Dan Gosling, who turned 19 on Monday, sent Liverpool crashing out of the FA Cup today with a well-taken goal just two minutes before the expiration of extra time. Everton can be especially grateful to Gosling considering our poor record in penalty kick shoot-outs, which was where the match was headed.
By extra time, Liverpool was a shadow of itself. Steve Gerrard had limped off injured early on. Then Lucas was sent off, reducing the Shite to 10 men. Finally, Fernando Torres, out-of-gas and “played off the park” by Phil Jagielka, was substituted in the 101st minute.
For its part, Everton was the shadow that “itself” has become. All four of our strikers were unavailable and one of our makeshift strikers, Marouane Fellaini, was substituted early in the second half (whether due to injury, ineffectiveness, excessive fouling, or general principles, I could not tell). Within the course of a few minutes Leon Osman was moved from right wing to central midfield to left-wing, as Everton reshuffled to accommodate its two teenage substitutes, Gosling and Jack Rodwell. Osman eventually returned to central midfield, I think, when when the troubled, never-used Andy van der Meyde came on in the closing minutes.
But we did have the extra man. And the Gosling made it count, taking van der Meyde’s cross in the box, managing to stay on the ball in traffic, and firing it past the Liverpool keeper with the help, possibly, of a slight deflection.
Everton’s prize is a round of 16 encounter with an outstanding Aston Villa side. But the real prize is bragging rights at the end of a memorable Merseyside Derby trilogy in which it took 298 mintues to separate the two rivals.
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