Toffees cruise into last eight
Drenthe and Stracqualursi strike for Everton
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: February 18, 2012 5:31pm
Two goals in the first six minutes of the match were enough to give Everton a comfortable 2-0 win over Blackpool in their FA Cup fifth round clash at Goodison Park.
Indeed, once Royston Drenthe had curled the ball home after just 49 seconds, there was only ever going to be one winner of this tie.
It took Everton just another five minutes to double their lead when Denis Stracqualursi converted from close range.
The Toffees could and should have added to their advantage as they created numerous chances, as Blackpool, who rested a host of players, were outclassed from start to finish.
The visitors did have the chance to threaten a late comeback when they won a penalty in the final minute but Kevin Phillips fired over to compound a miserable afternoon for the Seasiders.
Everton now progress into the last eight as they look for their first FA Cup final date since 2008.
The result also means David Moyes' men are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, with their past four at home all being wins.
Everton's starting line-up showed three adjustments from the last of those victories, the 2-0 Premier League triumph over Chelsea, with Drenthe, Magaye Gueye and Tony Hibbert coming in for the ill Landon Donovan - unable to make a final appearance for the Toffees before returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy - the cup-tied Steven Pienaar and Tim Cahill.
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway shuffled his pack extensively by making seven changes.
While providing plenty of entertainment with their attacking play last term, the Seasiders had frequently looked vulnerable at the back during their maiden campaign in the top-flight and it took less than 50 seconds for Everton to breach their defence today.
Fellaini collected Gueye's pass from the left in the box, turned and rolled the ball to Drenthe, who lashed it beyond Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks into the net.
Moments later, the Toffees had another goal as Drenthe's corner came to Stracqualursi via a flick-on.
The Argentinian missed with his first swing at the ball but managed to tuck it home from close range at the second attempt.
The visitors looked for a way back into the game and after Phillips had drilled a free-kick into the wall, Everton keeper Tim Howard came out to deny Gary Taylor-Fletcher, the pair colliding and the Blackpool man subsequently having to come off for Roman Bednar.
Gueye had reason to be aggrieved at his team-mate Darron Gibson when the Republic of Ireland international intercepted a pass to him in a useful position, only to skew a shot horribly wide.
Stracqualursi was then just unable to get on the end of Gueye's cross before Craig Cathcart blazed over at the other end.
Everton's control over proceedings showed little sign of letting up as the first half drew to a close, with Fellaini seeing a shot deflect wide, Gilks saving an effort from Gibson and Stracqualursi heading too high.
Fellaini then missed with a header of his own and Drenthe curled a free-kick over the bar, before Ludovic Sylvestre called Howard into action with a drive.
Howard collected a free-kick from Tom Ince early in the second half, but it was the Toffees soon applying the pressure again, with only a sliding tackle by Bob Harris ensuring neither Fellaini nor Gibson converted Stracqualursi's cross.
Gilks then pulled off a great save to push behind a fizzing shot from Drenthe and John Heitinga headed the resulting corner over.
Phillips struck a free-kick that Howard caught easily, but the veteran striker went closer soon after with another, smacking the ball against the woodwork.
Phillips then tried his luck again but hoisted his attempt into the stand.
Stracqualursi nearly got on the scoresheet again, but Gilks blocked his hook shot from Leighton Baines' delivery and the big forward then lost his footing as he struck another effort which went well off-target.
Harris denied Everton once more with 10 minutes to go, clearing off the line from Fellaini, who headed over soon after.
Substitute Seamus Coleman, a former Blackpool loanee, brought a save out of Gilks before the visitors twice almost pulled a goal back late on.First, Lomana LuaLua saw Howard tip his strike on to the post and in the dying seconds, Blackpool earned a spot-kick when Heitinga fouled Bednar, but Phillips sent it sailing over the crossbar.
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||5|
|8||Shots off Target||5|
|48.8||1st Half Poss.||51.2|
|44.7||2nd Half Poss.||55.3|
Everton v Blackpool
Everton's Phil Neville insists Landon Donovan will be missed after he returned to LA Galaxy following the conclusion of his loan spell.
Ian Holloway is delighted to see Blackpool on the up after admitting their relegation was one of the lowest points in his life.
Loan star Landon Donovan admits an FA Cup date with Blackpool on Saturday could mark his final outing in an Everton shirt.