Moyes enjoys old-fashioned challenge

Matt Smith has been one of the FA Cup's success stories this year

Matt Smith has been one of the FA Cup's success stories this year

First published in National Sport © by

Everton boss David Moyes feels the task of containing strikers like Oldham's towering cup talisman Matt Smith is something of an unfamiliar one for modern-day top-flight defenders.

The problems 6ft 6in Smith has caused for Barclays Premier League sides this year have seen him emerge as an FA Cup hero. After a brace against Liverpool, the 23-year-old, who was signed from non-league Solihull Moors, then headed home a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser as Moyes' Toffees were held to a 2-2 fifth-round draw at the same ground.

Speaking ahead of their replay at Goodison Park, Moyes - a former centre-back - said of Smith: "That type of centre-forward was probably more prevalent in my day - we had one of them every week. I think it is less and less so the case now in the Premier League, so that is what makes it a little bit more unusual."

Moyes continued: "I don't think there are quite as many teams using a big man the way Oldham do. But it is part of football and there is no right or wrong way to play. The job is to win, and whatever way you choose to do it, as long as it is within the rules, that is okay."

Moyes believes Oldham deserved the replay for their efforts in the original tie, although he did think there was a foul on Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard in the build-up to Smith's goal that should have been punished.

The manager may well feel he is due some good fortune, having also been aggrieved about the amount of stoppage time that was played in Saturday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Norwich, which was settled by a 94th-minute Grant Holt strike.

Asked if he reckoned officials' decisions had been costing his team of late, Moyes said: "Yes. I thought it was a free-kick leading up to the goal in the Oldham match, and I thought the referee ran over time in the game against Norwich.

"I'm sure we have had some good decisions this year that have maybe gone in our favour - I'm not debating that and maybe someone will point them out to me. But the fact of the matter is, if you ask me if recent decisions have gone against us, I'd say they have."

Everton striker Victor Anichebe remains an injury doubt. Anichebe had to come off at half-time in the Boundary Park clash having picked up a knock, and was not involved against Norwich.

Moyes said "a couple of injuries" were sustained by his players in the Canaries match that will need to be assessed, while Tony Hibbert is still recovering from calf surgery.



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