THROUGHOUT his now 500-game tenure, David Moyes has never been one for reminiscing on past glories.
But the Everton manager would be forgiven for hoping a little history is repeating after his side began a season-defining week in spookily familiar fashion.
Twelve months ago, the Goodison outfit required a late winner to secure a 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win, shortly after which a profitable January transfer window helped further kickstart a campaign that took Everton to Wembley and rekindled the fire in both Moyes and the club’s fanbase.
So it was impossible to ignore the nagging sense of déjà vu after a dramatic afternoon amid the snowy backdrop at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
John Heitinga’s injury-time thunderbolt ensured another narrow Cup squeak ahead of what will most likely prove a pivotal few days in their quest for Champions League qualification.
With the purse strings pulled tight, there won’t be a repeat of deadline day last year that saw Nikica Jelavic unveiled, Steven Pienaar return and Darron Gibson announce himself with a memorable winner against champions-elect Manchester City.
But even just one new face – and Moyes remains confident he can pull that particular rabbit from his hat ahead of Thursday’s cut-off – will at least give the manager an extra option and lift a squad that has signs of weariness in recent weeks.
Sandwiching deadline day are home games against off-form duo West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa in the next six days that provide an inviting opportunity to underline credentials for a continued top-four challenge.
Everton, though, know they have to improve. Although victorious at the weekend, Moyes’s men remain far from their best.
Too many key players have fallen below the high standards they have set themselves during the first half of the season. Yet they remain durable, dogged and difficult to beat; qualities belonging to any team harbouring hopes of tangible success.
While not alone, Marouane Fellaini – the matchwinner this time last year against Fulham – is the chief concern, his alarmingly disinterested performance in central midfield encapsulated when he lost out in a challenge to Bolton’s man-of-the-match Marcos Alonso and then threw his hands to the skies in despair.
The recent history of Saturday’s fixture suggested anybody who considered leaving their seat before the final whistle did so at their peril.
For the fourth time in the last six meetings at the Reebok, the game was settled by a last-gasp strike. The surprise instead came from the identity of the scorer, Heitinga notching only the fourth goal of his Goodison career.
The Dutchman had only entered only to the field nine minutes from time to a smattering of jeers from the away end perplexed at the sight of a centre-back replacing Nikica Jelavic, a striker.