After a good break away, I was delighted to be back and going the game again. After Gary finally decided to come along we were on the way. Ste?s girlfriend graciously gave us a lift and we were all hopeful, if not entirely confident, of beating Newcastle United today.
The Spellow was rather quiet as we supped a few ciders before moving on to the game nicely in time for kick off. Having just gotten tickets on the day we got Row PP 98 / 99, so right at the back of the Lower Gwladys.
We?d seen the team news from Ste?s phone in the pub and so knew Neville wasn?t playing, however I hadn?t thought about who might be captain. I was a bit surprised, though pretty chuffed to see Arteta was given the armband. The season before last when he was playing superb I was saying he should be captain then as he certainly doesn?t seem to mind the responsibility, so I was glad he?s now had that honour. Everton went 4-4-2 with Yobo again benched and Baines keeping his place at left back. Stephen Pienaar came in for his first start of the season with Fellaini and Osman in the middle. Saha and Yakubu got another chance together up front. Newcastle featured bad-boy Joey Barton and ex-red Michael Owen. Other players of note were Nicky Butt, Damian Duff and Geremi. Not a bad side I guess but certainly a ?past it? one.
We won the toss and so attacked towards the Park End in the first half. We started brightly and really could have (should have?) been two or three goals to the good in the first 10 minutes. Saha dragged a shot wide and should have done better?Yakubu, from a lovely acute ball from Pienaar, flicked the ball up nicely before volleying over and should have done better?Yakubu burst into the box from a Fellaini knock down and on the slide dragged the ball a good yard wide of the post and should have done better.
The breakthrough wasn?t far away however when Baines was played into the box by Pienaar. Nicky Butt slid in, missing the ball but catching Baines who went down and the referee had to give a penalty. Arteta strode directly to the penalty spot. Yakubu went and grabbed the ball but Arteta wasn?t gonna let him take it after his Portsmouth miss. ?Bottom left? I shouted as Arteta strolled up and slotted it nicely into the bottom right. Get in. 1-0! Relief!
Relief quickly turned to panic as Newcastle took the game to a very nervy Everton defence. Jagielka sliced horribly to N?Zogbia who drilled his shot across goal and wide when I had the feeling he was going to score. I had that feeling again a bit later when Owen got into the box from a Howard slap-down. Under heavy pressure from the American keeper Owen turned and played the ball back to Barton who slotted it goalwards first time. Howard saved, pushing the ball only to Geremi I think. He had to score but somehow contrived to whack the ball straight at Baines whom was back covering on the goal line. Christ we looked edgy.
Well we weathered this storm and managed to get things going again. Fellaini, as uninterested as he always seems to look, was playing the ball around intelligently and getting into the pace of it. I said to Gary ?I reckon we might score here and that?ll be game over?. About a minute later Baines put in a terrific ball with which Fellaini connected well, cracking the ball home off the underside of the bar. 2-0. I was right. We scored but I was also wrong. It certainly wasn?t game over.
We seemed to have everything under control. The referee indicated two minutes of stoppage time and we had the ball. All we had to do was keep it but we probed forward a bit. Baines lost the ball down the other end of the pitch and so tripped the player?good work. It keeps the ball down the other end. From this Newcastle got the ball forward and Baines was unnecessarily holding Geremi. Free kick to Newcastle and a chance to get the ball in the box. That they did but Everton cleared. Yakubu had it and recklessly, carelessly and stupidly gave the ball away. Geremi put in a great cross and there was Stephen Taylor to head it in off the bar. Oh fuck. You just knew what was going to happen next. Half time 2-1.
Not even a minute into the second half and Duff bangs it in. I?m not even too sure how it all happened but someone had so much space down the left side it was just a joke. Duff wasn?t picked up so someone (probably Arteta I think) didn?t stay with his runner and all of a sudden having led 2-0 on 45 minutes, it was 2-2 on 46 minutes. Everton - just how have you gotten into this mess?
