Patchy Everton progress at the Reebok

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Michael Steele/Getty ImagesJohn Heitinga's 91st minute blast turned the boos to cheers in the Everton supporters section at the Reebok.

Signalling his intent and clear regard for the competition, David Moyes named his strongest available side. Victor Anichebe replaced the injured Seamus Coleman while Kevin Mirallas took over from resident scapegoat Steven Naismith. This appeared a wise move with Naismith struggling of late and Mirallas looking bright in his Southampton cameo.

- Jolly: Moyes masterstroke has Everton dreaming
- Match report: Bolton 1-2 Everton

Unfortunately, the Belgian's injury curse struck after just 18 minutes. It looked to be a reoccurrence of his troublesome hamstring injury and its constant resurfacing is a genuine worry. On the injury, Moyes said, "It was a disappointment but I'm not sure it's as bad as we first thought and hopefully he might not be too bad." As things stand, shorn of Mirallas and Coleman, the right side of the team has lost its creative threat.

Everton began brightly, dominating possession and asserting control over their Championship opponents. Mirallas looked inventive until injury curtailed his afternoon; Magaye Gueye his replacement. Despite just 50 minutes of league football this season, Gueye got the nod ahead of Bryan Oviedo. The continual ignorance of Oviedo in favour of others is baffling with the Costa Rican showing potential in his brief outings.

After a wayward effort from Anichebe, Steven Pienaar got the fortuitous final touch and gave Everton the lead. The South African was arguably Everton's brightest player with himself and Leighton Baines providing the only semblance of an attacking threat. Over-reliant on the Baines-Pienaar axis, Everton require more from the rest of the side. Several need to up their game with performances dropping below expected levels in recent weeks.

The goal should have provided the platform for a convincing performance but Everton lost their way as Bolton grew into the match as the half wore on. The Everton passing became lacklustre and misplaced with Gueye particularly culpable. Seizing the initiative, Bolton pulled themselves level with a smart near post finish from Marvin Sordell following good work from Darren Pratley. The home side ended the half on top and Everton were relieved to reach halftime on level terms.

With the match drifting towards a replay, Moyes shored up the midfield and replaced Nikica Jelavic with John Heitinga. Marouane Fellaini moving forward could not stop boos greeting the change with Moyes seemingly settling for a replay. The fans are well within their rights to boo, when they disapprove of something, as they are the only ones pumping any money into the football club.

In a comical twist of fate, Heitinga blasted Everton into the next round. Bolton failed to clear and the centre back drilled the ball beyond Andy Lonergan from the edge of the area. The final whistle took Everton through to the next round but not before Gueye hit the bar and Benik Afobe spurned Bolton's final.

Phil Neville vented his frustration towards the away support in light of the booing. Disagreeing with the decision to boo the Heitinga substitution, Neville will feel vindicated given the identity of the match winner. That said, given the timing and the football on display, the change was primarily a cautious one. Everton just happened to catch a lucky break.

Thankfully, in spite of the stuttering performance, Everton are into the next round and that is more important than splitting tactical hairs. Moving onto next week, the Toffees have two home games. West Brom and Aston Villa are the visitors and successive wins are the order of the day with more convincing performances required.

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