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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From My Seat: Hull City (H)

By Ken Buckley :  07/03/2010 :  Comments (14) :

The Everton we love turned up today and gained a 5-1 win against a team that from the start looked poor and by the end the Blues had made them look woeful. Three points that guaranteed safety and Sky money now allows the Blues to push on and aim for as high a position as possible. If we can play consistently in today’s vein who knows what we might achieve.

The game didn’t start as it was to end up and for a while the observer could have been forgiven for expecting no more than an end of season affair such was the sloppiness from both sides, in fact the game could have taken a different course early on when a long ball straight up the middle found us wanting and Garcia controlled well and was through and but for Howard charging out and jumping and flapping like a demented duck blocking the shot that could have seen us behind. This episode woke us a little and there were then passages of play that could have seen us three up but for poor finishing.

First Arteta tried a through pass toward Yak that was easily stopped by the returning Kilbane but he only returned straight back to Arteta who sliced horribly wide. Then moments later Arteta again fired wide when well placed, third time lucky I mused and so it came about after first Zaki whose shape seemed to resemble ‘Spongebob’ scuffed harmlessly when put in and The Yak after a superb through ball from Osman contrived to hit a post with the goal at his mercy. 17 mins on the clock and it was indeed third time lucky for Arteta who ghosted into the box to get on the end of a good deep cross from Yak and hit his shot into the ground and up and over the keeper 1-0 and a baby carrying celebration from the scorer.

We then had a great chance to go two up when the Yak was put through only to be felled from behind, penalty signalled Mr Mason the ref. and we were treated to a an argument between Arteta and Yak as to who should take, reminiscent of the ball tugging between this pair from some time back. The Yak won the argument and proceeded to take possibly the worst penalty seen at Goodison. A stuttering run that fooled no one especially the keeper and a shot of such slow pace that you could have thrown a cap over it. The groans were deafening as the keeper pushed it away. 2-0 then and you sensed a rout but this is Everton and within a few minutes Hull were level when a free kick taken by the ‘Judas’ as the crowd had it was headed clear but with little distance by Jags and was pounced upon by Cairney who chested down and smashed a left foot rocket wide of Howard and into the corner of the net which after the celebration caused the small number of travelling fans to chant ‘Cairney for England’ It was to be the last time we heard much from them.

Five minutes before the break we restored the lead from an excellent move that saw Big Vic who had looked lumbering and ungainly for much of the half move onto a ball and make progress down the right before finding Pienaar with a lovely pull back pass, Pienaar back-heeled into the path of Arteta who majestically passed the ball into the corner of the net for his and our second. I think the cheers and celebration were as much in relief as for the quality of the goal. Just one minute before the break Osman was replaced by Rodwell after pulling up in his own half some minutes earlier, the timing of the sub suggested his condition could not be left even for the one minute to the break I hope it’s not too serious as he had offered a lot in that first half

Half-time and the chat seemed exclusively on the pantomime penalty taking of Yak and to a man it was resolved that he should take no more.

Hull were out well before the Blues as if ready to make a fight of it but nothing could have prepared them or us for the performance from the Blues in the second period. From first whistle we were playing with control and panache that did justice to the term ‘joined up football’ The lambs of Lisbon were to become the lions of Goodison as we gave Hull a real and embarrassing chasing.

Pienaar headed for goal but was brought down near the edge of the box, Arteta stepped up but hit the wall, The Yak broke away from his marker well and headed for the by-line and crossed well for a simple tap in for Big Vic only to be ruled offside by a ridiculous late flag, then Rodwell had a shot deflected against a post.
Then just some 5 or so minutes in we struck the third, the Baines Pienaar Arteta axis saw Arteta trick his way to the by-line and stand one deliciously over the keeper only for a hapless defender to nod in, no-one cared Arteta got all the praise and we were on our way.

