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Philled with Joy!

By Santosh Benjamin :  26/12/2007 :  Comments (19) :

I had to ponder a lot before I wrote my last article but this time I had no such worries as both Phils ? Neville and Jagielka ? had great games for us.

I was thrilled to see our line-up for the game with the return of Mikel, Neville at RB and Gravesen starting the game coz I think that's the ideal team 'til Ossie gets back (or we buy a midfielder in the January transfer window).

It was always going to be a physical game coz as we know that's how Bolton play... and that was evident from the first whistle, although Bolton clearly started the game better than us. We then settled in well and ploughed forward, wave after wave ending in a scuffed shot or a timely Bolton tackle. We went into the break unlucky to not be ahead when a perfectly good goal from the Yak was ruled offside (claiming that Tiny Tim was obstructing the keeper's view).

We came back after the break and the Yak set up Tim after just 30 seconds but his shot was saved. Then from the ensuing corner, Lescott scuffed a shot from about 6 yards out. We were constantly on the attack but the final ball was lacking. Then, out of nowhere popped our first goal: a gentle ball floated into the box by Neville from the right wing made its way into the goal while Jaaskeleinen was pre-occupied riding on Tim's back. Both Neville and Cahill claimed the goal (maybe if he had Campo's mop of hair it woulda grazed it on its way into the goal!) but Neville took the plaudits eventually... for which, sadly, the crowd started booing Neville from that point on till the end of the game.

Gravesen was felled on the edge of the box but Rob Styles (who was having a good game for once) decided to play advantage, whereupon Lescott whipped the ball in from the left and Tim was there to score a good goal and run to box the corner flag as always.

We held on for the clean sheet and the win inspite of some sustained Bolton pressure at the end of the game. I was hoping we could have scored more goals but against a tough (literally) Bolton side we did well to get this result following the heartbreaker against the Mancs at the weekend. By the way, did anyone else feel that Joe Royle was being a bit unfair to us at times? ? eg: "Arteta goes down a bit too easily" ... "Rob Styles looked like he blew the whistle and then played advantage" ... I love Royle but was sad to hear stuff like that from him.

This is what I thought of Moyes and the lads:

Moyes: Great team selection for once... maybe could have brought on AJ a bit earlier.

Howard: Flapped at one today too, but made some good saves to redeem himself. On his way to being an Everton legend.

Neville: Captain? Yes; Hard tackler? Yes; Bad passer? Yes; Goal scorer? "Not in your wildest dreams" is what anyone in their right mind would have said but miracles do happen close to Christmas and that for me was one of them.

Yobo: Clean game as always... his speed and dominance in the air will be sorely missed come January.

Jagielka: He is coming on by leaps and bounds; was quiet yet solid at the back ? my Man of the Match

Lescott: Cleared one off the line, made innumerable runs down the left wing to assist Pienaar, and set up the second goal brilliantly! A close second for Man of the Match.

Carsley: Hard as nails. Broke up all the balls through the midfield and passed well too. Had a few cracks on goals too (? yes, he had witnessed the Neville miracle and was hoping to join in!)

Pienaar: Responded well after his mistake against the Mancs. Worked hard and looked lively except for that backpass at the end... bet he was praying they didn't score from the corner!

Gravesen: Think he did very well considering he has been written off by many of us in here. Passing was good and had a couple of decent shots on goal which were blocked. Amazingly played peacemaker during a Diouf versus Cahill spat!

Cahill: Great goals which keep coming from the little maestro. Gave his all...and a little more too to Diouf.

Arteta: Left the Bolton team knock-kneed with his slick ball control and passing but needs to do much better from set pieces.

Yakubu: Decent game. Ball control wasn't great at all times. Set-up Cahill for a great chance and it was nice to see him happy when he came off this time.

Hibbert: Each moment with him on the field is scary.

Johnson: Looked good and tried passing to the Yak and was unlucky not to get fed by Cahill when well placed.

Vaughan: On for too little time... but noticed what looked like a shiner on his left eye? Anyone know how that happened?

All in all a good day's work. The Arse next which will be a tough game to say the least, but we live in eternal hope these days as Everton fans so onwards and upwards. COYB

Reader Comments

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Michael McAuley
1   Posted 27/12/2007 at 02:53:43

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Mostly agree with your post, Santosh. However, you have a couple of items wrong, in my opinion.

