Friday 15 December 2017

McCarthy breaks Everton duck as Lukaku signs off in style

Hull City 0 Everton 2

James McCarthy (centre) celebrates with his Everton teammates Steven Naismith (left) and Seamus Coleman
James McCarthy (centre) celebrates with his Everton teammates Steven Naismith (left) and Seamus Coleman
Hull City's Nikica Jelavic has a shot on goal
Everton's Romelu Lukaku sees his shot blocked by Hull City's Paul McShane
Everton's James McCarthy and Hull City's Stephen Quinn battle for the ball
Everton's Romelu Lukaku goes past the Hull City defence
Stephen Quinn of Hull City takes on Seamus Coleman of Everton
Everton's Seamus Coleman in action against Hull City's Maynor Figueroa
Everton fans celebrate at the final whistle

James McMath

A farewell strike from Romelu Lukaku and a first goal for the club from James McCarthy helped Everton to a comfortable win at Hull, even without conspicuous absentees Ross Barkley and John Stones.

Midfielder Barkley and defender Stones were omitted from Roberto Martinez's match-day 18, fuelling speculation that the Spaniard was privy to Roy Hodgson's World Cup plans.

Martinez said he does not know if either will today be named in the squad for Brazil but confirmed they were rested.

He said: "They have played a lot of football of late. We had to protect them today and I wanted to look at other players who have been out injured. Ross and John will be busy this summer. They have the opportunity of representing the senior side but there is also the U-21s in the Toulon tournament. We had to make sure they didn't go into the summer with a risk of injury."

Even without Barkley and Stones, Everton made short work of a side who have had an eye and a half on Wembley since winning the semi-final.

Allan McGregor returned to the Tigers team for the first time since March 26, having made a surprisingly swift recovery after breaking three ribs and damaging his kidney. This was a chance to prove he deserves the call over Steve Harper at Wembley but McGregor failed his first test.

Lukaku found Steven Naismith, whose incisive pass was perfect for McCarthy. The shot was firm but McGregor got a hand to it and should have kept it out. Instead, it looped inside the back post.

Everton were comfortable and, 46 seconds after the break, Leon Osman's pass released Lukaku, who shrugged off Paul McShane and hit his 16th goal of his season on loan from Chelsea.

McShane was making his comeback and lasted an hour in his bid to force his way into Steve Bruce's FA Cup final plans.

Hull have not won since booking a return to Wembley and Bruce said: "We've limped along in the last few weeks. We're not a team that can saunter around. Nowhere near. I can understand it to a degree. None of them have played in the FA Cup final before, so they're desperate to play."

(© Independent News Service)

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