Toffees cruise past Blackpool with two goals in the openings 10 minutes from Drenthe and Stracqualursi, as Kevin Phillps misses a last minute penalty.
Royston Drenthe was the star man and he opened the scoring in the 49th second of the match following a neat move involving Leighton Baines, Magaye Gueye and Marouane Fellaini. Six minutes later the game was won as Drenthe turned provider for Denis Stracqualursi who poked home a corner from six yards.
The home side began the game at flying and got its reward inside a minute as Drenthe finished off a lovely team move. Baines and Gueye combined down the left and the youngster’s cross was controlled by Fellaini who rolled the ball to Drenthe. He calmly curled the ball beyond Matt Gilks to give the Toffees the perfect start.
Six minutes later Everton doubled the lead through the strong front man Stracqualursi. A right wing corner from Drenthe was flicked on by Sylvain Distin at the front post and fell to the striker in the six yard box. He missed his first effort but made no mistake with his second attempt which flew into the back of the net giving Gilks no chance.
David Moyes’ side was in complete control of the game and most of what was good came through the impressive Drenthe. Midway through the half he wriggled away from Ludovic Sylvestre in the Everton half and raced at the back tracking Blackpool defense. His cross field pass on the edge of the area looked perfect for Gueye but Darron Gibson took it off the youngster’s toe and he blasted wide.
Minutes later another flowing move from the home side saw Gueye released down the left, his low cross into the center for the unmarked Stracqualursi was excellent but the Argentine couldn’t stretch enough to touch the ball home.
The second half saw the visiting team come back into the game and it went close with three free kicks on the edge of the Everton penalty area. Thomas Ince took the first one from the right side of the area but it was easily saved by Tim Howard. Kevin Phillips saw his chance from a similar possession go the same way but in the 67th minute. He did beat Howard but the ball flicked off the top of the cross bar and flew over.
Despite Blackpool’s improvements Everton continued to control large parts of the game and had much more possession than the visitors. Chances continued to come for the home side with John Heitinga going close with a header and the impressive Stracqualursi giving Gilks plenty to deal with. From a Baines cross in the 75th minute the striker reached out a long leg and flicked a shot towards the top corner but Gilks showed good reactions and parried the ball away.
With 10 minutes to play Everton came close to extending the lead when a cross from the right from Seamus Coleman found its way to an unmarked Fellaini at the back post. The Belgian controlled the ball on his chest and fired under Gilks but Bob Harris made a last ditch clearance off the line to deny Everton a third goal.
Blackpool was gifted a penalty in stoppage time after Heitinga was adjudged to have felled substitute Roman Bednar. Kevin Phillips stepped up but blasted his spot kick high wide and not very handsome into the Gladys Street stand.