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Everton 3 Carlisle United 1: match report

Read a full match report of the FA Cup third round game between Everton and Carlisle United at Goodison Park on Saturday January 2 2009.

 
Back of the net: Kevan Hurst finds the gap to put Carlisle on level terms with Everton
Back of the net: Kevan Hurst finds the gap to put Carlisle on level terms with Everton Photo: GETTY IMAGES

It was perhaps flattering for Everton that they overcame Carlisle United by such a seemingly comfortable margin, but had their captain Danny Livesey's ferocious 70th-minute attempt gone in instead of cannoning back off the crossbar, last season's beaten finalists could have been staring embarrassing third-round elimination in the face.

The gallant League One side, outside contenders for promotion too, protested that there had been foul play in the build-up to Everton's decisive second goal by Tim Cahill, his 50th for the club, but the Carlisle manager Greg Abbott admitted: "While we felt there was a foul in the lead-up, we have no complaints. We don't complain about decisions by referees, although this was a big one that ultimately cost us the game."

Even the Everton manager, David Moyes, congratulated Abbott on his team's stirling display and told him: "You were unlucky."

Said Abbott: "With a bit more run of the green we could be talking about a draw or even a shock result. But we gave as good as we got against a big Premier League team. There was no evidence of the gulf between the sides the way we played."

Abbott's task is to now make sure his team get back to basics and will hope they can continue their seven-game unbeaten league run.

The Carlisle manager paid tribute to the efforts of his two young on-loan midfield players, Adam Clayton and Tom Taiwo, borrowed from Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. Said Abbott: "They were up against two world-class opponents in Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini but they gave them a right battle."

Moyes described it as: "A great result, and we have to thank our goalkeeper Tim Howard for a wonderful save when he turned the ball on to the crossbar. But then, we have been winning games late on and sticking at it.

"Carlisle came here and made it hard for us, a little bit like Macclesfield did last season. They were always a threat, always in the game, and the entire team have done their supporters proud."

The visitors, backed by a vociferous 6,000-strong following who had braved atrocious weather conditions on their journey south, were far from intimidated by their more illustrious hosts from the outset and indeed commenced in enterprising manner as they bravely carried the game to Everton.

It provided an uncomfortable initial 10 minutes for the home side, although any nerves were finally dispelled in the 12th minute when they were gifted a lead that was much against the run of play.

Clayton's attempt at a long backpass fell disastrously short and James Vaughan, making his first start of the season, quickly exploited the error by rounding the oncoming Carlisle goalkeeper, Adam Collin, to score with ease.

Yet it was an advantage Everton clung to uneasily, and within a further six minutes Carlisle had achieved parity.

Fortunately it was built on splendid work by Clayton and helped to atone his earlier error as he powered through on the left to rifle in an angled drive that was touched in at the far post by Kevan Hurst.

Vaughan, out for a long spell with a knee injury and with just appearances and one goal as a substitute behind him, had the ball in the Carlisle net a second time in the 24th minute, but this time he was off-side after Collin had parried Cahill's initial attempt.

Vaughan again went close, narrowly heading wide, while an effort from Fellaini did not possess sufficient power to seriously trouble Collin. Meanwhile, Howard was emerging the busier goalkeeper although he dealt competently with long-range drives from Ian Harte and Matthew Robson who continued to trouble Everton on the left.

Lively and aggressive Carlisle continued to ruffle Everton feathers on the resumption and twice in five minutes Howard saved from Clayton and Hurst. Everton's was response was tinged with frustration as first Fellaini saw a shot blocked then he had a further effort parried by Collin.

Vaughan, too, was similarly denied when attempting to do too much before effectively delivering.

However, it was Carlisle who remained the more threatening, and John Heitinga splendidly intercepted when Robson drove hard and low across the exposed Everton defence. Then the home side had an even closer call in the 70th minute when Livesey, accepting a header from Harte, saw his thunderous shot turned onto the underside of the crossbar by Howard.

But Everton possessed the most meaningful threat eight minutes from the end, and Cahill powered in from the right to ease home fears that there might be a shock third-round exit. Those fears completely evaporated in injury time when Leighton Baines despatched a penalty after substitute Kieran Agard had been upended by Collin.