Everton 2-0 Tamworth: Sunday Mirror match report
Published 17:07 07/01/12 By Derick Allsop
Forget the romance of the FA Cup, Everton were content to take a scruffy win and sneak into the fourth round.
The Premier League club, 96 places above Tamworth in the English football structure, managed to negotiate a bumpy ride.
Manager David Moyes said: “A good cup run would be important. But then we could be drawn against Manchester City in the next round...
“Tamworth did well and while it was 1-0 they were always in with a chance.
“I wanted to rest some players and try others in different positions. Without playing well, we had the right attitude and enough control to see it out.”
If Everton and their supporters thought John Heitinga’s early header would be the prelude to a romp, they were sorely mistaken.
They required a debatable penalty, converted by Leighton Baines, to ease the nerves of the closing stages.
Tamworth manager Marcus Law said: “The difference between us and a Premier League side was a set-piece and a dubious penalty. The ref got suckered into it.
“But it’s been a fantastic experience and I’m proud of the lads.”
For all their early momentum and the prompting of Landon Donovan, Moyes’ team were stifled and stretched by the unfazed Lambs through lengthy spells of the game.
The mid-table Blue Square Premier side, inspired by the resourceful Kyle Patterson (right), recovered to match their illustrious opponents end even suggest they were capable of tilting the balance of the contest.
Patterson, whose claim to fame is that he once played with Donovan and a certain
D Beckham at LA Galaxy, threatened to rewrite his CV. He repeatedly out-foxed Everton’s defence, much to the anxiety of keeper Tim Howard. To the relief of the American, Patterson’s finishing was not up to his approach play.
Goodison Park paid a warm tribute to the late Gary Ablett before taking the first, uneasy steps towards emulating their former player’s cup success.Donovan delivered a corner, Heitinga met it in the air and the deflection off Francino Francis confirmed its course to the net.
For a few minutes it seemed the Lambs were indeed being led to the slaughter. Victor Anichebe had a shot blocked and James McFadden went close.
But Tamworth, egged on by their 6,000 travelling fans, found some confidence.
Patterson broke through to pull an effort just wide then drove straight at Howard before Phil Neville was forced to head over his own goal.
Joe Collister, Tamworth’s former Tranmere goalkeeper, marked his return to Merseyside with an acrobatic save from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
But Everton relief came in when Royston Drenthe tumbled under the attention of Sam Habergham and referee Robert Madley pointed to the spot. Baines stepped forward to assure Everton’s passage.
There was still time for Donovan to be denied the goal his display deserved when he thundered a shot against the angle of bar and post.