Everton overwhelm Brentford in FA Cup to give Frank Lampard dream start

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Grand statements can look dangerously premature with a relegation fight ahead but Goodison Park already feels like a different place under Frank Lampard. The new Everton manager enjoyed a dream start, and the biggest win of any managerial debut in the club’s history, as Brentford were easily swept aside in the FA Cup fourth round.

A performance of character and enterprise brought Everton into the fifth round and Lampard into the embrace of an appreciative crowd. Four different goalscorers – Yerry Mina, Richarlison, Mason Holgate and Andros Townsend – helped Everton to their biggest win of the season against Thomas Frank’s team, who only fleetingly threatened to disturb the script.

Lampard received a tumultuous reception when introduced to the Goodison crowd before kick-off. A banner was draped over the front of the upper Gwladys Street End that read ‘Best of luck Frank’. Another, featuring Howard Kendall, the trophies won during his reign and ‘Nothing but the best, our motto is our standard’ provided a little reminder of what is expected of any Everton manager. Premier League survival, however, is the immediate priority for the club’s sixth permanent manager in under six years.

The former Chelsea and Derby manager oversaw the warmup, something that David Moyes did when he first arrived at Goodison, while new first-team coach Ashley Cole took a place high up in the Main Stand to survey the match itself. It was a competitive, physical contest from the outset with both sides struggling to create clear-cut opportunities, although the improvement in Everton’s desire for the ball and willingness to take the game to Brentford was immediate. Incisive runs from Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon were a prominent feature of the hosts’ first-half display.

Lampard suffered an early setback when Ben Godfrey, who started on the left of a back three, pulled up with a serious looking injury. His replacement, Mina, made his mark in emphatic style 17 minutes later. Everton’s initial threat came from distance with Gordon curling a left-footed shot just over David Raya’s crossbar and André Gomes’s 25-yard drive forcing the goalkeeper to tip over.

Raya was making his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury against Leicester in October. It was also four months since Everton last scored a game’s opening goal. That sorry statistic was rectified from the corner that came via Gomes’s effort. Gray delivered an inswinger with pace and Mina, despite nearly having his shirt pulled off his back, planted an unstoppable header past Raya for the first goal of the Lampard era.

Frank Lampard punches the air after the full-time whistle blows on Everton’s 4-1 win
Frank Lampard punches the air after the full-time whistle blows on Everton’s 4-1 win. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Goodison was vibrant but Brentford responded with their first genuine spell of pressure in the tie. A flowing move ended in Sergi Canós sweeping an instinctive shot towards the top corner but Jordan Pickford reacted with a fine stop. Richarlison and Gray both missed awkward chances to extend Everton’s advantage before a half-time interval in which new signings Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek were also introduced to the home crowd. The two midfielders are ineligible for the FA Cup but will be in contention for Tuesday’s critical Premier League visit to Newcastle.

Everton should arrive at St James’ Park with confidence renewed. Richarlison gave Lampard’s new team the comfort of a two-goal lead within minutes of the restart. Played in behind Pontus Jansson by a perfectly weighted chip from Allan, the Brazil international beat the advancing Raya with a composed finish under pressure.

Brentford reacted well once again, although sparking into life only after conceding a goal brought little consolation to Frank and their sizeable away support. Ivan Toney instigated a feud with Pickford all afternoon but was on the receiving end when felled by the England goalkeeper as he raced on to Christian Nørgaard’s incisive pass into the Everton penalty area. Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and, as in Brentford’s 1-0 win over Rafael Benítez’s sorry team in November, Toney confidently beat Pickford with a cooly-taken penalty.

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At other points this season Everton and their uncertain defence may have folded under pressure. Not this time. Holgate restored the hosts’ two-goal cushion when glancing in at close range after Mina had headed on another dangerous corner from Gray. The corner arrived after Gordon dispossessed Mads Bech Sørensen to create a chance out of nothing for Gomes. Just the kind of spirit and tenacity that Lampard craves, and has been lacking.

In stoppage time substitute Townsend sealed an impressive victory with a low finish into the bottom corner after a flowing one-touch move. Goodison felt like a different place.

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