Everton survive FA Cup scare at Hull
Last updated on .From the section FA Cup
Andros Townsend struck a superb extra-time winner as Everton saw off dogged Hull in the FA Cup to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Rafael Benitez.
But Demarai Gray steered Everton level and Andre Gomes nodded them ahead.
Ryan Longman curled in a brilliant equaliser for the Tigers but Townsend's fierce 25-yarder deceived Hull keeper Nathan Baxter to put Everton through.
Hull, who hit the woodwork through Keane Lewis-Potter at 2-2 in normal time, came close to forcing penalties but Toffees keeper Asmir Begovic made a stunning save to deny Tom Eaves.
Victory was welcome cup cheer for Everton, who have exited the competition at the third-round stage in three of the previous five campaigns.
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Boost for Benitez - but it's far from convincing
When Everton fell behind less than a minute in and some travelling Toffees supporters joined in with the underdogs' time-honoured "you're getting sacked in the morning" chant, things appeared bleak for Benitez.
Coming in to the game on a run of just one win in 12 Premier League matches that has seen the Toffees slip to 15th after a decent start to his reign, the former Liverpool boss is still struggling for acceptance from the Goodison faithful.
His cause was not helped by Smith heading home his first Hull goal since a summer move from Sheffield United as Everton began poorly and were fortunate not to fall further adrift.
Begovic was twice called on to thwart tall striker Eaves, the first from a powerful header and the second a shot from a tight angle, and the visitors looked all at sea at set-pieces.
But then Anthony Gordon and Gray wove their magic, a classy exchange of passes in the Hull area culminating in the former Leicester man calmly tucking beneath Baxter.
Gordon has been one of Benitez's bright sparks recently and he was at the centre of everything good Everton produced in the first half, clipping the outside of the post after a mazy run and setting Michael Keane clear for a shot superbly tipped aside by Baxter.
The 20-year-old played a role in Everton's second too, teeing up Jonjoe Kenny for a cross that Gomes, timing his run into the six-yard area perfectly, dived in to head home.
It was a blow that appeared to rock Hull and the game looked to be meandering towards a routine Everton win when Longman found Begovic's top corner from 20 yards just seven minutes after coming on.
Everton rallied with Gray almost replicating Longman's strike, curling inches wide, and Hull's Jacob Greaves fortunate there is no video assistant referee at non-Premier League grounds in the FA Cup when his raised hand blocked a Gray shot.
The Toffees had their own escape at the other end when Lewis-Potter's low shot came back off Begovic's near post, but the Championship side had no answer when Townsend produced a trademark swerving, dipping strike from distance to decide it.
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