The Blues travelled to Cheltenham in round three of the FA Cup and a professional display comfortably saw them through to the next round writes @Gazza2288 (Alex Fitzgerald)
Everton came into the game expecting certain progression to round four of the FA Cup. However, Cheltenham were well capable of causing a shock, boasting an impressive home record that has yielded just two defeats all season. In response David Moyes fielded a strong line-up ahead of this game.
Everton Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Jagielks, Distin, Coleman, Neville, Osman, Fellaini, Oviedo, Anichebe and Jelavic
Cheltenham Starting XI: Brown, Jombati, Bennett, Elliott, Jones, Mcglashan, Pack, Carter, Mohamed, Penn and Goulding.
The Blues made an edgy start to the game made thanks to the loud home fans - of which there was 5,899, with 1,101 travelling Everton supporters who made the long journey down south. Everton then found their shape after a couple of early scares and soon provided the travelling fans with something to shout about,. A run down the left from Oviedo who then played a sharp ball into Fellaini, his shot curling towards the far right corner before rebounding off the bottom of the post into the path of Jelavic who tapped home to give the Toffee's a 1-0 lead with just over 10 minutes played.
As the first half progressed Cheltenham had no answers to Everton's goal and continued to be sloppy with possession. 10 Minutes later Leighton Baines had a free kick wonderfully saved by Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Brown. Just three minutes after that a ball aimed at the head of Fellaini was cleared by Cheltenham centre back Alan Bennett but the referee deemed his climb on Fellaini as worthy enough of a penalty. The spot kick was taken by Baines who fired low and hard into the bottom right of the keeper's goal.
Cheltenham responded immediately and began to press Everton down the left hand side of our defence, with the pace of 30-year-old Jermaine McGlashan causing Baines a few problems, but nothing significant enough to trouble Tim Howard.
HT: Cheltenham 0-2 Everton.
11' Jelavic and Baines (pen) '20
The second half started with dominance from Everton as Anichebe and Jelavic both had shots on goal inside three minutes of the kick off. However, it was to be Leon Osman who scored Everton's third goal just four minutes into the half with a trademark fleet footed run past a number of players inside a crowded box to finish superbly.
Two minutes later though Cheltenham responded, with very acute pass from Kaid Mohamed to play Russell Penn into the area, the midfielder then finishing low into Tim Howards near post, again preventing the Blues from claiming a clean sheet at the back.
Cheltenham pressed and nearly got a second through Jeff Goulding, his shot eventually cleared by Distin. The Toffees soon regained control of the game though and began to pass the ball well, creating numerous close chances. Everton's good football was rewarded with easily one of the best goals of the round. A run down the right from Anichebe who chipped a ball into the path of Seamus Coleman, he brought the ball down outstandingly and then lobbed the helpless Cheltenham goalkeeper.
As time went on, David Moyes made numerous changes none of which - frustratingly for some Everton fans - included young Ross Barkley. The game was then topped off by the man of the season, Fellaini, who received a ball off an in-form Anichebe and finished well to complete the 5-1 drubbing.
FINAL SCORE Cheltenham 1-5 Everton
Everton player ratings: Howard 5, Baines 7, Distin 7, Jagielka 6, Coleman 8, Anichebe 9, Oviedo 6, Neville 6, Osman 9, Fellaini 8, Jelavic 7.
ESPN man of the match: Leon Osman
Royal Blue Mersey's Man of the match: Victor Anichebe. Although Osman was outstanding tonight as shown by our ratings, we feel with Victor's two assists tonight and overall effort he deserves the accolade.