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Everton vs Crystal Palace. The FA Cup Third Round.

Goodison ParkAttendance37,796.

Everton 1

  • A Gomes (42nd minute)

Crystal Palace 0

    Everton 1-0 Crystal Palace: Andre Gomes free-kick earns Toffees FA Cup third-round replay victory

    Match report as Everton secure a first third-round victory over top-flight opposition since they beat Sheffield Wednesday in 1988; Andre Gomes scores Everton's first free-kick in five seasons to defeat Crystal Palace

    Andre Gomes scored as Everton overcame Palace
    Image: Andre Gomes scored as Everton overcame Palace

    Everton midfielder Andre Gomes' first Goodison Park goal in almost five years settled a dreary FA Cup third-round replay against Crystal Palace.

    With the temperature sub-zero, the match did little to animate the 37,796 hardy souls in attendance but Gomes' strike - the Toffees' first from a direct free-kick in 197 games in a run dating back to August 2019 - was the one real highlight.

    Gomes' long stretch without a goal on home soil went back even further than Lucas Digne's set-piece against Lincoln in the Carabao Cup in August 2019 but it was worth the wait.

    Initially fouled by Jeffrey Schlupp 25 yards out the Portuguese took responsibility and curled a sumptuous effort over the wall and in off the post.

    After three matches without a goal, it was very much worthy of securing Everton a first third-round victory over top-flight opposition since they beat Sheffield Wednesday in 1988.

    Defeat means Palace now have just one win from their last 11 fixtures and Roy Hodgson was forced to defend his decision to substitute Eberechi Eze and Tyrick Mitchell as his side chased the game, with the manager insisting he was protecting key players ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Arsenal.

    Everton show character in difficult week

    Everton will face Luton at home in the next round
    Image: Everton will face Luton at home in the next round

    Palace's winter break meant they had a free fortnight from the original tie - itself a drab goalless draw - to prepare. Everton, whose own break was eaten into by this replay, had three days.

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    Manager Sean Dyche made four changes from Sunday's goalless draw with Aston Villa but two were enforced - Seamus Coleman and Abdoulaye Doucoure were both carrying knocks - while he rested goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

    His deputy Joao Virginia had arguably his best game in his five-year spell at the club with a string of good saves to keep a clean sheet.

    Gomes finds the net with his pinpoint free-kick
    Image: Gomes finds the net with his pinpoint free-kick

    Gomes was deployed in Doucoure's position just behind the striker, bringing a more measured, less energetic approach which meant Dominic Calvert-Lewin was often left isolated.

    The England striker, now more than 17 hours without a goal, had a chance early on but his near-post shot was turned behind by Sam Johnstone before watching a promising Jack Harrison cross float over his head.

    Quality of the final ball was a frequent cause for consternation as it was almost always over-hit and that left Calvert-Lewin frequently chasing lost causes down the channels.

    Everton kept their third successive clean sheet
    Image: Everton kept their third successive clean sheet

    Palace, by contrast, had much better control in the final third and in Eberechi Eze a player whose direct running opened up opportunities, highlighted by him side-stepping Vitalii Mykolenko only to fail to properly test Virginia, while Schlupp flicked over a pass from Jefferson Lerma.

    But Schlupp was to have a more pivotal role at the other end with his unnecessary bringing down of Gomes as he set off on a lone run towards the penalty area allowing the Portuguese to exact immediate revenge.

    Virginia made a good save from Tyrick Mitchell to ensure their half-time lead and will have been delighted to see Eze was surprisingly taken off in the 65th minute, prompting chants to boss Roy Hodgson of "You don't know what you're doing" from the away fans.

    However, they were almost proved wrong when Odsonne Edouard's shot on the turn was well saved by Virginia.

    Calvert-Lewin's almost three-month wait for a goal continued when he flashed an angled shot across goal while Gomes' replacement Lewis Dobbin had a header deflected wide.

    But the final say went to Virginia who made two crucial saves in added time to secure a home tie against fellow Premier League strugglers Luton.

    Dyche reveals Doucoure hamstring setback

    Sean Dyche confirmed Abdoulaye Doucoure has suffered a setback
    Image: Sean Dyche confirmed Abdoulaye Doucoure has suffered a setback

    Boss Sean Dyche revealed Abdoulaye Doucoure, just back after missing five matches with a hamstring problem, will be sidelined again after injuring the hamstring in his other leg against Aston Villa on Sunday.

    "We know Gomes has had a really up and down time with injuries," he said.

    "I said to him when he came back (in pre-season) I can see him being part of what we do as he was unsure at that time about whether he was going to be here or not.

    "We know he can play and it is finding the right spot for him. I don't think he is true number 10 but we know he can deal with the ball in there and he found his way into the game."

    On Virginia, who also did well in the original tie, Dyche added: "I think he has moved on a long way this season.

    "He made clear decisions, made a good save in the first half (from Mitchell) and then the one at the end (from Jeffrey Schlupp) he gets across quick and makes a good save."

    Hodgson understands Palace fan anger

    Roy Hodgson was criticised by a section of fans
    Image: Roy Hodgson was criticised by a section of fans

    Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson had no regrets about his decision to protect the likes of Eze for the trip to Arsenal after substituting his star player.

    "I appreciate for the fans it is a long way to come. I would've been disappointed to see Eze come off as he is one of our best players but I would have been equally disappointed if he had played another 35 minutes, got injured and put himself out for Arsenal.

    "In the last 30 minutes of the game, we had three or four goal chances. I thought this was a day when we deserved better than a defeat.

    "The major point for us is that we get home at 2am and at 12.30 we play Arsenal on Saturday so that was our problem.

    "I was able to at least spare three of the very important players for the weekend after 60 minutes and another couple after 70 minutes.

    "We should be in a slightly better position to confront Arsenal because that will be a vitally important game."

    On a fifth failure to get beyond the third round in eight years, Hodgson added: "It's our own fault.

    "If we had wanted to progress in the cup serenely we would have won the game at home. We didn't, we drew 0-0 which forced us into a replay."

    Virginia impresses again

    Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

    "Palace still offered a threat right until the end. Everton really needed that second goal to give them breathing space.

    "Little things which Dyche will want to train in terms of managing those final minutes but the reward of a fourth-round tie at home to Luton means they should feel they have a chance of coming through that.

    "Importantly, Everton have another win on the board again. It's three clean sheets on the trot, and that forms the basis of victories.

    "Their defensive record has been very good this term. In this difficult week, their fans more than anyone deserve a 10-day break and they can be proud of their players tonight.

    "Above all, Joao Virginia, who has shown he is a very capable understudy to Jordan Pickford."

    Same old problems for Palace

    Sky Sports' Clinton Morrison:

    "Everton will take confidence from it. The goal from Gomes was a good free-kick. Palace will be disappointed with how they gave the ball away before that.

    "I don't think either team really want to be in the next round as they're both at the wrong end of the table but this win should breed confidence for Everton.

    "The one thing about those Everton fans, it was packed tonight. They're going to play a big part in them staying in the Premier League and I think they will stay up tonight.

    "Palace are still creating chances and tonight I still saw positives. Their problem for many years has been putting the ball into the net. They're short of confidence up front.

    "Hodgson made five changes with one eye on Arsenal but I think once they get Olise back, they have enough to claw themselves away from danger."

    What's next?

    Everton visit Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Premier League on Tuesday January 30; kick-off 7.45pm. Arsenal host Crystal Palace on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.

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