It may have been boos which greeted the introduction of the out-of-favour Dutch international for Nikica Jelavic towards the end of Evertons FA Cup fourth round tie at Bolton, but the away end was exalting him to the heavens 10 minutes later. Bolton Wanderers v Everton FC, FA Cup 4th Round at Reebok Stadium. Pics Gareth Jones Jan 27 2013 View Heitinga saved those hardy Blues who descended on the Reebok Stadium on Saturday from having to sit through a replay of a game which will be memorable for the explosive way it ended and nothing else. Prior to the 91st minute, Evertons cup credentials had seemed as enduring as the snowmen which were slowly melting into slush outside the ground.
David Moyes side remain off-colour and this was, the first 20 minutes aside, a drab companion piece to the apologetic performance at Southampton. Fortunately you dont necessarily get silverware for playing pretty football. The Toffees enjoyed a promising start with Kevin Mirallas restored to their starting line-up for the first time since early December, but when he limped off yet again any fluidity from the visitors quickly evaporated. Yet if theres little doubt that this is a sticky spell for Everton, theyve developed a promising knack of avoiding defeat no matter how poorly they perform. Maybe its karma.
Cast your mind back to the autumn when Everton were regularly out-playing teams with scant reward, the solitary point after demolishing Newcastle at Goodison in particular. The last two results suggest that misfortune is beginning to even itself out. The Blues started with a phase of almost total dominance when they poured forward at will, and seemed to have recaptured the spark which was so lacking on the south coast. Moyes had persevered with Jelavic and the Croatian formed a partnership with Victor Anichebe, who started in confident fashion thanks to his much improved form. The Nigerian international went close with a header, and Mirallas tried his luck as Bolton left-back Marco Alonso probably began to wonder what he had let himself in for.