Reading 1-2 Everton: Gerard Deulofeu's free-kick sends Premier League side through
Last Updated: 22/09/15 10:32pm
Gerard Deulofeu's fine free-kick helps Everton come from behind to beat Reading 2-1 in the Capital One Cup third round.
The lively Nick Blackman opened the scoring for the hosts after getting on the end of a pinpoint cross from Ola John to tap home from close range on 36 minutes.
After the break, Everton brought on Gareth Barry who helped calm the Toffees down, and they snatched the impetus after Ross Barkley volleyed in an equaliser.
Reading had no answer to the Toffees' second-half dominance, and the pressure told when Deulofeu slammed home a free-kick from long range to turn the match on it's head, and they held on to seal their spot in the fourth round.
Roberto Martinez had made five changes to his Everton team, which included a first start for £9.5million Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori, and winger Aaron Lennon starting in an unfamiliar position at right-back.
Gareth Barry, Brendan Galloway and Tim Howard were also among the substitutes but Martinez's team still retained a strong appearance, and began with reasonable promise when in the eighth minute Arouna Kone shot wide of the left post from just inside of the area.
Within minutes Reading's Blackman, playing with both a confidence and urgency, produced a classy turn on the edge of the Everton area before shooting and forcing a diving save from goalkeeper Joel Robles.
The forward again threatened when played through in the 22nd minute but despite managing to send a low shot towards goal, he struggled to connect with it as he would have hoped and Robles responded with a routine save before the loose ball was scrambled away.
Reading's pressure was gradually increasing on their flat visitors and, shortly after Aaron Tshibola's 25-yard strike was fumbled wide by Robles, they scored the evening's first goal.
Exposing Lennon's discomfort at full-back, Ola John attacked down the left wing and sent a low cross towards the back post where Blackman, having read his delivery, sent a right-footed effort beyond Robles and into the roof of the net for his seventh goal of the season.
Martinez responded at half-time by reverting to his favoured 4-3-3 formation, introducing Barry to provide cover for his exposed back four, and removing Kone, despite him having outperformed fellow striker Romelu Lukaku, and the changes changed the course of the game.
Galloway soon followed in place of John Stones as Funes Mori switched to central defence, but even though Everton remained open it was they who scored next.
Alex Fernandez could only head Deulofeu's 62nd-minute corner as far as the tidy but previously quiet Barkley, and the midfielder capitalised with a fine demonstration of his technical ability by powerfully shooting first time beyond Ali Al Habsi.
The midfielder was soon central to another attack that resulted in a free-kick. It came as a surprise when Deulofeu stood over it, but his direct, curling 30-yard effort, in the 73rd minute, justified him doing so when the ball reached the back of the net, even if Al Habsi will reflect that having got so close he should have produced a save.
Everton responded to their advantage by becoming hesitant under Reading's desire to equalise, but the hosts' willingness to gamble failed to create a truly clear-cut chance, and the visitors held on.