BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Alan Shearer reckoned Everton paid the ultimate price for failing to nullify Millwall’s attacking threat in yesterday’s FA Cup game at The Den.
All of the Lions’ goals in their 3-2 win over the Premier League outfit came from free-kicks.
Lee Gregory, Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace were the goalscorers for the Championship side.
Cooper was lucky that his goal – which made it 2-2 – was not struck off for handball.
The BBC screened the tie and pundit Shearer said: “It was Everton’s inability to defend set-pieces – both the first ball and to get rid of that second ball – they couldn’t do it. Millwall knew that – it was why every opportunity was to get the ball in the mixer and get on the end of it.
“That’s been their biggest threat and Everton should know that, because there is only Aston Villa who have scored more goals from set-pieces than Millwall. They should have been prepared for these set-pieces. They should have handled it better.
“Everton couldn’t get it away with the strength and power Millwall had in those positions. They caused them all sorts of problems.
“They got away with it, the referee couldn’t see the handball. But if you’re going to give stupid set-pieces away, you have got to defend them – and more aggressively than Everton did.
“They made it so difficult for them. That’s their strength Millwall – and you can tell that.”
Fellow pundit Dion Dublin had plenty of praise for Gregory’s first-half equaliser.
“That’s a really difficult skill, a really difficult header – but he executes it perfectly.
“Everton were weak from crosses all game. Millwall knew it, and they used it.”
IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS