Frank Lampard got the full Everton experience in his first game as new manager with a 4-1 FA Cup victory over Premier League rivals Brentford.
It was off to the best possible start as Yerry Mina’s header, alone on the pitch due to an early injury to Ben Godfrey, was the first time the Toffees had taken the lead in a match since October.
But after Richarlison doubled his lead shortly after half-time, the former Chelsea manager saw his side put themselves under unnecessary pressure by conceding an Ivan Toney penalty in the second half.
However, Mason Holgate’s first goal since December 2020 secured advancement to the round of 16 to prompt chants of “Super Frankie Lampard” from all four sides of Goodison Park, and the mood was further lifted by substitute Andros’ goal. Townsend in added time.
The change of atmosphere since the final days of Rafael Benítez, and even Duncan Ferguson’s only game as caretaker last month, when there were protests against the board, could not have been more marked.
Home fans even got to see two genuine quality signings in Dele Alli and Donny Van De Beek, albeit only as half-time appearances as both were tied for the cup after previous outings for Tottenham and Manchester United respectively.
Instead, it was one of Benítez’s signings, Demarai Gray, who got the Lampard era off to a positive start against an insane Brentford with a string of runs in the visitors’ defense that highlighted a shift in emphasis from defence. first close-up of his predecessor.
Under Benítez, Everton frequently had less than 45 per cent of possession, but Lampard has sought to immediately put his stamp on the team in the five days he has had to prepare since he was announced on Monday, with a greater emphasis on keep the ball and pass forward. .
Having adopted a new 3-4-3 formation with the retired Seamus Coleman and the early January signing of Vitaliy Mykolenko at full-back, there were obvious teething problems with a number of players looking unsure of their roles.
It was a spotty first half lit only by Mina’s header from a gray corner in the 31st minute that saw Lampard leap out of his technical area.
Just before that, academy graduate Anthony Gordon, another bright spot of the afternoon, fired a cut shot from the right after a clean pass exchange between Coleman and Allan.
Those were the green shoots of recovery Everton fans who had witnessed just two wins in four months, one of which was in the previous round in the Hull team Championship, hoped after Lampard’s appointment.
Three minutes after the break, Richarlison latched on to Allan’s ball from above and, taking advantage of goalkeeper David Raya’s ill-advised run on the edge of his area, finished off the second.
That two-goal cushion lasted just seven minutes, however, as the three-man defense disengaged and Christian Norgaard’s through ball selected Toney, who was brought down by Jordan Pickford.
The Brentford striker sent the England goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot for his third goal in as many games.
But what could have been a testing period for the hosts was averted thanks to Holgate’s well-timed scoring contribution as he appeared at the far post to head in a deflected Gray corner kick, followed by Townsend’s late contribution.
There was time left for another couple of performances of Lampard’s song before the long-suffering home fans left happy for the first time in a long while.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.