Alex Iwobi fired Everton into the Carabao Cup third round after they overcame the straight red card shown to Moise Kean to claim a 2-1 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.
An Everton side featuring nine changes from the side that were held to a 2-2 draw at Leeds at the weekend looked to be up against it when Iwobi’s goal was cancelled out by Tom Lees before Kean was given his marching orders.
The Italian, who had earlier had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, allowed his frustrations to get the better of him in an off-the-ball incident with Sorba Thomas, but Townsend’s first Everton goal made sure there was no cup upset.
Huddersfield, who made six changes to their line-up, also had a goal questionably ruled out for offside in the second half but they were unable to rally after falling behind for a second time as Everton, quarter-finalists for the last two seasons, progressed.
Kean was lively early on, firing wide then stabbing towards goal, with Lee Nicholls getting down low to push away, but the Huddersfield goalkeeper was helpless to stop Everton taking a 26th-minute lead through Iwobi’s deft finish.
After being slipped in by Tom Davies’ cute pass, Iwobi, one of only two Everton players retained from Saturday afternoon’s Premier League draw at Elland Road alongside Michael Keane, coolly slotted between Nicholls’ legs.
It should have been 2-0 moments later as Kean fired a left-foot shot into the top corner, only to be incorrectly flagged for offside. With no video assistant referee in operation Huddersfield were given a lifeline.
They gradually grew into the contest, with Asmir Begovic contorting himself to push away Danel Sinani’s effort on his first Huddersfield start, with the on-loan Norwich forward miscuing his rebound over the bar.
But Huddersfield’s endeavour was rewarded on the stroke of half-time as Lees headed beyond Begovic from Sorba Thomas’ inswinging corner after being left almost unnoticed in the area.
The home side’s momentum continued after the interval and Everton were undone from another set-piece, but this time the offside flag came to their aid.
Pearson rose highest to head home but, with Fraizer Campbell in an offside position and adjudged to be unsighting Begovic, the flag went up and the goal was chalked off.
Everton looked to have made their task harder when Kean reacted to being shoved off the ball before coming together with Thomas. Tempers frayed, Kean shoved the Huddersfield player a couple of times and was sent off.
Kean trudged slowly off the field, his first start for Everton in nearly a year ending on a sour note, but it would not cost Everton, with Townsend expertly steering substitute Andre Gomes’ low cross into the roof of the net in the 79th minute.