A woeful first half was thankfully rendered meaningless by an excellent strike from the misfiring Nigerian, who lashed a great shot into the roof of the net to rescue what was looking like a quite awful exhibition of Premier League football.
A very welcome sight on the subs bench: Jack Rodwell, recovered approximately 1 month earlier than expected. Mikel Arteta declared fit on the field, where the team effectively picked itself from those available. Stoke kicked off but the Blues looked to take control early, spoilt only by poor passes from Neville. Yakubu won another of his dangerous free-kicks on the turn, that Arteta fired horribly high and wide with Baines looking on jealously.
Stoke got behind Everton on their first attack but the cross wizzed in was well away from Jones and Pienaar won a kick out wide that Baines crossed in well to the danger area. A silly mix-up between Distin and Arteta let Jones have a poke but he screwed the chance well wide. Coleman chased a lost cause somewhat over-enthusiastically and Begovic collapsed in a heap after failing to hold the ball, all rather silly really, but the break in play further slowed the match's tempo.
Yakubu did get a run in but his shot was weak and poorly directed, straight at the keeper. At the other end, Everton's defending looked nervy but no Delap so no monster throws to freak them out even more... By 20 minutes, Stoke seemed to have put the stranglehold on the game, Arteta unable to do anything on what should have been a counter, eventually putting the ball out poorly ahead of Baines..Stoke were pressing high, denying Everton time and space on the ball, with too much sideways and backwards passing the result. Pienaar finally decided to shoot from distance but it too was weak and straight at Begovic.
Baines won the first corner on 25 mins, and he looped it high for Cahill but no power was possible. Arteta did get a great ball forward to Neville (of all people) free in the Stoke area, who was dazzled by the rare opportunity to press on goal and it was gone before he could do anything meaningful. Baines got in another cross but it was again high and looping with no power. Cahill tried a pop from distance that went hopelessly wide as the lack of guile and invention against a massed defence was becoming painful to watch.
On 34 mins, a couple of corners finally provided some pressure but came to nothing. Some dreadful defending from Everton nearly gave Stoke the lead off a rare corner. As the game tediously ground its way toward half-time, Coleman was getting some good chances to run but Shawcross had the measure of him every time. Stoke were wasting time as the break approached and the ref stopped the game to warn their players... but only added 2 mins! Perhaps it was a good thing. A poorer half of utterly toothless football from Everton could not be harder to imagine.
Arteta was clipped early in the scond half, but he drove the free-kick into the wall. Coleman did well to get inside and put a shot in at Begovic but the inventiveness was limited at best. Pienaar got dispossessed but Wilson's shot at the end of his little run was worse than anything from Everton's "strikers". Faye and Cahill clashed heads on a cross and the corner was spoilt by overly officious refereeing.
Stoke came very close to scoring, Shawcross slicing a golden opportunity wide of the Everton goal... Warning signs!
Finally a piece of combination play down the left, Pienaar, Baines, Arteta... whose shot was blocked out for a corner, but Probert again read the riot act again over the pushing and shoving, blowing again for Stoke as the ball was kicked in. Then a turning point in the match as Stoke won a free-kick that Tuncay bundled home with Baines failing to clear but incredibly Probert whistled for a foul, presumably on Baines. Nothing at all wrong with the goal, but Probert apparently evening things up for being somewhat persnickety over Everton's recent corners. Everton should then have scored at the other end when Heitinga again fired over and the match finally warmed up a tad when Heitinga was fouled by Wilson, whose name went in the book.
The Moyes Masterstroke on 62 mins was Saha on for Coleman, who had been struggling against Shawcross. 4-4-2? Not the way Yakubu was playing out wide along the touchline...
Baines was forced to stretch on Tuncay and gave away another threatening free-kick that Etherington struck well but just over the Everton bar. Jagielka did well to catch Tuncay after believing the Turk had been offside.
A speedy Everton break with Heitinga and Baines should have delivered a goal but hesitancy at key moments saw Stoke recover. But the next attack saw Cahill hit the post after a great run by Pienaar down the right, the ball spinning out wide to Yakubu, who stepped inside and clipped a beautiful shot from a tight angle into the roof of the net with his left foot, much to the combined pleasure and relief of the Goodison Park crowd.
Stoke, their stiffling gameplan in tatters, pushed up and successfully denied Everton the chance to turn things on, pressing them in most areas of the pitch. Etherington got wide and drove a dasngerous strike across goal with 10 nervy minutes left for the Blues. Cahill was dispossessed and gave away a silly free-kick trying to recover but thankfully the ex-Kopite Pennant blasted it high wide and handsome, much to the amusement of the Gwladys Street.
Still Stoke pressed, and still Everton gave the ball away needlessly when they did get possession, inviting yet more pressure. Bilyaletdinoov replaced goalscorer Yakubu with 5 mins left on the clock, but the game contiinued to take place 95% in Everton's half. Tuncay had a good poke from a long way out, just evading the top corner.
Everton rallied in the last few minutes, and pushed Stoke back into their own half, Pennant fouling Baines to set up one final flurry. Baines won a corner that Arteta played short and Bily came so close to scoring, completely off-balance with a very difficult ball, he smashed it just wide of the post.
And that was pretty much it. A vital win that was a long time coming against an obdurate Stoke side. Play badly and win. We can't complain too much, but this game could easily have gone the other way if Stoke's goal had been allowed to stand.
Michael Kenrick Posted 30/10/2010 at
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1 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:03:27
2 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:04:27
3 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:07:58
4 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:06:35
A great win but a lousy performance in my super-critical book. I make no apologies ? many parts of that so-called performance were shockingly bad. But the winning goal was what it all hinged on. Harps back to last week's discussion I was having with someone...
5 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:14:33
6 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:13:01
Goals change games, of course. But the point I was making, it's the overall performance that wins or loses games.
7 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:22:47
8 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:17:05
Clean sheet as well, it'll have to do for now.
9 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:29:25
On a positive note, great to see the Yak bang in a goal, think he's put in some great work in the last few games, and some of the hold-up and power play today was excellent again. Also another clean sheet and excellent display I thought from Distin, giving us one of the best defensive records in the league now.
10 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:32:17
Relieved to see we did, it certainly didn't look that way from reading this. An overall poor game, but the best team won it in the end.
11 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:34:14
P 5 W3 D2 L0 F6 A1(one!) Pts11
Next five games:
Blackpool(a) Bolton(h) Arsenal(h) Sunderland(a) and West Brom (h).
Another 11 or 13 points from those, and then we can start worrying about the overall quality of our displays.
12 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:35:58
Pienaar (Almost looks certain to go in Jan)
I certainly don't see Bily and Saha adding anymore value to this side.
13 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:44:28
14 Posted 30/10/2010 at 17:24:21
15 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:03:11
16 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:12:37
Over all many many positives let down by unnecessary negatives. Well on the road to be the team we were earlier this year.
4 points off CL!!!!!
17 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:20:57
Kunal ? inclined to agree about getting rid of Bily if there's offers and if it means we could get Donovan. Pienaar also likely to go. Saha ? maybe, but only if we could get a decent replacement as that would leave us short up front. Heitinga ? I'd be inclined to give a bit more time considering how good he was last season and would leave us seriously short of cover in central defence if we got rid.
18 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:35:49
By the way, a blatant penalty for a foul on Baines went west too...
19 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:45:11
Yeah maybe it wasn't Barcelona v Real Madrid but it never is against Stoke. Not only did they park the bus but they set out to spoil the flow of the game, timewaste and were ably abetted by a dysfunctional referee who got very little right.
Given the nature and intent of the opposition it was far from a 'pitiful display' ( I think some people are just born with negative genes.) It was the kind of 'dig-in' performance that many sides will have to resort to against Stoke and not all of them will win. We did and deservedly so.
Sometimes watching a game on a monitor can leave a false impression because you can't see everything that is going on, only what's happening around the ball.
Or am I being too charitable?
'Pitiful' my arse.
20 Posted 30/10/2010 at 18:52:01
Another good result, I don't know why people try to drag down our performance.
I think you are lacking respect if you cannot give Stoke credit, they defended well and played hard ball in the middle - we will not get harder games at GP this season.
Couple of points from my view: (1) Baines shrugged when watching Arteta take two dead ball kicks - after WHL he probably wants more digs at goal (2) Moyes was giving Coleman a right verbal bashing early second half then subbed him - personally I thought that Coleman look worried after the verbals - his play then went to pot.
Lastly, I agree with post 17 that the ref gave us most decisions, before and after our goal IMO, but that don't happen often - so lets bank the points and move on.
21 Posted 30/10/2010 at 19:12:25
I wonder what game some posters watched, because the referee was absolutely horrendous today. As I mentioned on another post, the spirit of Clattenberg lives on in Goodison.
3 points with not one Howard save to make... yet I come here and start wondering if we actually won.
22 Posted 30/10/2010 at 19:07:21
We played some good stuff, with Disten and the Yak having a great game. Jags has to be the best defender in Europe.
