Oldham forced Everton into a replay, improbably evening the score at 2-2 in the final seconds in FA Cup Action.
It appeared that Everton would successfully avoid the upset bug that got Arsenal in earlier action, but Oldham would simply not be denied. The Latics scored the equalizer with mere seconds remaining to keep their tournament hopes alive.
From the very outset the Latics side aimed to show that it belonged. Jordan Obita slipped in the first goal off of a beautiful precision pass from Lee Croft to stun Everton just 13 minutes into the game.
Everton would quickly recover from the early goal, scoring the equalizer off a goal from forward Victor Anichebe. The first half would continue on as a back-and-forth affair with neither side being able to convert on the few opportunities presented.
The second half would see Everton take the lead at the 48-minute mark on a goal from Phil Jagielka despite plenty of contact from the Oldham defense.
After failing to capitalize on plenty of opportunities to equalize the score, it appeared that Everton would be advancing to the next round, but a Hail Mary corner resulted in a controversial goal from Matt Smith that forced the draw and replay to determine who will advance in the FA Cup.
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand gave props to Lee Croft for his cross that helped put Oldham on the board early:
What a ball from Croft for the 1st goal. Oldham 1-0 Everton... Scholesy must a hit the roof when Obita put that in!!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) February 16, 2013
It only took nine minutes for Victor Anichebe to put in the equalizer. As Dale Johnson of ESPN points out, Everton is tough to beat when he finds the net.
Everton have never lost a game in which Victor Anichebe has scored. #efc— Dale Johnson (@dalejohnsonESPN) February 16, 2013
Phil Jagielka put Everton up 2-0 with an impressive goal. As The Mirror noticed, Lee Barnard did just about everything in his power to keep Jagielka from scoring the goal.
Jagielka netted despite being, frankly, rugby-tackled by Lee Barnard, who was out to stop him by hooker by crook.— MirrorFootball (@MirrorFootball) February 16, 2013
After driving in the final goal to move Oldham into an improbable replay opportunity Matt Smith was full of confidence about his side's chances to advance past Everton.
"...We have all the chance in the replay, we're full of confidence so who knows," Oldham striker Matt Smith. Oldham 2-2 Everton. #FACup— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 16, 2013
Lee Croft, Oldham: B+
Croft was a primary reason that this match was closely contested.
Croft's passing was on-point for most of the match and his cross to set up the first goal from Jordan Obita was a thing of beauty.
This match will be remembered for the incredible ending, but it was Croft's early assist that got things rolling for Oldham.
Victor Anichebe, Everton: A
After Arsenal fell in earlier action, it would have been easy for Everton to fold after giving up the early goal to Oldham. Instead, Anichebe found the net just nine minutes later and effectively restarted the match.
Without Anichebe turning the tides so quickly this match could have taken on a much different complexion. Anichebe's goal was a game-changer and earns him an "A" grade for this match.
Tim Howard, Everton: B
Prior to the final goal, Howard had turned in a nearly flawless performance.
Oldham created plenty of quality shots on the net, but was consistently turned down by Howard in the net.
Allowing the final desperation cross to find the net puts a damper on an otherwise brilliant game, but Howard was a primary reason that Everton is still alive in the FA Cup.