The football now was a treat to watch as pass after pass found its mark, tricks stepovers and back heels abounded leaving the opposition to chase shadows. Pienaar found Rodwell in the box but his shot was deflected wide. Then centre back Distin broke forward all the way into the box but put his shot straight at the keeper. The crowd yelled ‘shoot’ whenever Neville was near the box and even comically when he was heading toward his own goal such was the carnival atmosphere inside the ‘old lady’

The Yak was getting more and more frustrated with his lack of reward in the box and was guilty of being greedy when a pass was the better option none more than his soft daisy cutter when the excellent Heitinga had made many yards and a simple pass would have been of more benefit to the team. Jonny wasn’t shy in berating the Yak. The Yak’s angst was complete when Donovan on for Big Vic put his final ball on a plate for Yak on the 6yd line only for him to balloon over. Donovan on for his final? home game sealed it perfectly when a Baines cross eluded defenders in the box and he came in at the angle and rifled a rocket across the keeper and into the corner,(he only misses sitters it seems) celebrations all around and non celebrated more than his compatriot Tim Howard.

Just a few minutes remained when we found out that the scoreboard does have a number five on it when the marauding Heitinga found Donovan wide, he looked up and pulled it back accurately for Rodwell to finish with aplomb. The ground bounced with delight and the Hull players were by now the embodiment of dejection and the final whistle was music to their ears. Much celebration on the pitch and in the stands the roaming Sky cameraman made a beeline for Arteta so it was obvious who was their man of the match. Phil Neville directed Donovan toward the street end to wave his thanks and receive his plaudits and the ground rose to him he continued now to go to all four sides of the ground and it was comical to see the cameraman leave Arteta and set off to catch up with Donovan.

Overall a very good performance to put behind the disappointments of Lisbon and London that leaves the question can we be consistent for the remainder of the season and produce this level of performance against stronger opposition and different styles of play?

MotM? Arteta but I thought the non-stop Heitinga ran him close and deserves his own chant, also it has to be said all who took to the field in Blue played well. Although the Yak was fed but failed to score, I thought it was generally his best game since returning from injury and perhaps a scruffy goal is what is needed to get him onto one of his scoring streaks. I liked the ref today as he let the game flow in an unfussy manner and only issued one yellow late on to a Hull player. He wasn’t kidded by players going to ground easily from either side and I thought the game benefitted from his display

Brum away next and I reckon we owe them one so let's hope we can take home form away.

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Adam Fenlon
1   Posted 08/03/2010 at 01:56:32

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Great report Ken - am surprised that anyone bothers noticing the "points that guaranteed safety" anymore though!
Top play by the lads!
Ciarán McGlone
2   Posted 08/03/2010 at 06:34:06

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I won’t be getting too carried away about yesterday’s game... A great win, but let's be honest, they were exceptionally poor.

But a wholeheartedly impressive display from our little spaniard in the middle... Great to see him back and in fine form..

Good game from Heitinga as well... but I’m getting concerned that after having excelled at centre half, that Moyes is moving him into midfield... He would be a superb centre half partner for Jags... and could really help improve his offensive game.

Liam Reilly
3   Posted 08/03/2010 at 08:11:34

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Mickey was MOM for me too, but I totally agree with Ken that Hettinga deserves a special mention.

Non stop effort rom the big man, where even in time added on he’s grabbing the ball off the Hull players to try to get goal number 6. Top man. Legend in the making.
Keith Glazzard
4   Posted 08/03/2010 at 09:43:18

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My thoughts about a Johnny & Jags combination were much the same as Ciarán’s, but what yesterday’s display did show was that his move forward could be a successful one.

Arteta definitely benefited, and Distin had a good game alongside The Jag - once they started playing, that is. Let’s be grateful that Big Tim’s "demented duck" impression was so effective.

And another positive was the sight of Rodwell so far forward so often.

Birmingham will be a different proposition next week, but this will almost certainly be the formation that Moyes will field, and in the absence of Fellaini, Heitinga looks the best man to play that role.

