1-0 victory and get out of there. But in the 85th minute of the game, Kevin Mirallas was brought down in the box and put in the kick from the spot himself to give the Toffees the two-goal cushion they probably deserved all afternoon.
There were some lighter moments in this one. Just after Mirallas was brought down, a cat ran out onto the pitch. It took the stewards some time to corral the feline, but eventually, with the help of Joel Robles, got everything under control. A few minutes later, according to the Everton broadcast, a 12-year-old old was jogging around on the field for no real reason. It was just one of those days.
A special guest has just made an appearance on the Goodison pitch with a few minutes of the game left. EFC 2-0 DAG pic.twitter.com/qJ5VEVwR29— Everton (@Everton) January 9, 2016
RM asked if the cat could be a good omen: "Hopefully. I thought he had great style and movement." #EFCvDAG— Everton (@Everton) January 9, 2016
The good: Pienaar and Phil Jagielka both returned from injury and knocked the rust off in a game that was a comfortable victory. Mirallas got in the goals, which should help with his confidence a bit and make him a more useful tool off the bench. Oviedo and Mo Besic both put in Man of the Match-worthy performances. Yougsters Matthew Pennington and Leandro Rodriguez got a taste of first-team action, which can be invaluable.
The bad: Ramiro Funes Mori went off with a head injury just before the half, although it doesn't seems to be serious at this point. Kone continues to show his lack of finishing skill. Yes, he had the goal but it sounds like he could have had much, much more. Just a boring match that should have been more full of goals than it was.
Overall, this was a business trip day for Everton. They were the favorites, performed like the favorites and are now moving on to bigger things. It's easy to nit pick and say things they probably could have done better, but this is a win against an inferior opponent. No need to make more out of it than necessary.
Next up, two tough trips in the league. First, a visit to the Etihad on Wednesday to face Manchester City for the second time in a week. Then, they head to Stamford Bridge on Saturday to face the Jose Mourinho-less Chelsea.