Everton 4 Brentford 1
Frank Lampard got the full Everton experience in his first match as new manager with a 4-1 FA Cup victory over Premier League rivals Brentford.
He got off to the best possible start as the header from Yerry Mina — only on the field because of an early injury to Ben Godfrey — was the first time the Toffees had taken the lead in a match since October.
But after Richarlison had doubled their advantage shortly after half-time, the former Chelsea boss saw his side put themselves under unnecessary pressure by conceding a second-half Ivan Toney penalty.
However, Mason Holgate’s first goal since December 2020 made sure of progress to the last 16 to prompt chants of “Super Frankie Lampard” from all four sides of Goodison Park — and the mood was lifted further by substitute Andros Townsend’s added-time strike.
The change in atmosphere from the final days of Rafael Benitez — and even Duncan Ferguson’s one match as caretaker last month, when there were protests against the board — could not have been more stark.
Home fans even got to see two signings of genuine quality in Dele Alli and Donny Van De Beek, albeit only as half-time appearances as both were cup-tied after previous outings for Tottenham and Manchester United respectively.
Instead it was one of Benitez’s signings, Demarai Gray, who got the Lampard era off to a positive start against an out-of-sorts Brentford with a number of driving runs at the visitors’ defence which highlighted a change of emphasis from the defence-first approach of his predecessor.
Under Benitez Everton frequently had less than 45 per cent possession, but Lampard has tried to immediately put his stamp on the team in the five days he has had to prepare since being announced on Monday, with a greater emphasis on keeping the ball and passing forward.
Having adopted a new 3-4-3 formation with the recalled Seamus Coleman and early January signing Vitaliy Mykolenko as wing-backs, there were obvious teething problems with a number of players looking unsure in their roles.
Crystal Palace 2 Hartlepool 0
Crystal Palace eased into the FA Cup fifth round after first-half goals by Marc Guehi and Michael Olise downed Hartlepool at Selhurst Park.
Patrick Vieira’s side were 2-0 up inside 22 minutes and that was how it finished, despite their Sky Bet League Two opponents improving after the break.
The Eagles could still have triumphed by a greater margin but their manager, a five-time winner of the FA Cup as a player, would not have minded and will be keen for Palace to get a favourable last-16 draw on Sunday morning.
Vieira put out another strong team with only four changes made from the defeat to Liverpool last month. There was one big surprise, with Martin Kelly given a first start in 17 months.
A large travelling contingent made for an electric atmosphere before kick-off but it did not take long for the Premier League club to flex their muscles.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Norwich City 1
Norwich reached the fifth round of the FA Cup for just the second time in a decade as Kenny McLean’s header was enough to see off Wolves in a drab affair at Molineux.
With potential fairytales and cup magic up for grabs elsewhere, this was a forgettable meeting between two top-tier outfits, with the 1-0 victory for the visitors putting them in the hat for Sunday’s draw.
Wolves are 18 points better off in the Premier League than Norwich but there was very little difference in quality here as Dean Smith’s side defended valiantly — and scrappily — at times to advance.
The respective team selections arguably showed where priorities were being focused, Norwich knowing the importance of the visit of Crystal Palace on Wednesday as they aim to avoid Premier League relegation.
Stoke City 2 Wigan Athletic 0
Josh Maja and Jacob Brown scored as Stoke progressed to the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-0 win that ended Wigan’s 20-match unbeaten run.
The Potters, runners-up in the competition in 2011, started promisingly and nearly opened the scoring inside seven minutes, but Tyrese Campbell was unable to punish Jamie Jones’ poor clearance.
The home side’s early dominance was soon rewarded when debutant Maja — signed on loan from Bordeaux in midweek — secured a dream start to his Stoke career.
After a slip from Latics’ defender Jason Kerr, the Nigeria international had all the time in the world to compose himself and convert past Jones into the far corner.
Huddersfield Town 1 Barnsley 0
Peterborough 2 Queens Park Rangers 0
Cambridge United 0 Luton Town 3
Tottenham 3 Brighton 1