Toffees show class to end Oldham's fairytale run
EVERTON 3 Swansea 1
Oldham's appetite for Merseyside blood finally went unsatisfied at Goodison Park as Everton took their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
It has taken the combined force of Stanley Park's superpowers three games to see off Tony Philliskirk's side, but this proved a predictable, if not always comfortable, replay win for David Moyes.
Oldham will always have their victory over Liverpool to savour from their Cup run, but the "defining period" Moyes identified will now include a meeting with Wigan for a place in a Wembley semi-final.
Goals by Kevin Mirallas, Leighton Baines and Leon Osman saw off the Oldham challenge, but at least the visitors had a deserved Matt Smith consolation to cherish from another creditable evening.
Goodison was edgier than a Seth MacFarlane script before kick-off, the downturn in mood since Saturday's defeat by Norwich reflecting the precariousness of a season's hopes.
Mirallas gave Everton a 15th minute lead with a clever finish from Darron Gibson's whipped cross.
Game over already? Not quite. Jose Baxter – a former Everton midfielder – thought he'd equalised a minute later with a beautifully executed chip over Tim Howard.
The American was beaten, but the ball rebounded off the post and across the six-yard box to safety. Phil Jagielka's clearance then struck Gibson on the arm, but referee Michael Oliver deemed it accidental enough to ignore penalty appeals.
Oliver's decision to penalise Oldham for a similar offence on 34 minutes smacked of inconsistency.
Connor Brown had 35,000 appealing when he handled Seamus Coleman's cross, and this time Oliver was correct to point to the spot.
Baines just about doubled Everton's advantage, Dean Bouzanis strangely diving over the ball having guessed right. That scoreline was harsh, the Oldham 'keeper hardly over-employed although he had pushed aside another Baines drive from 30 yards.
Philliskirk decided to call on Boundary Park's heroic figure, Smith, on 55 minutes in an effort to shift some momentum, and for a time it worked.
Smith's goals had taken Oldham this far, and he was not only given a tumultuous reception from the away fans, at 2-0 up even the Goodison faithful must have been tempted to applaud after what he'd done against their neighbours.
The change galvanised the visitors, Lee Croft worrying Howard with a snapshot from 20 yards. But Osman flicked on Steven Pienaar's cross to bewilder Bouzanis for the third.
If that seemed to end proceedings, it was immediately followed by renewed hope for Oldham when Smith again showed his menace from set-pieces, heading in a corner. (© Daily Telegraph, London)