Arouna Kone’s first goal for two months and a late Kevin Mirallas penalty were enough for Everton to see off League Two strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup third round.
The Ivorian converted a far-post header just past the half-hour before his team-mate converted from the spot but the 2-0 scoreline did not fully reflect the hosts’ dominance in a match they controlled from the start.
Dagenham offered little threat with the appearance of a black and white cat in Everton’s penalty area near the end causing more problems for goalkeeper Joel Robles, who tried unsuccessfully to catch it, than the visitors’ attack.
Manager Roberto Martinez made eight changes from the side which beat Manchester City in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday but still fielded an experienced side which saw midfielder Steven Pienaar make his first appearance in nine months and captain Phil Jagielka return after being out since the end of October with a knee injury.
However, there was no place in the squad for Steven Naismith, which appeared to virtually confirm his imminent departure from Goodison in the transfer window with Norwich favourites to sign him.
Separated by 78 league places it was not that much of a contest with centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori forcing Mark Cousins to tip over a fierce effort before the left-footed Bryan Oviedo, filling in at right-back, swung over the 32nd-minute free-kick for Kone to register his first goal since scoring a hat-trick against Sunderland on November 1.
Funes Mori departed with a badly-gashed head just before half-time, giving youngster Matthew Pennington only his second appearance for the club, but it did not affect Everton’s progress.
Kone had three chances to put the result beyond doubt after the break, seeing one low shot parried by Cousins, then failing to get enough of a touch to Muhamed Besic’s cross with the outside of his right foot before heading wide with 10 minutes remaining.
But when Nyron Nosworthy fouled Mirallas the Belgian converted the spot-kick to put the Toffees into the fourth round.