23 Posted 30/10/2010 at 19:36:38
I thought Distin had one of his best games today and we passed the ball around neatly, with most putting in a good shift bar Heitinga. The welcome Bily received when coming on was the most underwhelming I have ever heard at Goodison and sums up the verdict we have of him.
Well done Blues, you made my weekend better for it.
24 Posted 30/10/2010 at 20:01:58
25 Posted 30/10/2010 at 20:22:15
I don't see any postings from those who were saying Moyes should play two strikers. Sometimes I wish you negative-minded souls could manage the team for a season and see what happens. We would probably be relegated. And it would be very interesting to see how you would fare in the transfer market. And as for inspiring the players! You would suck! It always looks easier from the terraces.
26 Posted 30/10/2010 at 20:29:56
You began the day with this dark view I imagine and if we had scored 20, you would have been critical.
You edit a great site but I really admire your blind dog.
Absolute rubbish MK and your "lofty" position does not make your view anything else than crap.
Why? We did what many can't do.... play a hoofing team... try and pass well... and we won.
Credit to Moyes.
He can see.
27 Posted 30/10/2010 at 20:41:54
Should have stayed for the tapas & watched on telly but how do you explain to locals that this is worth watching?
28 Posted 30/10/2010 at 21:34:32
Are you suggesting it was a good performance?
To be honest I can't figure out what your objection is. MK called the game as he saw it... it may not be a fact but it's not far off.
29 Posted 30/10/2010 at 22:18:21
I did watch Man City and they are crap. We can finish above the Shite, Shity and Spurs.
By the way, the Echo had this to say about Heitinga "John Heitinga was enjoying a fine afternoon, neatly tidying up in defence and showing an impressive range of passing." Will be interesting to watch the game latter to form my own views.
30 Posted 30/10/2010 at 22:45:00
31 Posted 30/10/2010 at 23:22:01
32 Posted 30/10/2010 at 23:46:12
Stoke 1-0, excellent result;
Spurs (a) 1-1, good point away;
Liverpool (h) 2-0, brilliant!
Fulham (a) 0-0, not bad;
Birmingham (a) 2-0, great win.
Happy now? All I'd need tehn (for archival purposes) is someone with a decent feed/TV coverage who will commit to compiling a decent match summary and posting it asap after the game. Any volunteers?
33 Posted 31/10/2010 at 00:13:51
I've just watched the Chelsea v Blackburn game and Blackburn are on a par with Stoke, but just watch Drogba & Anelka's movement off the ball and contrast it with the Yak, they're always trying to find space. A really disappointing centre-forward performance in complete contrast in the derby.
34 Posted 31/10/2010 at 00:10:02
Stoke are a hard working decent team and 3 points from today should be well received. We look like an outfit that nobody is going to break easy. Nice run of games in November could leave us Top 4 for Christmas.
35 Posted 31/10/2010 at 00:52:03
I don't think it'd be appreciated.
36 Posted 31/10/2010 at 01:25:50
37 Posted 31/10/2010 at 01:54:37
You clearly expect the game to be played a certain way, and I hope to see that at times too. What I don't get is that you don't seem to realise just how difficult the Stokes and Boltons of this world make it to play football.
We qualified for the CL playing exactly the way Stoke play so it's fair to say it's effective. Sometimes it's good enough to get the points as long as we're trying to play the right way.
38 Posted 31/10/2010 at 02:17:50
39 Posted 31/10/2010 at 02:56:29
Arteta was very good day and Coleman and Pienaar both worked incredibly hard for the cause, while Yak took his goal brilliantly. I am sure our football will improve once we get a proper central midfielder back to partner Arteta in our engine room.
Re Bily - I have a funny feeling that he is going to come good towards the end of this season. His problem has always been his lack of speed of thought but there have been little signs recently that this is improving and, once he gets his confidence flowing he will become a very good player.
40 Posted 31/10/2010 at 04:54:49
Perhaps the moaners are predominantly those who don't go to watch Everton, those who believe that life somehow owes them a successful football team because they had one in 1970. And don't quote Chelsea, they have great individuals who alone cost as much as Everton's total net spending. They are Rolls Royce compared to our supertuned Morris Minor.
41 Posted 31/10/2010 at 06:27:42
42 Posted 31/10/2010 at 08:35:00
43 Posted 31/10/2010 at 08:27:19
44 Posted 31/10/2010 at 09:21:07
Lee Probert was trying to let the game flow, except when we won the ball, he missed the penalty Baines should have had and missed their defenders climbing all over Tim Cahill. As regards their disallowed goal, there was contact on Baines ?maybe he tried to even things up? Against that team of 'Meatheads', I'm happy with the outcome. Some games are like that!
