'A win is a win - but it threatened to be embarrassing'

Everton expert view graphic

Phil McNulty, chief football writer

Everton threatened to be on the wrong end of one of the biggest embarrassments in their history when they trailed Doncaster Rovers – the bottom team on the league ladder – in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Sean Dyche’s side finally turned the game around, and reduced the growing fury from their own fans inside the stadium, with the impressive introduction of new £25m striker Beto at the start of the second half.

Beto’s goalscoring and game-changing contribution in what was eventually a 2-1 win must be measured in the context of opponents at the bottom of League Two but his power, pace and the manner in which he took his goal delivered optimism in a season short on that commodity for Everton so far.

Dyche said he took the opportunity to remind his players that the media were waiting for Everton to lose – it is an old school tactic but it is to be hoped he also reminded them, far more pertinently, of what a truly wretched performance they had delivered in a 45-minute horror show.

A win is a win after losing their first three Premier League games without scoring a goal but now Everton go into another crucial test against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday lunchtime, when they will hope Beto will confirm his good impression against top-flight opposition.

Everton eventually got over the line with Arnaut Danjuma’s late winner clinching a third round visit to Aston Villa, where they were recently humbled 4-0, but the first hour will still have been of huge concern to supporters who made their feelings noisily clear to Dyche and his players.