After Phil Neville scored his goal, the crowd was playfully shouting "Shoot!" every time he got the ball, not "Boo!" Also, I listened to the game on TV, as well, and thought Joe Royle was fair and called it the way he saw it. He wasn’t picking on Everton. He just is "old school" in accepting a rougher form of play with more physical contact and doesn’t believe referees shouldn’t call penalties too easily.

I’m really excited every time I see the Toffees play and they should be proud of their focused, team-oriented style of play. They’ve really come into their own and this is going to be a season to remember.

Come on You Blues!
Rob Nunn
2   Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:04:12

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I dont think the crowd were booing Phil Neville Santosh, but were urging him to "shoooooot"
Steve Carter
3   Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:25:26

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I thought Royle’s commentary was spot on too. Jag’s was my MOM. In particular, he headed well and his pace was very impressive. I’m often saying it, but I’m not with you, Santosh, about Tony Hibbert. He is a tenacious tackler and showed that, in my book, both against Manure and when he came on against against Bolton. Anyone watch the West Ham v Reading game beforehand? Stephen Hunt has been mentioned as a possible transfer to us in the Window. He was full of running yesterday in midfield for a 10 man Reading and, as we know, he scores goals . We could do worse...
Mark Cassin
4   Posted 27/12/2007 at 03:42:06

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Rob Nunn is spot on...the crowd were all shouting SHOOT at Neville....i guess it did sound like booing later on but it was definitely the crowds humour mate.
Ste Kenny
5   Posted 27/12/2007 at 10:02:56

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I'm not sure one shot in the last 10 minutes counts as sustained pressure. Personally, I thought the Yak's hold-up play was top-drawer.
Lue Glover
6   Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:22:55

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Of course we were shouting "Shoot", ? when have you ever heard the crowd boo a player in Blue and just after he?s scored a goal???
Why would we do that?
Yak had a very good game, he was marked by a couple of players each time the ball came anywhere near him and his holding of the ball and lay off play was excellent. The first few mins of the second half he wriggled his was out of some close attention by Bolton defenders to lay on some lovely passes. He may not have scored but he worked his socks off holding up the ball when needed.
Tony Hawkins
7   Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:24:56

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I haven’t seen either of the games in the last week but from the reports I’ve read the team has played extremely well and I’m excited that Phil Jagielka is performing as everyone hoped when he was signed.

What does play at the back of my mind is the central defense leadership. Thinking ahead, when Yobo goes, who is going to take up that leadership? Does Lescott have the ability? Will Jagielka do it? I think it will be a massive opportunity and learning experience where we will see both Lescott and Jags come on in leaps and bounds as they will have to develop their games even further so hopefully Lescott will become even more dominant in the CB role and Jags more confident - which can only be a good thing for Everton!!
Gavin Ramejkis
8   Posted 27/12/2007 at 11:37:01

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We were shouting shoot at the Park End for a reason the cameras failed to pick up too, Jussi picked up a hand injury in the game and we were screaming for the players especially Phil to have another go. Great second half and thrilled to bits we have a steady as a rock replacement for Yobo when he goes to the ANC - Jags is a safe as houses CB from his last two MOM performances. I’m slightly guilty of hoping that Lescott stays in the left back position though as he is blistering charging forward and really looks up to it going for goal.
David London
9   Posted 27/12/2007 at 13:44:42

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I am a Moyes supporter.I feel one point that is missed is our record on yellow and red cards.Like the Bolton game.We seem compettitive and tough yet avoid serious trouble with the ref most of the time.Which is good as we dont have many suspentions.
Paul Whitehouse
10   Posted 27/12/2007 at 15:11:42

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Gravesen: - did anyone see him once timmy had scored. no interest in the goal or in celebrating, came over to the bench more concerned with a sore ankle!!.

the sooner he fucks off the better , this guys got no team spirit.
Santosh Benjamin
11   Posted 27/12/2007 at 15:45:35

