Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck twice inside four exhilarating first-half minutes to beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and book Everton's place in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
Striker Calvert-Lewin hails from these parts and went to school 1.7 miles down the road. How he enjoyed his visit to familiar surroundings, thudding a shot in off the woodwork after six minutes and poking home a second four minutes later.
Hillsborough was throbbing at kick-off but all that noise rolling around this stadium’s mountainous old stands had been sucked out the place inside 10 minutes.
That Calvert-Lewin was the architect of Wednesday’s early downfall would have made the locals all the more cranky.
A former man of Sheffield United, Calvert-Lewin’s goal to break the deadlock was a beauty.
Djibril Sidibe served up the cross, flat and hard from the right.
Calvert-Lewin’s movement had been smart, taking himself into space at the far post. He used the time he had created to cushion the ball on his thigh before ripping a finish off the underside of the bar.
The forward applied the decisive touch to a fluid and attractive build-up for his and Everton’s second.
Alex Iwobi broke into the box, escaping the attentions of Wednesday’s backline to latch onto Bernard’s slick pass and square for Calvert-Lewin to stab home.
Had it not been for Jordan Pickford, Calvert-Lewin’s lightning double would have completed a comeback job.
Two minutes had elapsed when Sam Winnall ran unchecked into Everton’s penalty box. Pickford spread himself in inimitable style to thwart the Wednesday forward and provide the launchpad for his side’s assault on the home goal.
And it was an assault.
Everton swamped Wednesday for half-an-hour, Fabian Delph and Tom Davies strong and mobile in midfield – that duo creating a platform for their attackers to roam in search of pockets from where they could inflict damage on the home team.
Richarlison’s bullet header from a Lucas Digne corner travelled a foot over after 13 minutes. Twenty minutes later and but for Cameron Dawson, Calvert-Lewin would have had his hat-trick.
Delph broke any number of tackles and swipes in midfield, eventually wrestling free to pass to Richarlison on the right.
His cross to the far post found Calvert-Lewin, generating all his own power on the header but denied point-blank by home keeper Dawson.
For Wednesday, Adam Reach wide on the right was at the heart of everything good going forward.
His corner from the right was met by Dominic Iorfa with a header which flashed wide of the upright.
And blasting off his touchline to meet a centre from Jacob Murphy, Reach could only deposit a low strike into Pickford’s gloves.
Calvert-Lewin wanted a penalty after going down following contact from Iorfa but didn’t get it.
Wednesday’s frontman Atdhe Nuhiu, meanwhile, was being starved of the service he craves.
The hulking Kosovan, getting fed up with this, dropped deep to turn and run at Everton’s backline right before half-time.
Mason Holgate’s tackle to stop Nuhiu was timed beautifully.
Iorfa muscled in front of Richarlison when Tom Davies floated a ball into the box 10 minutes after the restart.
Then it was Everton’s turn to defend. Holgate shrewdly used his body to nudge Nuhiu out of the flight of a cross. Moments later he blocked a drilled shot from the same player, Winnall wildly over on the rebound.
Winnall’s number came up on 64 minutes, seconds after his diving header from Reach’s latest menacing delivery flew too high to concern Pickford.
Sidibe plainly still had plenty left in the tank with 17 minutes remaining. The former Monaco player charged into the box to connect with Iwobi's low pass and -despite barrelling into the significant frame of Iorfa - got away a shot which went past the far post.
Wednesday huffed and puffed in their attempts to make the closing minutes edgy for the Blues and Reach drilled a 20 yarder past Pickford's left post, Digne responding in kind with a low left footer sent across Dawson but fractionally wide.
Silva's side was not for moving, though. Yerry Mina went down in a heap after blocking a shot at close quarters on the 18-yard line but after treatment and an earful from the natives was fine to continue.
Which is precisely what Everton will do in this competition.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin couldn’t have written it better.
On his 100th appearance for Everton and at a ground where his Sheffield United connections make the striker an unpopular visitor, Calvert-Lewin ruthlessly struck twice inside the opening 10 minutes.
Calvert-Lewin’s first represented a victory for nerve and technique.
Djibril Sidibe deserves his slice of the credit. The Frenchman employed outstanding vision to survey the scene when a ball ran to him wide on the right.
Sidibe spied Calvert-Lewin pulling away at the far post and arrowed a pass unerringly at his teammate.
Calvert-Lewin controlled on his thigh and allowed the ball to bounce – all the while knowing six minutes in he had the opportunity, right there on his right boot, to smooth Everton’s night.
