Everton would have been looking to start their annual FA Cup adventure with a slightly easier fixture than fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace, but that is the luck of the draw. Coming off three consecutive defeats, all in differing fashion, Sean Dyche would have wanted his side to start strong and impose themselves on the game here.
Despite their win over fellow Londoners Brentford over the weekend, Palace are in poor form themselves with injuries putting Roy Hodgson on the spot.
The big move for Sean Dyche today was giving a rare start to backup goalkeeper Joao Virginia as Jordan Pickford got a well-deserved break. Arnaut Danjuma also got the start with Abdoulaye Doucoure still not fit, and the midfielder wasn’t in the squad either. Club captain Seamus Coleman returned to the fold with a starting berth.
The rain was teeming down as Seamus Coleman led the Everton team out for his 412th appearance which leaves him just two more matches to go before he surpasses Tim Howards Everton record of 414.
Crystal Palace were happy to let Everton have possession in the few first few minutes. It was Jeffrey Schlupp who had the first shot which was handled confidently by Virginia. The conditions were very poor, which prevented the teams from raising the pace of the game.
Danjuma was a willing runner down the left side which gave Everton an outlet to spread the Eagles defenders. Eze was looking for a foul on the edge of the box but for his simulation efforts he received a yellow card from referee Chris Kavanagh.
Everton had their first chance on that when a scrambled play had Arnaut Danjuma on the end of a Séamus Coleman pass, but the forward only hit the side netting. Everton were pinning Palace back, while the Evertonians sang out their appreciation of the effort. Moments later, Danjuma was put into the clear, and it was only a top save from Dean Henderson that denied the Everton player as Spirit of the Blues rang out around Selhurst Park.
A marauding run from debutant Franca ended with a welcome to the Premier League from Tarkowski. The free kick from Eze went well over. Everton went right back down the pitch and the resulting corner required a great kick save from Ânderson to deny a goal.
It took more than 30 minutes for Crystal Palace to get their first corner. Eze delivered the cross, but there was nothing to be had. However, Virginia was then flapping his arms as a cross looped over his head, but Mykolenko cleared the ball off the line. A ball over the top from Lerma sent Palace on their way, but the Everton defenders were well organized. The ball finally fell to Lerma, who blasted the ball well over the top, their best opportunity of the first half.
Dwight McNeil drifted a ball into the Palace box which rebounded back to James Garner, who was unable to get the ball past the onrushing defenders. Everton were just unable to break the defence down. The experience of Seamus Coleman was then called upon to snuff out a through ball which was definitely going to create difficulties. With a few stompers, only one minute was on the board as extra time was announced.
There were no changes at halftime with the congested fixture list over the Christmas break, neither team would want to have to play a replay at Goodson Park in a week. Crystal Palace were on the front foot at first, and were looking for their young Brazilian Franca to get on the end of the forward play.
Moments after Garner had curled a ball past the goal, Joao Virginia made a great stop on a blast from Eze that was Palace’s first shot on net. Crystal Palace were controlling the play in the first 10 minutes of the half. Everton’s inability to get the ball out from the back was hindering their progress. Dyche was needing to make a change, and with the 60th minute mark arriving, it was certainly time.
Calvert Lewin then was in on goal but Dean Henderson made the stop look easy. Everton started to put Crystal Palace under a bit of pressure. A couple of corners had forced Henderson into a series of saves. Everton finally got one of their corners deep which allowed Amadou Onana to get his head on the ball but his header looped over the net.
Everton were again controlling the game and were buzzing around the Palace goal. The Eagles made their first switch on the 70 minute mark with both Franca and Schlupp coming off in place of Hughes and Ahamada.
Danjuma had his first shot on the net after the ball fell to him, but his low shot was equaled by Dean Henderson, who easily handled the shot. A nice ball forward to Calvert-Lewin was controlled well, but he was unable to get any real power on the effort. Incredibly, Kavanagh was then called on to make a determination on whether his tackle was deemed to be violent conduct. The red card was given. Ridiculous. Thank you VAR referee Craig Pawson. Pictures of the tackle might look bad but in real time the challenge was tame and a yellow card if anything.
With the team down to 10 men, Everton clearly needed to make it through the final minutes after controlling this match from start to finish. Dyche brought on Beto for Danjuma and Hodgson threw on Eduard Odsonne to go for the win. Eze had a great chance but Everton bodies were in the way to block the shot.
Dwight McNeil was on the floor after the incident and the referee allowed for the play to continue which meant we were down to nine men.Needless to say, Crystal Palace were happy to play on, and it was the Everton players who were needing to show their fight. McNeil could not continue, and with a shortage of players Dyche called on Andre Gomes to fill the void.
Lying beyond the goalline, McNeil needed an aircast and a stretcher which was another worrying picture for Evertonians. His left leg was bound before he was taken away. With the minutes ticking down Jack Harrison had a glorious chance but his shot sailed well over.
Nine minutes of extra time was announced to the dismay of the large traveling contingent. The rain continued to pour down as the last few minutes arrived. Garner and Harrison were running their socks off. The final two minutes arrived with neither team getting much in the way of chances. Everton were happy to get the ball clear of their box. Palace were buzzing and it was a great save from Virginia that denied Eze before the final whistle. Sean Dyche was quick to come out and applaud his players and the fans.
Man of the Match - James Garner was a workhorse for the team from the first minute to the last.
Arnaut Danjuma was given a rare start for the match, and his contribution was consistent with his previous efforts in the team. He is a very direct player and when he was given the ball, he was more than happy to drive towards the opposing goal. Everton were happy to float the ball over the top and look for Calvert Lewin to get on the end of the pass in order to flip the ball on to any support that was around him. Sadly, this was not happening as Danjuma was never close enough to have an impact. His effectiveness in the first half was completely absent in the second after switching sides with McNeil.
Onana and Garner were playing a great game defensively but were not really contributing going forward. Harrison drifted in and out of the game in the Doucoure role.
Joao Virginia was able to show his worth to the club. After a successful loan spell last year, there is no doubt that the young Portuguese player is seen as the clear back up to Jordan Pickford. When called upon tonight, he was confident and more than willing to assert himself in the box, which is all you can ask of a young keeper. His distribution was excellent and you wouldn’t have noticed that the England #1 was not between the sticks.
VAR was completely uninvolved for the first 80 minutes of the match but could play a big impact on the rest of Everton’s season. I am completely dumbfounded by the call made to dismiss Calvert Lewin. His foot was definitely off the ground, but he was not going in with two feet and his contact was minimal at best. The many views of the incident failed to convince me that a violent incident had occurred. I have no words and now we are without Calvert-Lewin until almost February.
We see it so often that at this point we almost stop noticing it, but Mykolenko was once again solid defensively, and it was only when McNeil switched to the left that the Ukraine international started getting into attacking positions.