Three points do seem to have lent this last week a rosier glow
though perhaps it was only the first-half performance that has
really given Evertonians the faint feelings of a resurgence in
confidence. However, we must be careful not to get too carried
away. Wolves were terrible Bolton this Saturday at the
Reebok will be a much harsher test.
The reserves victory over Wolves on Wednesday night (2-1) saw the
return of Carsley, Gemmill and most importantly Pistone. Two
goals from Osman one penalty and the other after a lovely run
again highlights his claim for more than a paltry 8 minutes on
the field for the first team spot. As we saw last year, there
is competition for the bench.
Moyes's standard process of team selection suggests that after a
comfortable victory we are unlikely to see any changes to the
starting 11. Naysmith was unfortunate to have missed out and
just may replace Unsworth but I would be surprised if he did.
Osman and Jeffers surely deserve their place on the bench which
means that Pistone (has this one come to soon?), Naysmith, Li Tie,
Nyarko, Campbell and Clarke will be battling for two bench places
now that is the sort of competition that we need and augurs well
for the Christmas period when other teams' squads may well be
You will note that I exclude Ferguson expect Moyes to do so
again. Only injuries will see him playing at Goodison again.
Bolton are beginning to put a good run together and are above us
in the table. Four consecutive clean sheets has been the base
for their resurgence and, with Campo patrolling in front of their
back four rather than in it, they do appear a solid unit. They
have though struggled for goals despite having the brilliant Okocha
in their side and may have missed Djorkaeff who is now fit again
though scouser Kevin Nolan kept him out of the side against Leeds
Despite their run Boltonare a side that we should look to be
beating. A brace from Watson last season won us the three
points though we were held 0-0 at Goodison when somehow Rooney
failed to score despite creating numerous chances. Rooney has
not quite exploded for us yet but I am tipping him to do so this
weekend and drive us to another 2-0 win which should help banish the
word 'relegation' and start pushing us up the table to where we
Pure unmitigated shite
The first half began in the typical fashion of Everton playing
away from home. From kick off the ball was laid back to Tony
Hibbert who hoofed a long ball down field straight onto the head of
a Bolton defender. On the Blues' next possession a few seconds
later, Thomas Gravesen passed straight to a white shirt... normal
Bolton, on the other hand, were purposeful and quick and before
two minutes had elapsed Kevin Davies dispatched a bullet header just
over the bar with the Everton defence at sixes and sevens. Six
minutes after that, Stelios was put in the clear by a wonderfully
incisive through-ball but, fortunately for the visitors, the Greek
clipped his shot just past the far post.
With David Moyes barking frustrated orders from the sideline and
incurring the ire of the pedantic officials for continuously
stepping outside his technical area, his team was its usual
infuriatingly clueless self. Four successive corners midway
through the first half presented them with the opportunity to
finally put a telling ball in from a set piece but, of course, each
one failed to cause Bolton any problems.
With 24 minutes gone, along came the inevitable. A long throw
from the effervescent Jay-Jay Okocha ended on the end of Campo whose
looping header was punched meekly by Nigel Martyn and Per Frandsen,
given plenty of room by Tobias Linderoth who had simply stopped,
headed easily into the corner of the goal to give Wanderers the
Everton's response was to continue looking clueless in midfield,
although they did put their first decent ball into the box on the
half hour when David Unsworth picked out Wayne Rooney, but he
couldn't get behind it due to the close attention of his
marker. The 18-year-old then fell awkwardly in a challenge
with Jaaskeleinen and injured his ankle but was able to run it off
and finish the half. However, it was probably still bothering him
when he tried to lob the 'keeper from 20 yards but sent the ball
high over the bar instead.
At half time, David Moyes realised the error of leaving James
McFadden on the bench for the less creative Lee Carsley and
introduced the Scottish midfielder on the right hand side instead of
Linderoth because Kevin Kilbane had, depressingly, been the Blues'
most creative outlet. However, he hadn't even had a touch of the
ball when Everton found themselves 2-0 down to another soft
goal. Thomas Gravesen's idea of challenging a 50-50 ball with Frandsen was to wave a leg aimlessly in the air and when the ball
broke to Djorkaeff, he swivelled and shot, the ball deflecting off
Kevin Nolan and past Martyn who was already moving across to the
other side of the goal.
Frandsen was inches from making it 3-0 minutes later when, after
Bolton's midfield had once again embarrassed their Merseyside
opponents with some creative touches, he curled a shot just around
Martyn's right hand post.
On 54 minutes, Rooney was removed from the fray in favour of
Francis Jeffers. It was the right move by Moyes because Rooney had
been tightly marked and, in any case, had hardly received any
service beyond having to come deep and pick up the ball from his
idea-less midfield team mates. It gave Jeffers an opportunity to
rediscover his form.
McFadden was booked for dissent on 60 mins and Carsley also saw
yellow for leaving his boot in on Frandsen67 before Yobo almost
scores own goal and Djorkaeff unleashed a snapshot that drifted over
With 20 minutes to go came the clearest sign from the dugout that
things were bad for Everton. Gravesen, the player to whom plenty of
column inches have been devoted this past week as someone who has
turned the corner, was taken off and Alex Nyarko came on to chase a
lost cause. The Dane had been as ineffective as at any time during
his Goodison career but Moyes's decision came across more as a
statement than an attempt to turn a game that was long since lost.
Depressingly, the closest the Blues came all game was a fizzing
effort by Alan Stubbs that had the former Trotter's frustration
written all over it as it flew a yard wide of the post.
Where to now, Mr Moyes?