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Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05



Goodison Park | 18th February 2012 15:00

Everton v Blackpool

Goals in the first seven minutes from Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi fired Everton into the last eight of the FA Cup - and just 90 minutes away from Wembley.

The Blues' place in the quarter-final hat looked all but assured from the moment Drenthe exquisitely curled past Matt Gilks just 49 seconds in.

Stracqualursi then bundled home from close range to give David Moyes' men a fourth straight home win and move them within one game of a semi-final saunter to the capital.

Stracqualursi Blackpool

The result - and the prospect of a first sixth round outing since 2009 - helped soften the blow of Landon Donovan's aborted farewell.

Two years after netting on the final outing of his first loan spell at the Club, the LA Galaxy star was again due to wave goodbye. Flu prevented him doing so until an emotional lap of honour at the final whistle.

The game did mark a return for Seamus Coleman, however, the right winger making a timely comeback from the bench after six weeks out with a thigh problem. Ross Barkley, absent since November, also made a fleeting late cameo.  

Donovan's loss was one of three changes forced upon Moyes. Drenthe was the man to benefit from the American's ailment, while Tony Hibbert and Magaye Gueye came in for Tim Cahill and the cup-tied Steven Pienaar

The alterations didn't affect Everton though; their start was devastating.

Leighton Baines got down the left and crossed low for Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian gathered, turned and then laid off a simple ball for the onrushing Drenthe. The Dutchman did the rest, expertly arcing a first-time shot across goal and inside the post.

Drenthe Blackpool

Real Madrid loanee Drenthe was soon involved again, this time turning provider as the Blues all but ended the tie within 420 seconds.

The midfielder, taking over corner duties from the absent Donovan, picked out Gueye, and the Frenchman's flick allowed Stracqualursi to stab home from three yards.

Ian Holloway's side were soon dealt a further blow when Liverpool-born striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher was stretchered off following a collision with Tim Howard and replaced by Roman Bednar.

Drenthe, meanwhile, was ensuring Donovan - while not forgotten - was not being missed, and had the visitors in trouble again on 25 minutes. This time he picked out Darron Gibson breaking from deep, but Gueye got in the Irishman's way, and his eventual effort was shanked high into the Gwladys.

Denis goal Blackpool

Blackpool were getting little peace and an excellent passage of play involving Stracqualursi, Fellaini and Gueye was soon tearing their rearguard to shreds once more. It ended with the Argentine - who instigated the move - sliding in and missing Gueye's dangerous centre by a matter of inches.

The Blues continued to dominate their Championship opponents and could well have increased their cushion before the break.

First Fellaini saw an effort deflected wide after meeting Drenthe's cut back. Then, from the resulting corner, the unmarked Gibson volleyed through the crowd only to see Gilks somehow block with his legs.

A superb delivery from Stracqualursi should have teed up either Fellaini or Gibson for a quickfire start to the second half, too, but neither player seemed to set their feet and the ball rolled harmlessly away.

Heitinga then took his frustration out on the post after failing to capitalise on the freedom of the six-yard box before Stracqualursi tested Gilks with a snapshot from a near impossible angle.

Philip Neville moves through midfield.

In between, veteran Kevin Phillips clipped the apex of Howard's goal frame with a free-kick from the edge of the box, before Coleman - who helped Blackpool gain promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago - entered the fray to widespread applause.

Phillips may have reduced the deficit in injury time after Heitinga was harshly adjudged to have fouled Bednar in the box, but the former England striker blazed his spot-kick wildly over the crossbar. 

The full-time whistle brought chants of 'USA, USA' as Donovan took to the pitch to soak up the adulation of the Goodison faithful. The 29-year-old will now fly home to LA.



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