March 30 is a day that comes with its fair share of positive memories for Everton. Today, we have five past victories on this date to look back at, including four wins on the road, a crucial cup clash and a wonderful solo goal to claim three points. Let’s dive in:
1968 - Leicester seen off as Everton make FA Cup semis
Another shot at FA Cup glory arrived for Everton in the 1967-68 season, and it was on this day 52 years ago that Harry Catterick’s men booked their place in the final four of the competition.
Having faced relatively comfortable opposition in previous rounds in Southport, Carlisle and Tranmere, here they travelled to Filbert Street to face Leicester City, then mid-table in the First Division.
It started off promisingly enough for the Blues, as Alan Ball’s sliced cross fortunately fell right into the path of Jimmy Husband, who flicked home after 33 minutes. But a poorly-defended corner presented David Nish with the equaliser just before the break.
Everton regained their composure, though, and ultimately saw off the Foxes’ challenge after the interval. Howard Kendall’s wonderful volley midway through the second half put them back in front, but Husband got his second and Everton’s third soon after with a cool finish to seal victory.
1996 - Royle’s rampant Blues dispatch Rovers
Today also marks the 24th anniversary of a memorable win for Joe Royle’s Everton at Blackburn Rovers, then the defending champions of the Premier League.
This time around, both clubs found themselves on the coat-tails of the European places, and Royle’s men gained some momentum after three games without a win with this convincing victory at Ewood Park.
The Blues were made to be patient, though; it was not until 71 minutes that Daniel Amokachi smashed home the opener through Tim Flowers’ legs from an Andy Hinchcliffe corner. But from then on, the floodgates opened.
First came an Andrei Kanchelskis goal from a seemingly impossible angle, darting the right wing before squeezing home almost from the by-line, again through Flowers’ legs. And the Russian made it a brace in injury time by holding his nerve to beat the Blackburn keeper when put through on goal to round off a fine victory for the Blues.
2013 - Mirallas’ masterpiece proves the match-winner against Stoke
Kevin Mirallas divides opinion among Evertonians, but few could argue that his finest moment in a royal blue shirt came in his first season at the club, with this solo goal against Stoke City.
From about the midway point of his own half, Mirallas received the ball from Tim Howard’s punch clear. Once he got hold of it, there was, literally, no stopping him.
First Steven N’Zonzi was powerless to stop him breaking away. Then, Geoff Cameron was left in a tailspin by the Belgian’s trickery. Then Asmir Begović was beaten by his composed finish in to the Park End goal.
All Mirallas’ own work, it felt fitting that Everton should beat Stoke 1-0 that day, given it was a goal worthy of winning any match.
2014 - Five in a row at Fulham
Mirallas was also on target for Everton exactly a year later, as he and Steven Naismith inspired the Blues to their fifth successive league win at later-relegated Fulham.
Everton were hot favourites for this one; they were one of the most in-form teams in the Premier League, whereas Fulham, on their third manager of the season by then in Felix Magath, already looked destined for the drop. But it was a cagey, goalless first half where Roberto Martínez’s men underwhelmed and didn’t do themselves justice, in truth.
Thankfully, that all changed in the second half. Soon after the break, Naismith’s shot deflected in off goalkeeper David Stockdale to put Everton ahead, and though Ashkan Dejagah’s stunner levelled matters with 20 minutes left, Mirallas and Naismith both delivered tidy finishes in the latter stages to seal a 3-1 win which the Blues ultimately merited.
It marked the first time since the start David Moyes’ reign in 2002 that Everton managed five straight league wins. Just four points separated them from fourth-placed Arsenal now, and with a game in hand. Next up - the Gunners, at Goodison, seven days later.
2019 - Zouma and Bernard on target in rare away win
It might seem like a lifetime ago now, but it was also this time last year that Marco Silva had Everton in the best shape of his 18-month tenure as manager, with this win at West Ham deserving of a more emphatic scoreline than their 2-0 victory that day.
From beginning to end, Everton dominated here, and even had chances to have taken the lead before Kurt Zouma’s thumping header broke the deadlock after just five minutes. Wave after wave of attacks continued from the Blues, who doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark when Bernard tapped in after some stunning link-up play.
More significantly, though, was that having looked so porous defensively, particularly over Christmas when they went eight games without a clean sheet, this was the Blues’ fourth shut-out in their last five matches. At last, everything seemed to be clicking for Silva. If only it had extended into this campaign.