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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Match Report - Donovan's Day

By Paul Traill :  07/03/2010 :  Comments (2) :

2pm was the pub meet-up time and I got a bit of luck on the bus with the driver letting me on for free as the ticket machine was goosed. In the pub we watched Reading first go 2-0 ahead before capitulating pathetically in the second half to hand Aston Villa a semi-final with Chelsea. Spurs or Fulham face Portsmouth which really does hit home what a wasted opportunity its been for us in the FA Cup this season, particularly given our cup exploits last year.

Just before kick off I was tempted with a bet and so put a few quid on Everton to win 3-0 / Arteta first goal. These things never come off for me so I don’t know why I persist but you never know eh!

I also got the team news in the bookies and saw Jags was starting in defense with Distin, Heitinga holding in midfield and Anichebe starting wide right. Barmby, Kilbane and Bullard all featured for Hull City. The referee was Le Mason. We attacked the Park End in the first half.

I also got the team news in the bookies and saw Jags was starting in defense with Distan, Heitinga holding in midfield and Anichebe starting wide right. Barmby, Kilbane and Bullard all featured for Hull City. The referee was Lee Mason. We attacked the Park End in the first half.

Hull started brightly albeit with no end product and it was Everton who got the first real site of goal in this one with Yakubu stroking the ball onto the post when through on goal…this was a sign of things to come in the game from the Yak!

This opportunity seemed to stir Everton on a bit and the pressure told in the 17th minute when Yakubu pulled out wide to the left and put in a super ball which Arteta followed, got on the end of and finished with his side-foot past Welsh-stopped Boaz Myhill. Thus far, my bet was on. Arteta celebrated with the ‘rocking the baby’ motion.

Hull are basically crap so whilst you don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch, we were already quite confident it was more a case of ‘how many?’ in this one so Gary and I began to calculate the possible permutations of how Everton would best go about now obtaining a 3-0 win in this one with the first goalscorer now sorted. I felt the ‘killer-second-goal-just-before-half-time’ would do the trick, though Gary felt we’d be better going in 1-0 at the break. When we won a penalty then for an apparent foul by Myhill on Yakubu I didn’t know what to think though when Yakubu stepped forward to take it somehow nobody seemed overly optimistic he’d tuck it away. As expected he didn’t, though the bet was off for definite minutes later when Tom Cairney finished fantastically on the half volley past Howard to put Hull level. For God Sake!

Nobody seemed overly concerned and you felt we’d score again anyhow…and sure enough the pendulum swung or way next when a great ball by Osman put Anichebe away down the right hand side. He got the ball into the box towards Pienaar who backheeled first time into Arteta in space. He (also first time) finished calmly stroking the ball into the corner to put Everton back in front. Osman pulled up in the build up to this goal just after releasing the ball to Anichebe and was replaced by Rodwell shortly afterwards.

That was more or less it for the first half.

You felt the next goal was perhaps important in dictating how the rest of the game would pan out so it was a relief that Hull scored it…for us. Only five minutes into the second half Arteta floated a ball over into the box from the byline. As he did so he seemed to grimace in regret as the ball was a rather useless one, well too close to the keeper. Well, somehow the keeper left it / missed it. It shouldn’t have mattered mind as Hull had players covering yet Richard Garcia somehow contrived to head the ball into his own net from his goal-line. I could watch that over and over again and still not know how he did it. Regardless, that kinda settled the game.

Phil Brown rung the changes for Hull though to no effect. In fairness to the East Yorkshire-men they did look partially dangerous at times when they attacked though were generally at arms length which only gave Everton more opportunities to respond on the counter-attack – Yakubu setting up Anichebe to slot home, but the flag already up for offside earlier in the move, presumably against Yakubu.

With probably about 20 minutes to go Donavon replaced Anichebe for what will probably be his Goodison Park farewell. The American certainly signed off in style, firstly setting up Yakubu for what should have been a comfortable goal that he ballooned high over the crossbar; secondly by smashing home nicely to put Everton 4-1 to the good from a deep Leighton Baines cross, and finally setting up Jack Rodwell to put further gloss on the scoreline with a nice pass which our young star finished well to completely wrap the game up. Rodwell literally picked up Donavon both times in a tribute to him as they celebrated.

I guess that must be it for Landon’s stay here unless something changes in the next few days. Whilst I’ve been skeptical at times its difficult to suggest he hasn’t impacted more than anyone felt he would have done. Two goals, plenty of assists and general hard work in 11 games and a sub experience has certainly been a decent contribution. I just hope Anichebe, Gosling or Bilyaletdinov are able to fill the void in his absence. We’ll just have to wait and see.

PS: Hull are terrible. I truly can’t see how they won’t go down.

Player Ratings:
Howard; Not a lot to do and pretty helpless with the goal. 6
Baines: Very good, particularly going forward. Seems to be thriving on confidence following his England cap. 8
Jagielka: Great to see solid Jags back to business. 7
Distin: Fine. 7
Neville: Fine. 7
Heitinga: Had a great game. His adaptability could be vital to us. 8
Arteta: Mine, and probably everyone’s man of the match. Great to see him back to his old self, two goals, one assist and covering a lot of ground. Hopefully he’ll just get better and better as the season wears out. 9
Osman: Was doing very well until forced off injured. Hopefully its not too serious. 7
Pienaar: Caused them problems all day with his work and flair. 7
Anichebe: Coped better than at Spurs but still looking a bit raw. Will probs be next season before we see Vic back to his norm. 6
Yakubu: Missed some woeful sitters but his all round work was pretty good. Take him and Saha off penalties though eh as they’re both becoming liabilities with these. Fortunately it hasn’t mattered the last two times though surely it’ll cost us sooner or later. 6

Subs:
Rodwell (for Osman): Slotted in nicely and got on the scoresheet. 6
Donavon (for Anichebe): What an impact. I think he had a point to prove after his Spurs. Will be missed for sure. Well done mate. 8
Gosling (for Pienaar): Did well in the short time he had on the field. Notable that he chose he ahead of Bilyaletdinov to come into this game. 6

Reader Comments

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Sam Higgins
1   Posted 08/03/2010 at 08:24:35

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Paul I’d just like to say how much I love reading your post-match columns.

You don't just give a glib journo account of what happened in the 90 mins but an all round account of your day — and it makes fine reading!!

Cheers mate!
Kevin Gillen
2   Posted 09/03/2010 at 05:45:27

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I love your reports Paul, can we have more about the journey to and from the match and the quality of the pies etc. You seem to read the game the same way as I do so I’m not interested in your views on the football! Seriously though keep up the good work.

I work in Hull so it was so pleasing to see all the Hull City fans cowering in their offices on Monday morning. You’re right, they are crap and I can’t see them staying up after that shallacking. Personally I thought the game was an obituary for Phil Brown, Nick Barmby, Zinedine Kilbane, Garcia and Boateng.

They might pick up some points at home as they’ve got some good home fixtures and are a better team with Hunt, Dawson, Geovanni, Olofinjana, Gardener, Hesselink and Altidore (I think Brown had given up on this fixture). They rely terribly on scoring from set pieces and they don’t play enough football but they need a radical restructuring - they have a bigger wage bill than us I think!!

Great play from the Blues particularly down the left. The Yak’s movement was superb, on a different day he would have scored three. Anichebe looked on the way back too.

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