Baines: Lincoln Win An Important Step

by Paul McNamara
@Everton

Leighton Baines says Everton’s FA Cup victory over Lincoln City represents the “first step to getting to where we want to be”.

Left-back Baines landed a cross on Ademola Lookman’s head for the winger to break the deadlock after 12 minutes of a cut-and-thrust third-round tie.

Bernard added a second two minutes later but Lincoln halved the deficit when centre-back Michael Bostwick prodded in from six yards on 28 minutes.

Everton fired 18 shots at goal without being able to restore their two-goal advantage but did more than enough to secure a spot in Monday’s fourth round draw.

“It is a fantastic cup, something everyone around the world respects and a good opportunity for us to get some success,” said Baines.

“Today was the first step to getting to where we want to be.

“We got the job done, we created enough chances for it to look better on paper and more comfortable.

“And we would all like to have scored more goals... we had the chances to do that. But we wouldn’t have gone anywhere else, we’d have still been in the hat for the next round.

“We got the job done and we look forward to being in it.”


Baines, returning to Everton’s starting XI for the first time since the Carabao Cup tie with Southampton back on October 2, was in sparkling form.

The 34-year-old was tenacious in defence but did his most eye-catching work going forward.

He started as he intended to continue, bombing forward to pick out Lookman with a sumptuous delivery. Baines supplied a steady stream of quality deliveries throughout the game, his eagerness to join Everton's attacks reflected in the fact 45 per cent of Everton’s offensive play was directed down the left, with 34.3 per cent going down the opposite flank.

The only Everton player with a more advanced average position across the 90 minutes was attacker Lookman.

Captain for the day Baines drew greatest satisfaction, however, from his side’s success at a near-capacity Goodison Park.

Bernard’s accomplished finish looked to have put the Blues out of sight only for Bostwick to pounce after Michael O’Connor’s left-wing free-kick set up Jason Shackell for a header Jordan Pickford beat out at close range.

And Baines reserved some praise for Lincoln, too, for the manner in which the League Two frontrunners battled back to ignite a compelling contest.

“We started well enough and got two goals ahead but from there we made it slightly difficult for ourselves,” said Baines.

“We knew they’d be strong from set-pieces and that eventually got them back in the game.

“But we should give Lincoln some credit, they did the work and made it a difficult day for us.

“I think the confidence they got from scoring the goal gave them a boost. It was almost like a cup final for them and they grew into the game.

“We should still have had more composure and quality to see that through and get more goals. And we did press and had quite a few opportunities.

“But the most important thing was to win and be in the draw for the next round.”



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