Gerard Deulofeu’s superb free-kick was enough to see Everton ease into the fourth round of the League Cup as they overcame Reading 2-1 on Tuesday.
The Spaniard stepped up to curl home from 30 yards, after Ross Barkley had cancelled out Nick Blackman’s first-half opener.
However, Roberto Martinez will have concerns in the immediate aftermath of the game, having seen John Stones limp off with a thigh problem shortly after the interval.
Despite making eight changes from their weekend win over Bristol City, the hosts made a strong start, and would have taken the lead on 10 minutes were it not for Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles – the Spaniard producing a fine save to tip over Blackman’s bending effort from distance.
Blackman was denied by the keeper again 11 minutes later, Joel this time getting down well to smother following a clever move on the edge of the box.
Despite Deulofeu producing some penetrating runs, the visitors struggled to fashion any meaningful opportunities, and they were duly punished eight minutes before the break.
A fantastic run on the left allowed John to shake off his man and whip in a cross for Blackman, who bundled home from close range.
Martinez’s woes looked to have been compounded three minutes after the break when Stones limped off with a thigh problem as Everton continued to labour.
But the visitors breathed a sigh of relief, when a poorly cleared corner allowed Barkley to drill home a vicious volley on the edge of the box.
Everton’s Premier League class began to shine through after that strike and Deulofeu eventually decided the tie by curling home a superb set-piece 17 minutes from time.
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