Everton produced an away day masterclass to book a place in the FA Cup Semi Final at the expense of Sunderland, with a resounding 2-0 victory.
With the agony of the Merseyside derby defeat and a lacklustre home performance in the first game against Sunderland, Everton arrived in the north east and put on a performance of verve, determination and raw enthusiasm to blow apart any hopes of a Wembley trip for the hosts.
The Toffees dominated the full 90 minutes, moving the ball about with incisive triangle passing, whilst Sunderland laboured around the pitch, hitting loose passes and eventually resorting to aggression, epitomised by the poor attitude of Lee Cattermole towards the end.
Everton were a different class. The January arrival of Nikica Jelavic has produced a focal point in the final third, and once again the Croatian continued to adapt his game to English football as he deftly placed a shot low beyond Mignolet on 24 minutes, providing the finish the excellent cross from Magaye Gueye so richly deserved. Incidentally, the Frenchman was absolutely outstanding tonight, and this game marked his real arrival at the blues.
Everton could and should have scored many more than the two goals we ended up with, but once again several chances went begging – a chronic problem which has prevented us from giving a few sides a hiding this season.
Leon Osman fizzed a marvellous volley from a corner millimetres wide of the top corner, whilst Jelavic missed a gilt-edged chance whilst one on one, sending the ball wide of Mignolets post.
The second arrived in a comical fashion. Fellaini fed a through ball for Jelavic, who shot under the ´keeper. The ball was going wide, but David Vaughan – freshly on as a replacement for the awful Sotiris Kyrgiakos – sliced horribly into his own net.
The Blues didn´t look back from there on in. We bossed the game tonight, and there will be 7,000 plus very proud Evertonians travelling home from the north east tonight, and many, many thousands more beaming with pride at home.