Everton came through the 3rd round of the FA Cup unscathed after a 1-0 win over Macclesfield. Playing a lower league team on a tight pitch, this was a banana skin waiting to happen - especially considering they had Rooney's younger brother in their ranks - but thanks to a fantastic strike Leon Osman, Everton will now travel to Anfield for the 4th round in what promises to be a mouthwatering tie.
It was all credit to Macclesfield that this tie went ahead after the baltic conditions in the run up to Saturday. By all accounts they even had fans joining in to prepare the pitch beforehand!
The match itself was a decent FA Cup game between two clubs with vastly different resources. All credit to Macclesfield for making it a tight affair but then again, we wouldn't have expected any less. The days of premier league teams turning up at lower league teams and handing out a thrashing seem increasingly rare!
Everton were at least able to include a recognised striker, with Victor Anichebe coming back into the lineup for the first time in a while. He worked had and held the ball up well, which is what he does best.
Despite a resilent and spirited performance from Macclesfield, the blues had most of the possession and knocked it around well. Arteta, was influential in the middle - as you'd expect - but Tony Hibbert of all people saw a hell of a lot of possession on the right.
The decisive moment came just before half time though, as an Arteta cross was headed out to the edge of the box, where the waiting Leon Osman controlled it with his chest and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top right corner. Great goal and when you think about it, he's scored some crackers in his Everton career.
Everton were professional in the second half and rarely looked troubled, but it could have been different in the last minute when the largely underworked Tim Howard had to spring into action and make a smart save as Macclesfield threatened to snatch a draw with the last kick of the game. Thankfully, the romance of the FA Cup - which normally means lower league teams beating the likes of Everton - didn't prevail but hopefully that will change in the next round when we travel to Anfield hoping to derail at least one of Liverpool's trophy winning ambitions!
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