Frank Lampard got off to a flying start with his new team Everton thrashing Brentford 4-1 in the FA Cup fourth round at Goodison Park.
Everton took the lead after 31 minutes, the first time they had done so since October 23, when Yerry Mina, who had come on for the injured Ben Godfrey, headed home Demarai Gray’s corner.
Three minutes after the break, Richarlison doubled Everton’s lead by lofting Allan’s tempting pass over the onrushing Brentford keeper David Raya.
After being hauled down by Jordan Pickford, Ivan Toney swiftly equalized for the Bees from the penalty spot, but Everton answered to put an end to any dreams of a comeback.
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Mina’s influence was seen once more as another Gray corner was sent to the far post for Mason Holgate to score shortly after the hour mark.
Andros Townsend scored the game’s fourth goal in injury time to give Lampard the victory he so desperately needed.
Goodison Park, a happy place again
Everton fans have greeted Lampard’s arrival with open arms, as they have been venting their frustrations with the club’s hierarchy in recent weeks, staging a sit-in after the club’s last home game against Aston Villa and marching in protest.
Everton’s immediate improvement aided the mood, with the team looking much more composed and secure at the end of this comfortable win than in recent poisonous weeks.
Benitez will not be remembered for much during his brief tenure, but Everton supporters should be grateful that he brought in the outstanding Demarai Gray for a bargain £1.5 million. He was fantastic yet again, but he wasn’t alone.
Lampard has inherited a genuine talent in Anthony Gordon, who received a standing ovation when he was hauled off, and Richarlison, who was a tireless and dangerous spearhead.
If there was a flaw, it was Godfrey’s concerning injury, albeit it did allow Mina to score a goal, play a part in another, and enjoy the physical duel with the dangerous Toney.
At the final whistle, the sound of boisterous cheers and Lampard fist-pumping in front of the crowd added to the celebratory mood.
It’s only the beginning, with big games against Newcastle United and Leeds United to come, but it’s exactly as Lampard would have wanted it.
Brentford must now concentrate survival
Brentford put up a poor performance, with the exception of a brief period following Everton’s second goal, when Toney – so vital to all of their ambitions this season – pulled one back.
Toney was credited with a win, although he was fighting alone, and Brentford can’t complain about the ultimate result.
Brentford appeared to be weak at the back, and there was only ever one winner once Everton struck and grabbed control.
They must now concentrate on Premier League survival and capitalizing on the points gained early in the season.
They appeared flat and lacking in creativity, but Christian Eriksen’s arrival will provide a much-needed boost to manager Thomas Frank and his players. Eriksen’s expertise, know-how, and proven excellence will be crucial to Brentford’s success.
They’ve laid the groundwork for survival, and now it’s up to them to refocus and finish the job of staying in the Premier League.