The first surprise was the team taking to the pitch in that new fluorescent yellow third strip. Wow, talk about look at us! There certainly wasn't going to be any hiding place today, for the players, wearing that. It seemed so 'not Everton' like. Surely the choice of such colourways are the preserve of flash 'Lahndan' clubs and elite European superpowers?
However, I comforted myself with the thought at least the lads would be able to pick each other out with their passes. Actually it may really help because I have found watching games at Albion in the past, my vision of events on the field seems to be affected by the backdrop of thousands of those vertical Navy and White striped clad supporters sitting in the opposing stands! Hope I'm not the only one.
Then another strange thing just before kick off. Cap'n Pip gathers the players together for ? wait for it ... a 'huddle'. In all my years of following Blues I can't ever recall us ever doing that. My first thought was why? We're Everton, old school, we don't do that! It made me think of Big Red and I winced but then it occurred to me it was for the benefit of Jose and Jack and I felt better; and grudgingly offered up a silent salute to the skipper. I just hope it's a one-off but who knows? I'll guess we'll find out next week...
Let battle commence. I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow account. There are others who post here who are far more adept and succinct in their recollections to give you the minutiae. In summary, we were fortunate to reach half-time all square. West Brom were raiding at will through the middle. Jags unfortunately struggled but he should be doing better. I don't countenance this 'he can't play midfield' rubbish. As others have pointed out recently, he was signed as a utility player having played no end of games there for the Blades. Perhaps Steve Round can begin to earn his corn and coach Phil on holding his position.
The defence in the main were very solid as they had to be. Lescott after a few missed passes demonstrated exactly why he should be playing centre-back because of his ability to play the ball forward from the back (sorry but Jags and Joey together equals speculative and wasteful punting) and he grew in confidence as the game went on.
Leighton is obviously still not 100% fit but only a run in the team will give him that. Joey, Pip (handball aberration aside) and Tim were dependably staunch. There's not much I recall about us creatively in that first half as you need the ball to create but Leon and Mikel offered glimpses at times although the latter was victim of some sustained rough play. Referee Styles (Graham Poll protégé ? and that is not meant to be a compliment) sometimes saw it fit to award a free-kick.
Baxter looks promising and it was an assured if not spectacular full debut. Rodwell impressed me with his simplicity of style, not quite Keanesque but along those lines. Much to hope for there from the pair of them. The Yak ploughed a lonely furrow up front in search of sustenance, so he could score but to no avail unfortunately.
The second half started in the same vein and West Brom looked increasingly likely to breech our defences. Their crowd got behind them with this hypnotic chant that seemed to go on forever and for what seemed like ten minutes we didn't touch the ball. It was becoming desperate. Our supporters broke out of their reverie and for the first time in the day we made ourselves heard.
Suddenly the atmosphere was electric and Davy Moyes substitutes young Baxter for James Vaughan and he was on like a man possessed, charging around like a wild thing. The West Brom defence who prior to this had been having an easy time of it didn't know what hit them. Vaughan, as is his wont, was in their faces and pulling them here, there, out of position. His enthusiasm ignites the others, particularly Ossie, Mikael and the Yak.
Suddenly we are calling all the shots and Jack 'scores' with a peach of a header. Cue bedlam in the stands but it's chalked off by our mate Rob! What is it with these referees and what seems like a 10 second delay between an incident occuring and them blowing up? What in the blazes is he doing applying judicial reflection or something more sinister? To be fair my own gut instinct was it was touch and go from my spec, 20 metres away.
Anyway, it doesn't matter as moments later Mikel puts Ossie in and Twinkle Toes skips through and slots the ball past the advancing keeper. Well, we go ape in the stand. I take advantage of an embrace and kiss from a complete stranger, a very nice young lady and suddenly the world seems a nicer place. The players are beneath us celebrating with each other. I look over at Moysie and he's back pumping his fist and displaying that legendary passion we know. It's as if that goal has kick started our collective heart and it's beating once more.
The rest of the game is like a dream really, the Yak capitalises superbly on their keeper's mistake to score a header and seal the points. How important were they? I believe right now you couldn't put a value on it .Confidence is the most precious commodity a player or team can have but it is so fragile so easily broken as you try to grow and sustain it.
We are about to embark on a journey over the next nine days or so that promises to be quite torrid for us Evertonians. At the end of it we will be a lot more clear as to understanding what we can expect in the short term at least. This victory influenced by Vaughan's brilliant cameo gives us hope. COYB!
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1 Posted 24/08/2008 at 16:34:42
2 Posted 24/08/2008 at 16:44:05
He’s not as technically gifted as Rooney but has the same sort of aggression and enthusiasm. Him and Yak would be lethal.
Best talent at the club without a doubt.