The rest was dreadful. We just didn?t get going again and at one stage Newcastle were passing the ball around nicely. They had a great chance to score again also when Jagielka?s slip allowed substitute Shola Ameobi (I can?t believe he?s still there) to waltz into the box and slip in N?Zogbia who?s effort was blocked desperately by Baines. From a corner Saha tried to clear at his near post but sliced horrendously and very nearly into his own net. Sort it out Everton.
At the other end Osman smacked a good shot which Given saved nicely, tipping the ball round the post. Moyes changed it with Saha being withdrawn for Anichabe, and then later Vaughan replacing the worn out Peinaar. Arteta became more and more influential but you sensed it wouldn?t happen. Anichabe hit a terrific shot which went just past the post before someone (I think Barton) did a carbon copy of this down the other end.
I felt we should have had a clear penalty when Yakubu shot across goal and Anichabe was going to reach it and surely score. It seemed quite clear to me that Colccini impeded him and really it should have been a red card and a penalty but the referee didn?t think so. Speaking to my dad later on (who watched it on TV) however he tells me it was ?one of them. You?ve seen them given but it wasn?t that clear?. As we huffed and puffed at the end Lescott went close with a header and Fellaini nearly scored with a header from an Arteta cross but the ball went harmlessly wide and that was it.
Just how have we gotten ourselves into this mess?
Howard: He didn?t have that much to do really but I don?t think he could do much about either goal. 6
Baines: Well he set up a goal, and made two goal line clearances but I thought he was poor. Very weak defensively and gave away too many free kicks. 5
Lescott: Doesn?t look all there. I can?t believe he?s made the England squad when Jagielka hasn?t. 5
Jagielka: One slice and one slip aside (either of which could have been catastrophic) he was easily the pick of the defence and has probably been the best player so far this season. 7
Hibbert: I thought he had a shocker. 5
Pienaar: Clearly he?s not match fit but did work his nuts off. We could do with him being fully fit at the moment. 6
Osman: My man of the match. Used the ball intelligently and put in some fantastic crunching tackles, showing more fight certainly than anyone else in the midfield. 8
Fellaini: I thought he was getting there in the first half with his tidy passing and of course his goal but I felt he let us down in the second half. Completely anonymous and gave away far too many free kicks when we really needed to get the ball back. He deserved his yellow card. 5
Arteta: Had a strong finish to the game but the penalty aside he was rather quiet. Said that, he was always the most likely player to create something. His set piece deliveries were very poor. 6
Yakubu: Missed important early chances and seemed to mope about in the second half. Not the attitude we need at the moment. 5
Saha: Worked hard but like Pienaar, appears to be struggling for fitness at the moment. 6
Anichebe (for Saha): Showed good fresh impetus. Maybe he should have been introduced earlier. Unlucky with that shot. 7
Vaughan (for Pienaar): Put himself about. Like Anichebe, maybe he should have been introduced earlier. 6
Also, just an observation — why is Castillo being overlooked at the moment? I reckon he?d have been useful in the second half when the midfield was all at sea. I reckon Moyes has decided he doesn?t like him already. Just a hunch.
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1 Posted 07/10/2008 at 03:07:41
2 Posted 07/10/2008 at 03:16:39
Come in #2 - your time is up.
3 Posted 07/10/2008 at 08:42:19
And a question: Why isn?t Fernandes an Everton player now, after a good again speel towards the end of last season? I always liked this player, and I think he?s a major talent ? if nurtured well. Now he became match winner for Valencia at the weekend. Did he cost too much / Valencia wouldn?t let go of him? Or hadn?t Moyes still made up his mind? I grieve this decision at any rate ...
4 Posted 07/10/2008 at 10:15:32
How anyone can say that the MOTM was cráp is beyond me.
5 Posted 07/10/2008 at 12:40:32
6 Posted 07/10/2008 at 12:59:20
7 Posted 07/10/2008 at 12:54:29
To be fair Baines wasnt superb at defending but his help in the attack more than made up for it. He cleared two off the line and helped set both our goals up so what more can he do for people to give him credit for having a good game?
8 Posted 07/10/2008 at 20:40:43