Hull City 2 – 3 Everton

Andros Townsend’s extra-time screamer saved Everton’s blushes when Rafael Benitez saw his side stumble in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-2 triumph in Hull.

The Spaniard has never been the most popular figure at Goodison Park thanks in large part to his strong links with Liverpool.

His last game as Reds boss was in Hull, and there were times Saturday night when it looked like City might once again prove to be the end of the road for Benitez, but Townsend came to the rescue in extra time when the Everton scored a 3-2 win.

A throbbing, upside-down draw began in a dreamlike fashion for the hosts when Tyler Smith scored his first goal for City in 45 seconds ahead of potential new owner Acun Ilicali.

The Turkish businessman was watching his first game before his takeover at MKM Stadium, where Everton finally got into gear midway through the first half.

Demarai Gray went home after a superb one-two with Anthony Gordon before Andre Gomes headed Jonjoe Kenny’s cross, with Everton continuing to push after the interval.

But substitute Ryan Longman’s outstanding 20-yard curling leveling took the match into extra time, when Townsend allegedly fired a 30-yard rocket home to seal progress.

An exceptional stop by Asmir Begovic prevented Tom Eaves from taking the match to penalties on a night where Grant McCann’s league side made life difficult from the start.

Everton, which debuted new kid Vitaliy Mykolenko, kicked off and immediately gave away a free-kick, which George Honeyman shot for Smith to take home a header.

The visitors ‘defense was poor and they continued to fight, with Begovic forced to superbly repel Eaves’ header in the fifth minute.

Tyler Smith put Hull City ahead against Everton with under 50 seconds on the clock at MKM Stadium

Smith glanced through the door from the resulting corner as guests fidgeted, with Eaves pricking Begovic’s palms as angry Evertonians let their feelings be known.

There was a banner asking Benitez to leave and chants of a similar nature, before the guests drew on the 21st minute.

Gray followed up with a nice punch and clean footwork with a quick one-two with Gordon, who played him to overtake Nathan Baxter.

The supplier almost became the scorer when Gordon cut and hit a shot from the foot of the post, before Gray forced Baxter into action from a distance.

Everton saw Jacob Greaves handball penalty appeals ignored when Hull was dismissed, with Michael Keane seeing a shot stopped before their pressure was communicated in the 31st minute.

Kenny sent a cross from the right which Gomes met with a bundled header that was too much for Baxter to handle.

Hull failed in their attempts to equalize before half-time, with Everton looking more likely to score in the second half.

Greaves fielded a major challenge over Salomon Rondon and Gordon was denied by goalkeeper Baxter, before Gray was blocked when Everton pushed for third.

Hull had created little valuable on the contrary, but McCann used his bench wisely.

All three of his substitutes were involved as veteran Tom Huddlestone won possession, George Moncur darted around the edge of the box and fired Longman for folding a superb shot past Begovic.

It was a fantastic moment that Hull livewire Keane Lewis-Potter attempted to add. He blew himself up and hit the pole during a time when Gray bent in agony at the other end.

The Football Association’s free-kick could very well be heading towards Hull given the number of items thrown at Everton players during the second half that ended at the level.

Another 30 minutes followed and Townsend’s stunning shot cleared things up in the 99th minute. The former England international cleverly made room before blowing up a 30-yard effort that deflected past Baxter.

It was a punch to the stomach from which Hull recovered impressively, with Begovic coming to the rescue in the second recovery period.

A corner came to Eaves, whose sprint was denied by a strong one-handed stop before substitute Josh Hinds pushed the ball wide.

What’s next?

Live EFL

Sunday 16 January at 11:30 am

Hull will host Stoke City at 12 noon on Sunday 16 January, live on Sky Sports Football. Everton will host Leicester in the Premier League on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports; start at 20:00.

Live Premier League

Tuesday 11 January 19:30

When is the FA Cup fourth round draw?

The draw for the FA Cup fourth round will take place around 4:50 pm on Sunday 9 January, following West Ham’s clash with Leeds at the London Stadium.

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