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Firstly id like to apologise to all the Everton fans at the ground and elsewhere too for suspecting them of chanting "Boo" when Neville got hold of the ball after his goal.Thats what it sounded like to me and i was so perplexed by the reaction that i thought id mention it...wouldnt have made that mistake if i was at Goodison.
Secondly, id like to say that i have nothing but respect for Joe Royle..didnt mean to be rude..was just airing my view...
Now we set our sights on the former league leaders(drew 0-0 with Pompey and lost the top spot to the Mancs) will be a really tough game coz im sure threy didnt like the goalless draw...doesnt fit into their "beautiful football" mould.Lets keep doing what we do as a team with confidence and belief....COYB
P.S:Thanks to Micheal,Lue,Ajay and others who wrote such wonderful replies wishing my family and me for Christmas...we were deeply touched!
Adolf Ng
12   Posted 27/12/2007 at 16:28:38

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I only watched the game on TV and I was glad to know that the crowd was urging Phil to "shoot" rather than "boo" as it really sounded like "boo" on TV .. like Santosh, I kept on asking why Phil was booed after scoring???
Mat Rawlinson
13   Posted 27/12/2007 at 18:23:36

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Sorry Santosh but I’ve got to pull you up on this comment - ’Moyes: Great team selection for once’. Not sure what you’re getting at here. We’ve just won 11 out of the last 14 games. That seems to suggest that the man knows his arse from his elbow if you ask me.
Michael McAuley
14   Posted 27/12/2007 at 18:43:54

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Paul Whitehouse, you’re way off on Gravesen. He looked great out there yesterday and while he may be an odd duck and a screamer out on the pitch, he’s an intense team player. His distribution of passes was excellent and he took shots when he should have.

Gravesen came screaming out to the sideline because he injured his knee, which is why they then substituted for him. He obviously wants to be playing regularly and doesn’t want to injure his knee further and then be on the injured list any longer.

Let’s just hope the injury isn’t too severe and that we see more of him over the next three or four weeks.
Mick Mac
15   Posted 27/12/2007 at 19:25:51

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I thought the crowd shouting for Puil to shoot was brilliant. That?s why I love going to games because of the quick wit of some of the supporters. Not to mention the atmosphere and the current fantastic football being played. That second half performance was exsquisite. I have to agree with everyone about Jags, he was awsome as was Neville and Yobo and Lescott. Arteta was brill, Yakubu great and Carsley immense. Peanuts is just the engine we need and Cahill fanatastic. Thought Grav ducked out of a few challenges but got better as the game wnet on. Howard what a buy
By the way where was Sammy Lee sat when he was watching the match and who was he sat with. ??
Lue Glover
16   Posted 27/12/2007 at 21:21:16

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Santosh, no need to apologise, I watched the match on Football First and you’re right, they did sound like boos.
The atmosphere after Phil scored was very festive, perhaps because he scores as often as Santa comes down the chimney.

Paul Whitehouse, I couldnt make a strong case for Grav’s footballing skills these days but I would argue the toss with regard to his team spirit. He also lifts the crowd, okay not all the crowd because some clearly don’t like him but during the warm up and during the game he is one of the few players who will acknowledge us mere mortals watching from the terraces.
Naturally, his performance on the field is more important than his interaction and chumminess with the fans but he certainly knows how to lift the crowd and create an atmosphere. That can only work in our favour.
Tom Martin
17   Posted 28/12/2007 at 00:31:02

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Paul Whitehouse that’s a load of crap.
Jason Burrows
18   Posted 28/12/2007 at 01:25:35

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Not been to see Everton for a while but last time I was there people seem to cringe at the idea of both Jags and Yak being in the team. Has the general opinion changed now they both seem to be playing well??
Lue Glover
19   Posted 28/12/2007 at 10:53:29

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Jason, I was one of those who would inwardly cringe but things have changed. Jags is now playing in his preferred and best position, something which wasnt the case in his first few games and as for the Yak, well, the stats speak for themselves. 9 goals in the PL and his workrate has improved dramatically.
He didnt score v Bolton but if you look at how he held off defenders, kept the ball and then was able to distribute it superbly, he’s a different player to the rather chunky chappie that arrived a few months ago. THAT Yakubu looked like another version of BT but the NEW Yak is a hard working goal machine - and I just love him!

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