Date: 9th January 2021 at 3:58pm
Written by:

Everton 2 Rotherham United 1 aet
Tosun (9)               Olosunde (56)
Doucoure (93)

Rotherham United didn’t disgrace themselves against a club who are thirty-six places above them this afternoon taking the Premier League side to extra-time at Goodison Park.

Everton started the game well and a good block by Ben Wiles kept Anthony Gordon out before a shot from Lucas Digney was cleared by Angus MacDonald but only as far as Andre Gomes who saw his shot go wide. But on nine minutes Gordon split the Millers defence picking out Cenk Tosun who hit the ball passed an onrushing Jamal Blackman in the Millers’ goal into the net to give the hosts the lead. The Millers started playing football and a long pass from Matthew Olosunde found Wes Harding who sent the ball into the path of Michael Ihiekwe who turned firing just over followed by some good work from Matt Crooks who found Michael Smith on the edge of the box but he also put the ball over the crossbar. The Millers then brought off two good saves from Everton ‘keeper Robin Olson firstly from Olosunde who saw the shot stopper parry his shot before a Crooks effort was blocked before falling to Dan Barlaser who saw his shot saved. A corner from Barlaser found Crooks who saw his header go over before a header from Ihiekwe was saved by Olsen. Everton had a chance in the final five minutes of the game with Seamus Coleman finding Tosun but the Turkish striker couldn’t get his effort on target. Crooks then had another chance after Lindsay found the head of Richard Wood before he sent it to the Millers number twenty-five who again fired wide before some nice work from Lindsay saw his shot into the box cleared. Everton will have thought themselves lucky to go into half-time still one-up.

Rotherham thought they’d won a penalty in the opening minute of the second half when Matt Olosunde went down under a challenge of Andre Gomes but Referee Stuart Attwell wasn’t interested. Everton had a chance after James Rodriguez and Cenk Tosun did well to set-up Alex Iwobi but he put his shot wide. More pressure from the Millers eventually paid off on fifty-six minutes when Olsounde got away from Lucas Digney, not for the first time in the game, and put his shot past Robin Olsen into the net to give the visitors a much deserved equaliser. It might have been two when Olsounde fed Wes Harding who shot from just inside the box but saw the ball go wide. That brought action from the Everton Manager, Carlo Ancelotti, who brought on Abdoulaye Doucoure and Bernard for Alex Iwobi and Anthony Gordon which was followed a few minutes later by Yerry Mina and Gylfi Sigurdsson for Lucas Digneu and Tom Davies. The Millers joined in with Matt Crooks being replaced by Kyle Vassell who had a chance within a minute of coming on when Jamie Lindsay teed him up for a shot just outside the box which went wide. At the other end a shot from James Rodriguez hit Lindsay going out for their first corner of the game on the seventy-third minute with Richard Wood heading the ball away to safety. Two more changes for the Millers saw Flo Jozefzoon and George Hirst on for Jamie Lindsay and Michael Smith. A superb pass from Rodriguez found Coleman who brought off some great defending from Harding seeing his pace get him across to block. Trevor Clarke was the next change for Paul Warne’s men seeing him on for Wes Harding. Some good work from Jamal Blackman saw him fall on the ball before Tosun could get a shot away. Two minutes later the hosts thought they’d gone back in front when Tosun got to a cross from Rodriguez and put the ball in the net only for VAR to rule it offside. Full time – one-one.

At the start of the first period of extra-time Matt Olsounde made way for Billy Jones. And just three minutes into extra time the Toffees were back in front when Rodriguez got a cross in between the Millers’ two centre-backs finding Abdoulaye Doucoure whose shot from just outside the box beat Blackman to make it two-one. Everton brought on Niels Nkounkou for James Rodriguez before Bernard saw a shot bounce off the post followed by Blackman doing well to hang on to a shot from Coleman. Angus MacDonald, Richard Wood and Cenk Tosun all went down with Wood the only one getting straight up. After treatment Tosun was soon on his feet with the Rotherham physio’s taking longer with MacDonald turning him carefully before finally letting him up to play on. In the second period of extra-time the Millers looked a bit jaded and the first booking of the game went to George Hirst after a coming together with Mina which, to be honest, looked like nothing. Flo Jozefzoon got the better of Nkounkou sending a lovely ball into the area for Trevor Clarke whose shot was blocked as far as Hirst but his back heel only found a Everton defender. A super block from Michael Keane stopped Vassell in his tracks before some wonderful defending from Angus MacDonald denied the hosts a third goal as he stopped Tosun.

It didn’t look too good for the Millers when Everton took that early lead but we outfought the blue shirts and eventually got what we, and Olosunde, deserved with the second half equaliser. But, unfortunately, extra-time took it’s toll on the Championship side and when Everton got went in front again they never really looked like conceding another.

But I can’t praise the Millers enough after today’s performance and I’m sure Paul Warne will be a proud Manager this afternoon.

We’ve just got to do it in the League games now.

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