Everton 3 Aston Villa 1 – Blues one game from Wembley

By • Feb 15th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports, News |

Everton have reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time under David Moyes this afternoon at Goodison. In a highly entertaining game the Blues triumphed 3 goals to 1 over 3rd placed Aston Villa. Everton were dealt yet another blow before kick off with Leon Osman adding to the injury list. Louis Saha couldn’t quite make the bench and Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar were also out joining long term absentees Yakubu and James Vaughan on the treatment table.

These injuries gave 17 year old midfielder Jack Rodwell a chance to shine and he performed like a seasoned veteran rather than teenager. It was Rodwell who sparked the game into life after 4 minutes: Mikel Arteta’s corner was headed goalbound by Tim Cahill only for Stiliyan Petrov to save it on the line with his hand. The Park End were on their feet demanding a penalty and the dismissall of Petrov but Rodwell was on hand to fire the ball into the roof of the net.

A great start for Everton was ruined minutes later; Gabriel Agbonlahor burst into the box and was brought down by Tony Hibbert for a clear penalty with Hibbert receiving a booking from stand-in referee Martin Atkinson. James Milner stepped up and somehow managed to squeeze the ball underneath Tim Howard who was very unlucky not to save it. The booking was a blow to Everton as it was Hibbert’s 5th yellow-card of the season meaning he will be suspended for the forthcoming Premier League game. Everton were demanding a penalty of their own soon-after as Cahill appeared to be pushed but replays showed Cahill hand-balled it and deservedly went into Mr Atkinson’s book, unfortunately this was also Cahill’s 5th booking of the season.

Half way through the opening half Everton were back in front; Victor Anichebe strode into the box and was brought down by Villa’s stand-in skipper Steve Sidwell. Atkinson pointed to the spot and booked Sidwell before Arteta duly dispatched the spot-kick to restore Everton’s lead

The second half was slightly less eventful as Aston Villa wasted numerous opportunities to draw level, the highlight being John Carew’s shot that went out for an Everton throw. But this was to be Everton’s day and on 75 minutes Victor Anichebe’s cross seemed to elude everyone but there was Cahill to lift the ball over Brad Friedel from close-range. Cue pandemonium in the stands. Villa had little in response and Everton saw the game out to progress into the 6th Round for the first time since 2002. Should Everton win their quarter-final tie at home to either West Ham or Middlesborough, a Wembley trip for the semi-finals will beckon

FE Man of the Match: Special mentions go to Jack Rodwell but it has to be the outstanding Mikel Arteta who ran the show today

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