Goals from Rhyce Ramsden (two), David Tweed and Jamie Oakey cancel out strikes from TJ Yates and Ray Westbrook as Everton prevail with a 4-2 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Disability Cup Final.
The sides had met twice already this season with Pompey coming out on top on both occasions, so it was the old cliché of third time lucky for Mark Dolan’s side.
The Toffees almost opened the scoring inside the opening two minutes after a ferocious strike from Rhyce Ramsden was pushed onto the crossbar. A fine save from Portsmouth stopper Thomas Atkinson.
Not long after and the Merseyside club were at it again after Liam Burbridge linked up with captain, Martin Heald but despite beating Atkinson, the woodwork rattled once again.
With 23 minutes played and Everton having the best of the chances, persistence finally paid off. Burbridge and Ramsden combined for the latter to slot between the legs of Atkinson. It was a goal worthy of champions.
Michael Masters looked to respond for Pompey with the final action of the half as he was first to react to Phil Grace’s parry but David Tweed was alert to the danger and cleared off the line.
Half Time: Everton 1-0 Portsmouth
It was a bright start to the second half from the south coast side and they probably should’ve been back on level terms. TJ Yates beat his opponent to send a deflected pass into the path of Shay Gray at the far post. He could only head wide.
Moments later, Yates was involved once again as he latched onto Chris Waller’s pass into the penalty area, but Heald was alert to the danger and divert for a corner. A block worthy of a goal at the other end.
Despite a bout of Portsmouth pressure, against the run of play, Ramsden doubled Everton’s lead and his tally for the afternoon. It was route one football from the men in pink as Tweed picked out the Bolton-born attacker to calmly put his attempt past Atkinson.
However, Pompey responded almost immediately with Yates pulling one back to give Callum Fowler’s side every chance of getting back into the tie.
Meanwhile, from the restart Tweed regained the two-goal lead as Burbridge’s return pass was headed into the path of the Everton number seven to find the bottom left corner.
Pompey were stunned – calling for a timeout and a chance to regroup.
When you find yourselves two goals down, the captain is always somebody you look to turn to for an answer, and that’s why Ray Westbrook wears the Portsmouth armband.
A hopeful free kick was sent forward into the penalty area and for a lapse of concentration from Grace, as he got caught under the ball, Westbrook looked to have restarted the resurgence.
It was four minutes of madness and a game you couldn’t take your eye’s off.
As time ticked on and frustrations grew, Westbrook was cautioned for a foul on Heald. While the Everton captain and Ramsden also picked up bookings for delaying the restart.
Finally, with two minutes to play, it was game set and match as Jamie Oakey scored Everton’s fourth of the afternoon. Ramsden was yet again involved after playing a searching ball into the path of Jamie Oakey to find the net from 10 yards.
Full Time: Everton 4-2 Portsmouth