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Match Report - I love evening games

By Paul Traill :  06/01/2011 :  Comments (7) :

I love evening games at Goodison. It doesn?t half break up the week and it certainly takes your mind off work? when you?re in work.

I got dropped off by the ground and it was straight to the Blue Dragon for a sausage, curry and chips.  The only problem was that the girl behind the counter filled my paper tray right to the brim with curry.  Trying to walk on then to The Brick was a struggle not to get splattered with curry sauce but it was only when I got to the pub did I realize the true horror of my curry ?saucing?.  All over me and my clean up operation in the toilet only made things worse.  I then proceeded to split my jeans pocket trying to stuff a can of Coke into it.  Things weren?t looking good.  It could have been worse mind.  Gary was just about fit enough to attend following a nasty bout of flu.

We got the team news in the pub and were a little surprised to see Moyes starting with both Saha and and Beckford in Cahill?s absence, whilst Heitinga was passed fit enough to start at the back.  I was interested to see how Van der Vaart and Bale were to perform in this expensively assembled team.  Lee Probert officiated.  We kicked off towards the Park End, the football-starved home crowd had the atmosphere rocking.

Everton began the game with a bit of a zest, very much on the front foot.  Our aggressive early approach proved fruitful when Saha let rip from around 25 yards with the ball whistling past the helpless (hapless?) Gomes.  The goal must have come to some relief for Saha being his first league one for almost a year.  This seemed to spur him into life for the game.

Likewise, the goal galvanized Spurs somewhat, who took no time at all in getting themselves back on level terms.  Van der Vaart was central to most things and it was he who got on the end of a Crouch flick to head the ball past Howard.  Quite why he then had to go and rub the supporters' noses in it with his celebration, gathering a few Lucozade bottle-missiles in doing so, I don?t know.

Prior to this, the Dutchman had come close with an audacious lob out of nothing and Crouch had also missed a decent opportunity.  Crouch also had the ball in the net but was rightly flagged for offside.  Saha will have been mighty relieved, I?ll wager, as he practically presented the opportunity on a plate for Tottenham.  The half continued in the same vein with both sides having a go though Spurs probably edged the half? Everton?s best opportunities were a Beckford header which went over the bar and a Fellaini drive that was smothered by Gomes.

Everton worked and worked with Saha central to most things at the top end.  A great goal-line block from Hutton prevented him from adding a second goal as he smashed a volley past Gomes. He was central to the second goal also, striking from distance as Everton broke, Gomes saving but only beating the ball down and towards Coleman.  The young Irishman stole a mark on the defender and planted his header downward and into the net. 2-1 to Everton with 15 minutes to play.

Spurs battered the ball forward for the most of this period but Everton stood firm, repelling everything Tottenham threw at them and using the ball with good composure when we did get it.  You thought Lee Probert was never going to blow his whistle at one point, but blow it he did to superb celebrations at Goodison Park.

The FA Cup 3rd Round and then the Anfield derby next? two massive games? two massive wins please.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Was not called upon as much as we probably expected but was there when needed. 7
  • Baines: One of his best games defensively I thought and linked in with the attacks well also. 8
  • Distin: A rock. Very aware. 8
  • Heitinga: Filled a few holes and clearly short of match fitness but did a job. Sloppy at times. 6
  • Neville: Was pumped up for this one and this probably rubbed off on his teammates. Kept Bale pretty quiet without. 7
  • Fellaini: Superlative. Marshaled the midfield exquisitely and got forward when he could also. My Man of the Match. 9
  • Arteta: Grew into the game in the second half and was back to his confident self by the end.  Let's hope he?s back to normal now. 7
  • Pienaar: A splendid effort from Pienaar who worked his nuts off for the cause.  Could have used the ball a little better at times but his work rate was phenomenal. 8
  • Coleman: I was calling for him to come off as I thought he was looking exhausted and then the bleeder only goes and scores the winner.  A brilliant shift from Coleman who just seems to get better and better. 8
  • Beckford: Not quite there at times but it certainly weren?t for lack of effort.  His work was good and his runs down the channels kept the defenders on their toes.  Still needs time. 6
  • Saha: A great performance by Saha.  One he and, more to the point, Everton have really missed for longer than I care to remember now.  Nicely taken goal also.  More of this now please, Louis. 8
  • Yakubu (for Beckford): Held the ball up well but Christ he could have worked a bit harder.  Quite why he didn?t pull the trigger in the last few minutes I?ll never know. 6
  • Osman (for Pienaar): Was lively and put himself about. 6
  • Rodwell (for Saha): Got himself involved. 6

Reader Comments

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Brian Keating
1   Posted 06/01/2011 at 08:09:55

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I would have given Fellaini a 10 myself :) . He was brilliant, seemed to be everywher for 90 minutes. Broke up Spurs attack, launched Everton attacks from defense and played as a 3rd centre forward when the ball was launched long.

What a player.
Dave Richman
2   Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:19:42

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Nice report Paul.

I just went apeshit after reading the Mail's 'match report' (in inverted commas because 90% of the article was about the melted faced one), and their completely unbiased Southern media player ratings have to be seen to be believed:

Fellaini 6!!!!! Distin 6!!!!!!

Poodle-Ekotto got a 7 though, despite spending most of the match wondering where the hell Coleman was, and of course, none of our players got an 8 - which is what they gave 'Star Man' Van Der Vaart.

I wonder if they actually watch the match?

Best comment of the whole evening for me came from Iain Dowie though, when he said that Palacios was not making an impact on the game..... erm..... he was on the bench Iain, and didn't even come on.

Finally some balls from DM and hey presto.

Trevor Lynes
3   Posted 06/01/2011 at 09:42:10

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Best TEAM game we have played all season and the entertainment value was also the best.

Difficult to pick a MotM as everyone played well to a degree but I thought all the defence played well and Saha was a constant thorn in Spurs side.

Pienaar gives his all in every game and I just hope he stays because he epitomises the word 'spirit'.

Arteta played his best game for some time and I hope his confidence returns fully so that we can again climb the table.

Both teams played adventurously and Saha really seemed to enjoy having a foil (Beckford) to share the donkey work...

I have to apologise for all the castigating comments in previous mails but I truly hope the REAL Everton stood up last night and will continue to play well.

Chris Fisher
4   Posted 06/01/2011 at 10:10:15

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I was impressed with Beckford actually, I thought he did really well. He does still need time but, if Moyes was to stick with this 4-4-2 and give him an extended run in the team, I really think the things he isn't getting quite right at the moment will come; the only way he will get used to the Premier League is by playing games!

Brilliant result, it was good to see us attacking!!!

Paul Gladwell
5   Posted 06/01/2011 at 10:38:03

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If Fellaini could get himself a run of games of 15-20 without injuries and stupid suspensions you would most likely see the best midfielder in the country.

I have said this for a long time, his first touch is top drawer and the amount of times he intercepted play I lost count, the only question mark was his workrate and last night he appeared to be everywhere.

Sadly it wont be too long before we see a hefty bid from someone for him, as he has the potential to be world class given how old he is.

Dave Toby
6   Posted 06/01/2011 at 12:30:35

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Thought Neville deserved an eight myself. Coleman a nine also. Other than that good report.
James Stewart
7   Posted 06/01/2011 at 23:12:54

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I thought Beckford was excellent also and the goal apart put in a much better performance than Saha.

His pace causes all kinds of problems and his touch was outstanding for the 2nd goal.

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