Everton 2-0 Boreham Wood: Rondon double helps Everton past National League side
Photo by Emma Simpson - Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Off the pitch, Everton have spent much of the past week cutting ties, on it they hoped this one would bring a break. Amidst the disassociation with sponsor Alisher Usmanov and despite a lacklustre first half against National League Boreham Wood, the Premier League team progressed into the FA Cup quarter-finals after Salomon Rondon scored a second-half brace.

This was far from vintage fair but for a team who haven’t won a trophy in 27 years, reaching the last-eight of a cup competition can’t be sniffed at either. Despite their desperate league form, they were expected to progress here any which way. Up against ‘the Wood’, who were aiming to become a rare commodity: a non-league club to advance past the fifth round, Everton couldn’t afford anything other than victory.

Sitting fourth in English football’s fifth tier, Luke Garrard’s side have promotion on their minds too, but this FA Cup run which started in the second qualifying round against Barnet will be a story that supporters of the club will tell for some time. It was the biggest game in their 74-year history.

It was even more special for full back Kane Smith, a boyhood Everton supporter. The Cruyff turn he executed on the Goodison pitch midway through the first half was clearly planned and no doubt recorded back home. The Hertfordshire club can take their leave from this season’s competition with their heads held high. They held Everton for longer than most expected.

Story of the game

The changes were rung by Frank Lampard, six in total from their previous league match, and Ukraine international Vitalii Mykolenko was given the captain’s armband. He led Everton out while John Lennon’s Imagine played through the PA system; both sides came together to hold up a banner reading ‘Imagine all the people, sharing all the world’.

When kick-off came, Boreham Wood — this their sixth game in the competition already this season — knew what they had to do. Set-up with a 5-4-1 and the same team that knocked Bournemouth out in the fourth round, they tried to stop their illustrious hosts in their tracks. And they largely succeeded.

Apart from Mykolenko bringing an early save out of Taye Ashby-Hammond, Abdoulaye Doucoure shooting into the side-netting from a tight angle and Anthony Gordon drilling a low shot which the Boreham Wood ‘keeper did well to parry away from danger, Everton offered very little against the National League team in the opening 45 minutes.

They looked like a team devoid of ideas; there was some good movement but that wasn’t enough to break Boreham Wood. The Hertfordshire side didn’t see much of the ball; their first half was spent being defensively organised and pressing Everton back, but they were allowed a comfortable welcome. They even had their commemorative kit, which they sported for this tie to avoid a colour clash, paid for by their hosts.

Lampard’s half-time change of Richarlison for right wing-back Nathan Patterson and a switch to a back four had an immediate impact. Straightaway Everton played with more pace: Mykolenko whipped in a cross which was asking to be finished and a more elevated delivery by Jonjoe Kenny was headed over by Rondon.

Thirteen minutes into the second half and the home side had their goal. Kenny played a one-two down the right before providing a centre for Rondon. The Venezuelan striker had stolen a march on centre back David Stephens and dispatched a cute finish at the near post.

Only moments earlier Boreham Wood had been gifted their first chance of note when Jarrad Branthwaite’s careless pass went straight to Tyrone Marsh but in going for the element of surprise his quick-fire shot missed the target.

Keen to make hay and secure their progression, Everton thought they had doubled their advantage when Gordon’s deflected shot was headed in by Richarlison, only for the Brazilian to be offside. Then Richarlison bent an effort towards the bottom corner but Ashby-Hammond stretched to turn the attempt away.

However, seven minutes from time, the tie was put to bed. Josh Rees timed his tackle well to snatch the ball away from Richarlison as he set to shoot, yet the subsequent corner played short to Andros Townsend before he delivered it into the crowded area, was met by Rondon who rose to head home his second.

Teams

Everton: Begovic; Kenny, Keane (Price 89), Branthwaite; Patterson (Richarlison 46), Doucoure, Allan (Welch 89), Mykolenko (Coleman 59); Townsend, Rondon, Gordon (Dobbin 61).

Subs (not used): Lonergan, Holgate, Astley, Iwobi.

Boreham Wood: Ashby-Hammond; Stevens, Stephens, Evans; Smith (Smith 73), Raymond, Ricketts (Comley 69), Mendy; Rees; Marsh, Boden (Ranger 89).

Subs (not used): Ashmore, Fyfield, Clifton.

Referee: Tony Harrington.

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