Everton moved into the Third Round of the Capital One Cup after a thrilling 5-3 win against League One Barnsley at Oakwell. A Romelu Lukaku brace saw the blues come from 2-0 down at half-time to win after extra time.
The team news was announced at 18:45 and came as a bit of a surprise with John Stones being announced in the starting XI.
We lined up 4-4-2 with Joel, Pennington, Stones, Jagielka, Oviedo, Mirallas, Besic, Cleverley, McGeady, Naismith, Lukaku
Pennington was given his Everton debut and McGeady started (why I hear you say). Apart from that it was a very strong side.
We started on the front foot and almost took the lead from a quick counter. Joel played a long goal kick down the field to Lukaku who ran through on goal, the big Belgian couldn’t get the ball under control but the ball broke to Mirallas who’s curled shot was well saved by Davies who could only push the ball out to McGeady who’s controlled effort was straight at the Barnsley stopper who managed to keep the ball out thanks partially to his shoulder. It was a great chance and one we would live to rue.
We continued to press but with very little end product. Unfortunately it was the home side who would take the lead. A mix up in our box between Jagielka and Pennington led to Winnall hitting a right footed shot that flew into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. All of a sudden the home side looked like taking the tie by the scruff of the neck. Six minutes later it got worse for the Blues. This time a deep ball to the back post wasn’t dealt with properly and Watkins somehow managed to bundle the ball over the line past Joel. The Spanish keeping didn’t dominate his box and its fair to say he was at fault for the goal. We found our selves 2-0 down and looking like we were heading out of the League Cup once again.
Roberto was making his way down the tunnel before the stoke of half time, last seen talking to a number of substitutes who were warming up on the touch-line. He was clearly unhappy with the first half performance and he was about top make changes.
Half Time Barnsley 2-0 Everton
As predicted Roberto made changed with Barkley replacing Pennington and Deulofeu replacing the helpless McGeady. Hopefully this may be the last time we see the Irishman (we can at least hope). Pennington can count himself unlucky but attacking changes were needed. Barkley dropped into midfield and Cleverley fell back to cover right back.
All of a sudden the introduction of Deulofeu gave us that injection of pace down the right and straight away we looked a threat. It took us six second half minutes before we were back in the game. A Bryan Oviedo cross was headed down into Mirallas’ path by a Barnsley defender before Kev half volleys a great shot into the roof of the net past Davies, 2-1. The tie was turning in our favour and we were level eight minutes later. This time Gerard Deulofeu worked a great angle for a cross before whipping a brilliant ball onto Naismith’s head for the albino Pele to head us level.
In typical Everton fashion we let the home side gain the lead back instantaneously. It took them sixty-one seconds for the ball to be back in our net. Besic and Oviedo were caught ball watching down our left and a ball was pulled back to Crowley to neatly tuck away the ball past Joel. It was unbelievable after fighting so hard to get level we once again conceded a sloppy goal.
The next thirty minutes was all Everton and it took until the seventy-eighth minute for us to square the tie. Once again it was the Spanish magician who whipped a great ball into a dangerous area and all Lukaku needed to do was side foot the ball past Davies. He did and it was 3-3. Deulofeu missed a great chance to win it late on but he curled his shot just over after great build up play from Barkley.
Full Time 3-3, Extra Time loomed.
The Blues came out flying in extra time and put Barnsley on the back foot from the off. Deulofeu found space down the right, a couple of step overs he nutmegged his marker and played the ball towards Lukaku. This time the Big Belgian couldn’t connect but thankfully Roberts did and tucked the ball past his own keeper and we were ahead 3-4.
Barnsley then threw the kitchen sink at us but thankfully their goalscoring touch had deserted them. Hourihane curled a delicious shot against the upright from twenty-five yards out with Joel sprawling, but luckily that was as close as they came. On another attack Barkley intervened on the edge of our box, played a one two with McCarthy and the Wavertree Wizard drove with the ball towards the Barnsley defence. He drew the defenders in and played a perfectly weighted ball to Romelu Lukaku who coolly slotted with his right foot past the on rushing Davies. We had chances to add further goals to the score sheet but Lukaku unselfishly on a hatrick squared the ball to Barkley, but the ball was cleared.
The referee blew the full-time whistle and the match ended 3-5 to the Blues.
It was a ridiculously topsy-turvy cup tie. At 2-0 down I couldn’t see how we were going to get back into the game. First half we looked so void of ideas. Barnsley played well but we had quality internationals out on the pitch but we just didn’t get going. The first goal was poor defending and the second was just embarrassing. The second certainly knocked the wind from out sails. Martinez wasn’t happy and changes were needed. Fair play to him he changed our shape and brought on players that would get us playing on the front foot. Deulofeu was inspirational. The Spaniard assisting three goals and unlucky not to have scored himself. He was the catalyst for the come back, he looked to hit the byline and put quality into the box for Lukaku and Naismith’s goals. Barkley was brilliant too, this time playing in a deeper midfield role, but the lad shone with Besic alongside him
Unfortunately defensively we were all over the show last night. The Stones saga first half clearly had an adverse effect upon him and us. We looked so vulnerable to the Barnsley attack and they pinpoint Oviedo’s lack of football as our weakness. Continually playing long diagonal balls in behind the Costa Rican. As poor as Tim Howard was against Man City, Joel made him look like Manuel Neuer. The Spanish stopper were so shaky and that transmitted to the defence. Last but not least Aiden McGeady was a complete waste of space last night. Deuloefu did more in the ten minutes after half time then the Irishman managed all first half. Hopefully the increased fitness levels of Deulofeu will mean we see less and less of him.
Man of the match today was an easy one. Gerard Deulofeu was the player we know he can be. The Barnsley defenders will still be having nightmares. He put us on the front foot and his delivery was as good as anything I’ve seen from an Everton player for a long time. Granted it was against League One opposition but its a great start to his permanent Everton career.
As they say, all that matters in cup football is progressing to the next round. We did that but please Everton a few more straight forward ties would be nice. I don’t think my heart can take many more evening like this.
Reading away in the next round, come on you Blues!