Everton avoided a potential banana skin and now have their eyes firmly set on another cup run after winning 3-0 at League Two Carlisle United to progress into the FA Cup fifth round.
The Toffees put their League Cup woes behind them to secure a first victory in five outings courtesy of goals from Arouna Kone, Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley.
Roberto Martinez left the likes of Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and Gerard Deulofeu on the bench, but it didn't matter as the Blues flew out of the traps to all-but end the underdogs' hopes with two efforts inside the opening quarter of an hour.
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It was a disappointing start to a huge occasion for Carlisle who deservedly basked in the media spotlight following the community's efforts to ensure football could return to Brunton Park after flooding overwhelmed the area last month.
Everton made light work of a difficult playing surface and produced a very business-like showing to control the proceedings for long spells.
Derek Asamoah had the home side's best chances but Barkley put the seal on the Premier League team's victory with a deflected second-half shot while Kone almost rubbed salt in Carlisle's wounds with an effort from a narrow angle that crashed back off the post.
The Toffees remain a highly talented side to avoid in the draw for round five and are very much dark horses to land a first trophy in 21 years.
Aaron Lennon celebrates scoring the second goal for Everton
Image credit: Reuters
2' - GOAL! CARLISLE 0-1 EVERTON. Lennon races onto Tom Cleverley's ball over the top and rolls a simple pass into the path of Kone who taps in from close range.
8' - CARLISLE CHANCE! Robles forced into action to deny Asamoah's thunderous strike after an error from Funes Mori gave the forward a sight of goal.
14' - GOAL! CARLISLE 0-2 EVERTON. A lovely finish from Lennon after he bamboozled the home defence with a clever first touch before sweeping the ball beyond the keeper. Smart build up on the left provided the opportunity with Oviedo cutting it back for the former Spurs winger after a one-two with Barkley.
65' - GOAL! CARLISLE 0-3 EVERTON. It's three. Barkley surely seals the victory with a 20-yard shot that takes a wicked deflection on its way past Mark Gillespie.
74' - POST! Kone hits the woodwork from the most ridiculous of angles as he somehow got to a ball on the right byline.
89' - CARLISLE CHANCE! Carlisle almost snare a consolation but Jagielka diverts Ibehre's low shot away from goal after brilliant play on the right by Gilliead.
Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates scoring their third goal
Image credit: Reuters
Aaron Lennon netted his first FA Cup goal since January 2007 (Spurs v Cardiff), 3301 days ago.
Kone has netted four goals in six FA Cup appearances for both Everton and Wigan.
Everton have progressed in their past nine FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition, scoring 29 goals in the process and conceding only five.
The Cumbrians have won only one of their past 15 FA Cup ties against top-flight opposition, beating QPR 1-0 in January 1986 (D2 L12).
Everton have now reached the fifth round of the FA Cup in five of the last six seasons.
TALKING POINT. Can this Everton side fulfil their potential this season?
The Toffees were left aggrieved after a poor decision by the officials saw them concede a goal at a crucial point in their League Cup semi final, second leg at Manchester City last Wednesday. It ultimately cost them a chance to compete in an all-Merseyside final and led to some observers questioning whether Martinez's philosophy is getting the results they feel they should be achieving. There's no doubt the Blues have a wealth of talented youngsters at their disposal and the Goodison faithful are well aware they won't all stay forever. It's important to make the most of them while they remain at Everton and there would be no better way for this side to show just how talented they are by lifting the FA Cup for the club for the first time since 1995. After all, Martinez won the same trophy with a less distinguished Wigan side back in 2013.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Aaron Lennon (Everton). A goal and assist for the former England man who was a constant outlet for the visitors. Dangerous throughout.
CARLISLE: Gillespie 7, Atkinson 7, Ellis 6, Raynes 6, Miller 6, Kennedy 6, Dicker 5, Sweeney 6, Gillesphey 5, Comley 7, Asamoah 7. Subs: Hope 7, Gilliead 7, Ibehre 6.
EVERTON: Joel 7, Oviedo 7, Funes Mori 6, Jagielka 7, Coleman 7, McCarthy 7, Cleverley 7, Lennon 8, Pienaar 6, Barkley 7, Kone 7. Subs: Osman 6, Gibson 6, Galloway n/a.
MATCH IN A TWEET
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