Brentford’s Emirates FA Cup journey was ended by Everton at the Fourth Round stage. The Bees were beaten 4-1 on a wet and wild afternoon on Merseyside, conceding three second half goals. An Ivan Toney penalty had given The Bees hope but Everton did enough to progress.
The game was very even until Everton took the lead and they then scored moments in to the second half. Toney reduced the arrears and The Bees had opportunities either side of half time but could only score once. The home side killed Brentford’s momentum with a third and then gave the score line a slightly unfair look at the very end.
The game started at a frenetic pace. Everton looked to get the ball in to Brentford territory quickly and chased hard when they did not have it. The game was mostly played in the central areas of the pitch with Everton tucking their wide attacking players inside to help the battle against Brentford’s trio of midfield players as both sides attempted to gain control.
There were few chances in the early stages with neither goalkeeper unduly tested. Both had the ball at their feet more than in their hands in the first quarter of the contest, which lacked a real flow. The early withdrawal of Everton defender Ben Godfrey through injury did not help the game establish a rhythm.
Brentford could have scored early on when Everton failed to deal with a long throw. Kristoffer Ajer turned inside the penalty area and had a shot that deflected over the crossbar. A run from Sergi Canós on the left also forced a defensive error and Toney almost won the ball from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who managed to scramble it away.
Richarlison dragged a shot wide, and Demarai Gray fired over for Everton and the game appeared to be meandering before the hosts took the lead just past the half hour. David Raya pushed away a shot from André Gomes after he had turned well 30 yards out, but that gave the hosts a corner. Gray delivered it from the left and Yerry Mina, who had replaced Godfrey earlier, headed home from close range. The ball from Gray bent perfectly on to the head of the tall central defender and he held off defenders to nod in.
Richarlison cut inside and shot wide before firing a ball that was bouncing awkwardly well over the crossbar. Gray also shot well wide at the end of the half. Brentford did have a chance to get level before the break after some nice interplay on the right. Mads Roerslev and Mathias Jensen were involved before Ajer set the ball back to Canós on the edge of the penalty area. The shot was whipped towards the top corner, but Pickford was able to push it away.
The resulting corner caused more confusion for the hosts. Vitaly Janelt’s delivery was caught by the wind and bent back towards Pickford, who had to reset his position to palm the ball away. His defenders then helped him out as Christian Nørgaard looked to pounce and Referee Michael Oliver noticed a foul, halting Brentford’s attack.
Everton had the lead at the break and doubled it within two minutes of the restart. Allan had the space in midfield to lift a ball in to the inside right channel for Richarlison to run on to. As Raya came out, Richarlison smashed a shot past him in to the net to give Everton breathing space.
Despite the goal just after the interval, Brentford started the second half well. They were able to play through midfield in to attacking areas and got on the front foot with the ball. The Bees could have pulled one back when a Canós pass released Toney in the inside right channel, he broke in to the penalty area and lashed a ball across that was just too far ahead of the arriving Roerslev.
But The Bees did not have to wait long for a goal. Nørgaard opened Everton up with a pass in to the inside left channel and Toney was faced with only Pickford to beat. He went around the goalkeeper and was brought down, giving Mr Oliver little choice but to award a penalty. Toney rolled the ball to Pickford’s right as he fell to his left and Brentford were back in the game.
Brentford had a foothold and almost had a leveller a few minutes later. Everton cleared a corner, but Canós played it back in to space behind the home defence. Toney appeared to be in position to convert but the ball bounced awkwardly as it dropped, Toney missed his kick and Pickford was able to grab it.
The Bees had a glimpse of parity, but Everton soon took it away. Brentford survived when Mads Bech was robbed on the left by Anthony Gordon. The ball was set back to Allan, but Ajer made the block. That did not prevent the home side getting their goal. Gray delivered the corner in to a pile of bodies, it came off a Brentford head and bounced to Mason Holgate, who stooped to nod in from close range. There were complaints that Mina had fouled Ajer or Bech, but Mr Oliver waved them away and Holgate was played onside by the Brentford man heading back and was able to score.
That took the sting out of the game. Brentford continued to push on, but Everton had their two-goal cushion and had eased any worries. Richarlison set up Andros Townsend for a shooting opportunity, but the effort was deflected, and Raya gathered.
There was a heartening moment for The Bees when Josh Dasilva was brought on. The midfield man has not played since March due to a hip injury but came on and showed glimpses of the form that made him a key player for The Bees in recent years. A couple of passes almost created chances and fellow late arrival Fin Stevens nearly got on to a clever ball inside the penalty area.
Everton, however, had the final word. After some nice interplay on the right, a flick from Alex Iwobi set up Townsend to shoot. The ball fizzed past Raya in to the net and Brentford were beaten.
Everton: Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Godfrey (sub Mina 14 mins) Coleman, Allan, Gomes, Mykolenko (sub Kenny 73 mins); Gray (sub Iwobi 88 mins), Richarlison (sub Tosun 88 mins), Gordon (sub Townsend 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Begovic, Patterson, Gbamin, Branthwaite
Bookings: Gomes (24 mins), Gordon (67 mins)
Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Bech; Roerslev (sub Dasilva 72 mins), Jensen, Nørgaard, Janelt (sub Baptiste 63 mins), Henry (sub Stevens 83 mins); Toney, Canós (sub Ghoddos 72 mins)
Subs (not used): Fernández, Lössl, Oyegoke, Onyeka, Young-Coombes
Bookings: Roerslev (42 mins)