45 Posted 31/10/2010 at 11:40:24
Second half a different story ? they should have scored, and we were lucky to be winning, though it was a great goal from the Yak.
You can tell what kind of side Stoke are though with that performance. Good manager and a good, well drilled team but lack quality. They were pressing so much at some point in the second half Everton did actually look scared.
But MK with the "woeful first half", thought that was a bit harsh myself. We'll see what Ken comes up with in his match summary.
46 Posted 31/10/2010 at 12:52:41
I read Ken's report, someone who never see's the game through blue tinted specs, he says things like
"The first half was turgid and from my seat a bit boring"
" Half time and not much to chat about"
"The first chance for the faithful to roar all afternoon"
"A game that can be described as ordinary"
"Final whistle greeted by a mainly subdued Goodison with respectful applause"
How is Michael's view on the game any different from Ken's, a man who gets a lot of respect on here for his unbiased match reports?
47 Posted 31/10/2010 at 13:27:39
The ref for a start was mindful of Tony Pulis and the rough deal they got against United. Shawcross did his usual early foul, then soon after hauled down Pienaar as he got free, yet no booking.
For all the ref's decisions, the classic one being the throw-in near the end, we rode the luck with their goal ruled out. I thought it was a push at first, seeing the TV later, it was slight and Baines was indecisive.
It was an off-day for us, Pienaar and Baines didn't gel as normal; Arteta faded in the second half, perhaps not fully fit; Coleman didn't get enough quick ball and suffered from slow build-up; Yakubu on the left served it's aim to drag Huth from the centre but Cahill didn't push on enough into the gap and neither did the midfield.
Heitinga as holding midfield is not the type to push on quickly and we ended up with a back 5 marking one player. Rodwell would've been ideal to lace his boots with a few 20 yard efforts on goal that were available on Saturday but instead a sideways pass seemed to be the option.
However, Stoke got what they deserved. With attacking players like Jones, Ethrington, Tunçay and Pennant, their negative tactics were a disgrace.
Good 3 points from an expected tough game in a league where a win against anyone has to be earned ? we just about did that this time.
48 Posted 31/10/2010 at 14:08:25
Attempts on traget Everton 10 Stoke 1
Attempts off target Everton 8 Stoke 8
Corners Everton 6 Stoke 2
8th place for us with barcodes 2-0 up as I type. Not bad if we can get a few that are carrying niggling injuries up to speed and help Yak and Saha push on.
Someone sometime soon is going to get well beaten by this Everton side ? let's hope it is next week againsty blackpool and we can take that boost onto Arsenal et al.
49 Posted 31/10/2010 at 15:44:35
50 Posted 31/10/2010 at 14:54:54
Och it's the way I tell 'em!!!
Peter Norris (#42)... "yard dogs"??? Not something I would write, mate.
Sean (#43) ? But I've seen what they can do; I believe they've been under-achieving ? Note: not over-achieving, like so many people claim. What should I feel when they do play really well? When this "squad put together for comparative peanuts" does really kick some team's arse? What guidance will you provide then?
51 Posted 31/10/2010 at 16:06:24
What would happen if everyone wrote in moderate tones? I'll tell ya... ToffeeWeb would collapse into the gooey compromised state of 'normal' society. Nooooooooo!!!
52 Posted 31/10/2010 at 18:06:48
53 Posted 31/10/2010 at 18:58:23
On another subject, why didn't Nani just roll the ball into the net while he had it in his hand?! Only at Old Trafford, eh!
54 Posted 31/10/2010 at 21:28:03
Or £150million cash.
He'd use that well too.
55 Posted 01/11/2010 at 11:09:44
What I'm struggling with is the 'disallowed goal'. Now even Tony Pulis stated that the contact was minimal, as have several on here - WTF, the fact there was contact at all means its a foul!!! Or am I missing something? Have the rules of football changed now? Is a small push in the back whilst the defender is trying to do his job OK now? Does it have to be a two handed push? With intent? Bollocks! I called it as a push from my seat in the Gwladys, and nothing I've seen changes my mind - Tuncay's arm is across Baines' back and causes him to go down = foul! Funny how the Yak 'foul' in the 1st half which lead to the ball in the net, and the Baines penalty claim are conveniently ignored by Mr Pulis and the authorities (e.g. BBC & Sky)
Finally, very pleased about the defence - 2nd best in the league now, and looking like it. Best yet to come I feel!
56 Posted 01/11/2010 at 22:40:16
Michael, the push on baines might have been dodgy, but the foul that led to the free kick should never have been given. maybe that was where it was evened up.
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