Brave Crewe hold jaded Toffees
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The perennial First Division strugglers gave as good as they got, as The Toffees failed to come up with any ideas up front - despite the arrival of Paul Gascoigne as a second half substitute to play alongside an occasionally inspired David Ginola.
Indeed it was Crewe who came closest to breaking the deadlock, with Rob Hulse desperately unlucky to hit the bar in the second half, when he dived to half-volley the ball over a stranded Steve Simonsen.
By this time the first half had already served to show that a lack of creativity in the Everton side going forward cannot be countered simply by playing Ginola in a free role.
This was through no fault of the Frenchman, who looked a class above every person on the pitch.
Although the winger darted around showing his range of back-heels, turns and flicks, his team-mates remained subdued.
Crewe started brightly, and Dean Ashton's aerial ability was a constant threat, although after heading narrowly wide an early effort the England Under-19 star was wasteful with his best chance.
Clayton Ince in the Crewe goal was outstanding throughout, although he was mainly called on to stretch his giant frame and take crosses, rather than deal with shots.
Indeed on two occasions where it looked like he would be made to show his shot-stopping ability the ball did not reach him - Jesper Blomqvist taking the peculiar and wasteful option of trying to chip the keeper who was back on his line only for the shot to sail over and Ginola firing a well-hit half-volley into a defender.
Harsh words at half time sparked Everton briefly, but nothing would run for the home side in front of a noisy and irritated Goodison Park.
Although an upset was avoided, Everton will not relish the trip to the Alexandra Stadium, and Crewe - on this display - could take advantage of a Premiership side lacking imagination despite the presence of the likes of Ginola and Gascoigne.
At White Hart Lane, there was a sense of deja-vu as Spurs beat Tranmere 4-0 for the second time this season.
After romping to a victory by that margin at Prenton Park in the Worthington Cup earlier in the campaign, Glenn Hoddle's men repeated the trick on their own patch in the FA Cup.
Christian Ziege handed the hosts the perfect start on nine minutes when he rifled a left foot shot into the top corner.
Gustavo Poyet doubled the advantage on 36 minutes when he expertly turned home Ziege's precision centre.
Just prior to the midway point in the second half Teddy Sheringham put the tie beyond Tranmere's reach when he drilled home and in the closing seconds Poyet put the icing on the cake with a neat finish from his skipper's pass.
Click here for Opta's quick stats from Everton v Crewe
Click here for the Opta quick stats from Tottenham v Tranmere.