3 Posted 24/08/2008 at 16:46:37
As Moyesy said, he lacks football matches, so lets hope he gives him the match time he needs in the first team. I believe JV and Yak are a match made in heaven...
Their pace, power, strength, eye for goal, hunger and finishing ability are absolute dynamite! Vaughan makes so much space for others will his running and strength.
IF (!) we can sign the midfield quality (and stature) we need this week, to enable us to play 4 in midfield, then I think we are in business and should fear no one!
IF it was me making the decisions I’d be prepared to pay a lot of the available budget to get Lorik Cana (or similar) - and maybe bag Stephen Appiah on a free as well.
Playing two up (when one is Vaughany) will stretch the oppo defence much more than a lone striker and so a midfield four (when available) of:
Pienaar, (one of Cana/Appiah/M’Bia), Cahill and Arteta would be pretty handy, no?
4 Posted 24/08/2008 at 17:22:45
James Vaughan coming back would be really like a new signing. Plus, Anichebe is winging his way back. Suddenly, our attacking options don’t look too bad (Yak, Vaugny, Big Vic, Jose).
Now, if we can only get 3~4 mid-field signings, we will be fine. How about an all-British new signings : SWP, Michael Johnson, Bullard, and Keightly (Wolves). We will be fine with this lot !
5 Posted 24/08/2008 at 18:19:49
6 Posted 24/08/2008 at 18:31:42
A couple of points
A lot of people around me shared your view on the "huddle" I distinctly heard clear booing, personally I wouldnt care if they did it every game as long as we win.
And that Hypnotic chant you talked about, does anyone know what they were singing ? it was a sort of bouncy, clappy, "Saints go marching in"
You forgot to mention Pips little nutmeg at the end - never seen so many Evertonians just sort of look at each other - highlight of the day
A great alternative to the brilliantly detailed reports from Ken and the view from India Santosh provides,
Your spot on about the importance of yesterdays win, although it may be some time before we realise just how important.
Hope this article isnt a one off
7 Posted 24/08/2008 at 19:52:43
I can relate to the ’Twinkle Toes’; Ossie has what we used to call ’quick feet’ and it’s not the first time he’s ’passed to himself’ in the area. Just wish he’d try it more often around the box and let fly when he’s clear
As for James Vaughan, I’ve been impressed since he fearlessly slid in for a defender and the goalie for his debut goal
As a cool, ball-playing defender in the Colin Todd - ask your dad - mold (in my dreams!) I would have hated playing against James Vaughan
It’d be great (for us) having both him and Cahill putting themselves about and getting in the oppositions’ faces like blue-arsed horseflies
We’ll win some retaliatory free kicks from pissed-off defenders, that’s for sure
8 Posted 24/08/2008 at 21:13:23
9 Posted 24/08/2008 at 21:18:43
The Yak stole up on the centre-half totally unnoticed. Obviously Meite couldn’t hear Yak coming above the noise of the kit!!
10 Posted 24/08/2008 at 21:55:15
Twinkle toes, twinkle toes twinkle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to see Ossie score today.
Hey!!!!!!!!! etc etc etc
11 Posted 25/08/2008 at 01:53:17
I hope you are so much more embarrased than the rest of us. We really don’t need the complete and utter shite you professs.
Go for a lie down in a darkened room!
12 Posted 25/08/2008 at 03:53:06
13 Posted 25/08/2008 at 04:00:38
14 Posted 25/08/2008 at 15:24:24
nice to be talking about the football side of things again, great result 3 points were vital.roll on pompey!
15 Posted 26/08/2008 at 09:58:17
There is palpable excitement about Vaughan alongside an anxious fear that he may not achieve his vast potential (we?ve been there before haven?t we?). But let's admit it, his cameos have demonstrated to us that he could be sensational, frighteningly good, awesome. And its that scary, he engenders the same sort of nervy bubbles in the belly last experienced when that other young comet was letting loose for Everton and England. So sssshhhh, let's keep it quiet ...
16 Posted 26/08/2008 at 13:16:32
Have been flicking through the posts this lunchtime and was ready to close my link to Toffeeweb and come back after the January transfer window.
Wasn?t so much the doom and gloom (that is to be expected) but the vitriol being expressed between supposed Comrades on other posts is quite shameful.
But just before I gave up, an excellent Post (more of the same Please PW) and constructive, conversational Comments (save one rant in the darkness) from fellow Toffees.
We are all huddling in this Summer darkness but good to see the happy dash out to soak up those fews rays of sunshine that hit our collective (furrowed) brows at the weekend.
17 Posted 27/08/2008 at 13:25:05
Heis a much better striker than Anichebe for my money.
18 Posted 27/08/2008 at 19:01:51