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The Moss Rose Ground | 3rd January 2009 15:00

Macclesfield Town v Everton

Everton have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

A Leon Osman goal was enough to see the Blues progress beyond a tricky away tie at League Two outfit Macclesfield Town and into the draw for the fourth round for the first time since 2006.

A cracking strike from the midfielder provided Everton with their fourth consecutive away win without conceding a goal - something that has only happened once before in the Club's history.

There were some nervous moments early in the contest for David Moyes' side, but they dominated proceedings in the second half - with Tim Howard a virtual spectator.

It should have been a victory by a greater margin, but second half chances were squandered - two from Phil Jagielka, one from Victor Anichebe and one from Leighton Baines.

Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott congratulate scorer Leon OsmanPhil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott congratulate scorer Leon Osman

Moyes' men certainly didn't find the opening period straightforward - despite fielding a side with just one change from the XI that started against Sunderland, with Victor Anichebe coming in for Marouane Fellaini.

Keith Alexander's well-organised side harried, denied space and created good chances of their own - providing a few nervous moments for the travelling party from Goodison.

Inside the opening two minutes Tim Cahill had a shot saved whilst, at the other end, a stray clearance fell to Terry Dunfield who blasted over from 12 yards.

The best chance of the half for the home side fell to Nat Brown, but he contrived to head over the bar whilst unmarked at the back post.

Everton enjoyed long spells of possession - with a couple of Leighton Baines centres promising much.

But other than another effort from Cahill that was saved, the Blues seemed destined to go in at the interval all square.

But then came that moment of magic from Osman. An Arteta centre from the left was partially cleared to the edge of the box where Osman took one touch before unleashing a fierce half-volley that flew into the net off the underside of the crossbar to the delight of the away fans behind the goal.

In the second period Macclesfield's legs began to tire prior to a late rally when the tie was all but over.

Leon Osman opens the scoring at MacclesfieldLeon Osman opens the scoring at Macclesfield

It presented Everton with opportunities to surge forward down the flanks, with Tony Hibbert and Baines relishing the space.

But the Macclesfield defence held solid, helped by some wayward finishing at times.

Jagielka saw an overhead kick go over the bar and then, with 15 minutes remaining, guided a deft first-time effort inches over.

Anichebe produced a teasing right-footed curler that flashed wide of the upright and Baines himself fired wide.

And Simon Yeo had Everton hearts in Everton mouths, forcing a save from Howard with the last kick of the game.

Thankfully, Osman's first-half cracker was enough to settle the tie. And give Everton hope of an extended FA Cup run and the thrill of a place in the fourth round draw as the side's attention reverts back to the Premier League and the visit of Hull on Saturday.

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