In the shadow of Sheffield Wednesday’s towering Kop End, the 22-year-old sent the ball screaming home of the underside of the bar.
Calvert-Lewin was thrilled.
Doubly so four minutes later.
Again, wonderful approach play from Everton.
Lucas Digne collided with the covering Dominic Iorfa as Everton’s left-back sprinted onto Fabian Delph’s sprayed pass.
Bernard had studiously followed developments and was immediately on the scene, squeezing a pass forward for Alex Iwobi.
The ex-Arsenal man, operating for the first time in a central position for Everton, squared for Calvert-Lewin at the far post.
He stretched and nudged home with his right toe.
It was Calvert-Lewin’s third goal in two matches, the type of return he would have envisaged when talking earlier this term of his desire to become more prolific.
Back in his home county, this was a landmark night in more ways than one for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
In It Together
Marco Silva injected fresh legs into his starting XI only three days after Everton’s most recent match against Sheffield United.
First to the six who retained their spots from the weekend and showed tremendous reserves of energy to combat a home side brimming with intent and scenting the blood of a Premier League opponent in town.
Fabian Delph was dynamic in the middle of the park, at one point shrugging off a spate of challenges to surge deep into Wednesday territory and feed Richarlison.
It was Delph’s dipping pass which located Lucas Digne bombing forwards in the lead up to Calvert-Lewin’s second, Bernard who was alive to pick up the pieces.
Richarlison marauded up and down the right flank, protecting Djibril Sidibe one moment, flighting a cross onto Calvert-Lewin’s head the next.
Richarlison might have converted with his own head shortly after Everton had gone two in front but was narrowly off target after steaming onto Digne's corner.
Yerry Mina was in imperious mood, epitomised by the way he brushed aside Jacob Murphy when the winger made tracks down the left shortly before half-time.
In goal, Jordan Pickford was everything we have grown accustomed to, confident with the ball at his feet and agile when called on to stop it going in his net.
The five players introduced for this game slotted in seamlessly, creating a unit which smacked of unity and coherence.
Full-back Sidibe defended soundly and more than once employed a very useful turn of pace to get the better of direct opponent Newcastle United loanee Murphy.
Sidibe's ball for Calvert-Lewin to open the scoring was a pearler.
Tom Davies poured through buckets of work in midfield, limiting the hosts’ passing options and protecting his defenders. The 21-year-old, playing his 91st Everton game, was economical in possession and disciplined out of it.
Playing next to Mina, Mason Holgate was terrific. One last-ditch tackle prevented Atdhe Nuhiu having a clear dash at goal, an episode which instigated a right royal battle between that pair.
Holgate knocked Nuhiu off balance as the Kosovan sized up a delivery from the left and promptly got in the way of a low strike from the same player.
Holgate’s speed across the ground and crisp and progressive passing make him a good fit for this Silva side. He is prepared to carry the ball from defence, too.
Iwobi opened his Everton account in this competition when scoring at Lincoln City in round two.
He joined the Blues vowing to add goals and assists and he chalked up another of the latter when streaking beyond Wednesday’s rearguard to set-up Calvert-Lewin.
Iwobi’s 10th minute dash was typical of a purposeful performance from the Nigerian international. He buzzed around Calvert-Lewin, giving Wednesday’s central defensive duo an almighty headache and opening up space for his teammates.
As for Calvert-Lewin, playing within walking distance of the Forge Valley School he attended, this was performance infused with the sort of dynamic finishing, intelligent and varied running and athleticism any centre-forward would be happy to call their own.
Pistols At Dawn
Confronted by the whites of a striker’s eyes, Jordan Pickford doesn’t give an inch.
Everton’s goalkeeper reckons the dice are loaded in favour of his opponent in these duels.
Pickford, though, consistently advances evidence to contradict his argument.
This match was less than 120 seconds old when Sam Winnall ran through on goal.
Three sides of Hillsborough was poised to erupt as the striker sized up his finish.
As Winnall drew back his left boot, Pickford rushed from his line, standing tall and narrowing the angle. In effect making up Winnall’s mind for him.
The Sheffield Wednesday player had to shoot right. Pickford took off to his left and saved, replicating efforts already this season against Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace and Watford’s Troy Deeney.
Pickford saved in similar point-blank style from Mohamed Salah in March’s Merseyside derby.
Everton did not concede a goal in any of those games and banked an additional four points in total because of their keeper’s expertise one-on-on-one.
His early intervention here could be gauged within eight minutes of Pickford denying Winnall.
Everton were two goals to the good and had drawn the sting from a home side fancying its chances of an upset.