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Cauley Woodrow sends Luton into FA Cup fifth round with late winner at Everton

Cauley Woodrow, left, celebrates the late winner (Peter Byrne/PA)
Cauley Woodrow, left, celebrates the late winner (Peter Byrne/PA)

Substitute Cauley Woodrow scored the winner deep into added time as Luton reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in 11 years with a 2-1 victory over Everton.

The additional five minutes indicated had already passed when a goalmouth scramble at a corner saw Woodrow convert from close range after Arnaut Danjuma’s clearance had rebounded off him.

It spared the blushes of Hatters goalkeeper Tim Krul, whose error looked like allowing the hosts to escape with a replay in a tie distinctly lacking in magic for the majority.

The Netherlands international let Jack Harrison’s long-range shot squirm from his grasp and trickle over the line to cancel out Vitalii Mykolenko’s contentious first-half own goal.

Everton’s back-up goalkeeper Joao Virginia, man of the match in their third-round replay victory over Crystal Palace 10 days ago, had kept them in the game with two crucial saves while Nathan Patterson also cleared a shot off the line.

Perhaps expectations should have been lowered for a tie between the Premier League’s 17th and 18th-placed teams, both of whom have their focus on avoiding relegation, but Everton failed to make home advantage count with an uninspiring performance.

Everton started Beto in place of the injured Andre Gomes, their match-winner against Palace, for only his sixth start of the season in a switch to 4-4-2.

While the big front man was full of enthusiasm, any hope he could quickly dovetail with Dominic Calvert-Lewin was soon dispelled as the pair barely linked up with each other and frequently found themselves in the same area challenging for the same ball.

In the one time they did manage to pick each other out, Beto placed a low shot wide from the edge of the penalty area when Calvert-Lewin should probably have slipped in Harrison.

Luton were better, but not hugely, with Elijah Adebayo heading wide Carlton Morris’ hanging cross and former Toffees midfielder Ross Barkley’s shot was headed away by James Tarkowski.

When they eventually took the lead five minutes before half-time it was not without a whiff of controversy because Calvert-Lewin overcommitted trying to attack Alfie Doughty’s inswinging ball and Barkley’s helping hand ensured momentum carried him to the ground.

The ball dropped into the space behind him where Mykolenko, under pressure from Reece Burke, deflected it down inside the near post and there was no VAR ruling over Barkley’s intervention.

Everton’s equaliser came 10 minutes after the break from their one real moment of attacking quality as Beto’s cross-field pass picked out Harrison, who showed a deftness of touch he lacked for most of the game to trap and cut inside, and Krul’s weak save contributed the assist.

Either side of that Virginia displayed his growing confidence deputising for the rested Jordan Pickford, denying Morris’ header and then getting the faintest of fingertips to Adebayo’s shot across him after the Luton forward had taken advantage of Jarrad Branthwaite’s slip to create a two-on-one.

However, team-mate Andros Townsend, to his right, had good justification for wondering why he did not receive the pass but when the former Everton winger took matters into his own hands to skip past Tarkowski and Virginia, Patterson cleared Morris’ shot off the line.

Beto’s shot was deflected wide by Burke but with the seconds running out Woodrow pounced.