Everton gave their late chairman Bill Kenwright the send-off he would have wanted as ex-Burnley duo James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil played a major part in the 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over their former club.
On a night when the fanbase, which has often been divided over the role of Kenwright spanning almost two decades, rose as one to mark his death last week at the age of 78, the team ensured the occasion was marked in fitting fashion.
Tarkowski’s header opened the scoring in the 13th minute and the centre-back’s aerial prowess came to the fore early in the second half when he nodded McNeil’s header back into the danger area for Amadou Onana to poke home from close range.
Ashley Young’s first Everton goal in added time came courtesy of substitute Beto’s driving run along the byline, handing Toffees manager Sean Dyche victory against his former side.
The scoreline flattered Burnley, struggling after promotion straight back to the Premier League, whose side registering seven changes struggled to lay a glove on their hosts.
They were no match for Everton, watched by owner Farhad Moshiri for the first time in over two years, and they are growing in confidence after a fifth victory in seven matches – their best run in a non-Covid-19 season since May 2019.
From the moment Tarkowski buried a header from a McNeil cross the result was barely in doubt.
The centre-back’s celebration was low-key against his former team but McNeil, whose first-half stint on the left wing put him in the firing line of the travelling support, turned and cupped his ear to Clarets fans.
And he almost silenced them completely with a drive just over from the edge of the penalty area.
Burnley’s inability to play out from the back against better quality opposition was highlighted when Dara O’Shea, one of four players to be retained from the Bournemouth defeat, passed straight to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and was fortunate the striker’s low shot was off target.
McNeil’s harsh treatment from the visiting fans was extended onto the pitch when Ameen Al-Dakhil, another player keeping his place, was booked for chopping him down as he threatened to break.
Burnley’s best chance was denied by a sliding James Garner cutting out a cross which was destined to be a Jay Rodriguez tap-in at the far post.
Everton – particularly goalkeeper Jordan Pickford making his 250th appearance for the club – were barely extended and more calamitous defending early in the second half led to another goal.
Al-Dakhil lost all perspective of where the ball was, allowing it to bounce off him into the path of Calvert-Lewin whose shot was deflected behind.
Onana delivered the killer blow from the resulting corner and another close-range strike from Young saw Everton coast into the quarter-finals.