I was pleased that Donovan got his run-out, and even more pleased with his contribution.
Stuart O'Malley
5   Posted 08/03/2010 at 10:53:04

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I can see were you are coming from Ciaran, but I dont think there is any danger of Heitinga staying in that box to box midfield role as soon as the Big Man gets back. I would like to think that Moyes knows the Jags/Jonny pairing at the back is the best long term situation, and I also think that Distin is a good back up for either of them and also back up for Baines at left back.

It is really good to see that we now have a squad where when we lose a player of Felli’s importance, that we have a player of Johnny’s ability to slot right in. I can't think of anyone else at the club who could do as good a job as either of them in that position.

I would like to hear from posters on here who they think is the best choice for covering Fellaini’s position for the rest of the season? For as I said I think when he is fit, it is nailed on for our Felli and when he is not, tough as nails Johnny can more than fill in.

ps: His passing ability is immense!

Ciarán McGlone
6   Posted 08/03/2010 at 11:22:04

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It’s certainly a welcome indicator of our growing squad depth...

A welcome head scratcher for once...
Mike Green
7   Posted 08/03/2010 at 13:44:57

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I said to Our Kid before the game we’d batter Hull after the disappointment of Sp*rs and batter them we did.

When we missed the penatly I shrugged my shoulders, when they equalised I rose my eyebrows but not much more. It was clear we were going to win this one and if Yak had had his scoring boots on it could conceievably have been 10.

Hull were abject but we still went out and proved what a good side we’re becoming - seeing Jags and Mikel back in the fold is fantastic, Baines was great I thought and JH, its all be said already - awesome.

Away form is what its all about now - sort that out and we could still make top 6.
Tom Martin
8   Posted 08/03/2010 at 14:08:44

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Just like to give a mention to Baines too. After playing the full match on that awful pitch in midweek I thought he made a great contribution yesterday, always available and getting forward at every opportunity.
Dennis Stevens
9   Posted 08/03/2010 at 15:24:24

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As ever, thanks for an excellent match report, Ken.
We seem to be building a squad where Moyes could have some real headaches once everybody’s fit - just as it should be!
Pat Finegan
10   Posted 08/03/2010 at 16:24:31

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I think our squad will look much like this for the rest of the season. Heitinga should fill in nicely in the Fellaini position.
David Hallwood
11   Posted 08/03/2010 at 17:44:12

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Good report as ever Ken; two clichés one for Ciarán, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, and for the Yak, you gotta be there to miss. But a word on Donovan, I think he’s such an intelligent player and rarely picks the wrong option, even though he was given the freedom of the park by Hull’s generous left side he certainly made the most of it.
Mike Elbey
12   Posted 08/03/2010 at 20:15:07

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Must admit I was adamant that we should give Johnny and Jafs as much time together as possible in readiness for next season. However, Heitinga was immense yesterday even allowing for the dire opposition. And also Distin looks far better with Jags next to him ...

I certainly have changed my mind insofar as I would be quite happy to see Johnny retain the holding midfield role until Felli is fit. Our bigger problem is who can offer anywhere near the contribution to our right hand side that Jason has offered once he returns to LA (assuming he does).
Spragg Johnson
13   Posted 09/03/2010 at 03:45:17

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Heitinga gets better and better ... Saha has scored the goals - but Johnny Johnny Johnny H is defo player of the season so far. With Jags and Mikky back ... we can aim for 6th or better ... Villa and Citeh look the only really tough games left. COYB.
Peter Roberts
14   Posted 09/03/2010 at 06:59:41

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I’m going to be honest, I thought Heitinga was a questionable buy in the summer. I thought defensively he was a bit naive at times and not that great going forward. For me he was more a Moyes-type signing for his versatility - the Dutch Phil Neville if you will.

However, I am glad to have been proven wrong. Arguably the signing of the season and considering we let Lescott go for £22m and he’s been utter cack since, to have the replacement come in for £6m and perform as well as he has done is an absolute masterstroke.

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