COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL
The pub was fun too. Both the late and early kick off seems to throw the pub-goers schedule well out of whack and it isn?t quite as busy as usual. This was the case also and bar service was quick and efficient. I also caught up with a mate from work? things were looking up.
We heard the team news as we headed on to the game and it was a relief that Cahill was starting. Two changes from the draw with Birmingham City 10 days or so ago. Arteta out obviously with Coleman taking up position on the flank, Cahill replacing Beckford in attack and Neville coming in for Heitinga in midfield.
The teams switched ends and so we attacked the Gwladys Street in the first half. Prior to kick off we impeccably observed a minute?s silence in support of those whom perished in the recent tsunami disaster in Japan. All very sad.
Everton probed a little more than Fulham in the opening exchanges though the visitors appeared reasonably comfortable. The game certainly had that end of season feel to it with both teams not quite in top gear. The closest we came during this period was probably when Saha headed goalward only for Salcido to clear off the line.
With the match seemingly going nowhere and having already had a couple of beers in the pub, we had a taste for it and so headed downstairs for an early beer. They must have ran out of regular sized plastic pint cups as all the beers where served in gigantic cups. They were so big it made the people look small as Gary remarked.
Anyway, it was during this period that Everton only went and scored. Fantastic play by Osman, jinking into the box and putting a cracking ball across for Coleman. Seamus kept his eye on it and planted his header firmly into the corner of the net. 1-0, and probably just about deserved at the interval.
If the first half was sluggish then the second was one to enjoy with both teams really going for a bit more. We doubled our money early when Saha slammed home a free kick ? right footed ? following a superb forceful run by young Jack Rodwell.
You felt that was game over but this wasn?t quite the case as Everton stalled whilst Fulham rallied ? Demspey rifling home from the edge of the box to put the Cottages back in it at 2-1. Zamora and AJ were quite the handful but Jagielka, Distin and Howard were generally in control of everything thrown at them as Everton edged to victory?though Zaomora?s finger counting of the time Howard had the ball was a trifle unnecessary.
In the end, we actually could have won the game more handsomely when Jagielka headed at goal from a corner needlessly conceded by Schwarzer, though took the points regardless, moving us up to 8th in the table and remarkably (given the sluggish season we?ve had) now just two points off 6th? all to play for as we head into the home straight.
We congregated for a quick pint after the game before I headed into town for a decent night with some old friends. A good day. A good night. A good performance and another home game next? and fingers crossed, another three points.
Player Ratings:Howard: Good. Was behind most things thrown at him and distributed well enough. 7
Baines: Typically consistent. 7
Jagielka: Very solid. Especially late in the game when he was needed. 8
Distin: Did enough. 7
Hibbert: Solid. 7
Neville: Held well. Seems to prefer the middle over right back. I?d have him in there over Heitinga any day. 7
Osman: My man of the match. He?s taken on the responsibility as our most creating outlet pretty well and had a big hand in the first goal. Needs to keep up to that level of consistency for the rest of the season. 8
Coleman: Toiled well as always and got his rewards with a well taken goal. Like Osman, it?s imperative he keeps this up for the remainder of the campaign. Has had an excellent season. 8
Rodwell: Drives well at times ? as with the second goal ? but is hopelessly anonymous at times also. If he?s still with us he has a massive year of development next term me thinks. 6
Cahill: Good nuisance value, though only lasted 70 minutes as he regains fitness. Could have a decent impact on the remainder of the season yet. 6
Saha: Took his goal very well and was looking at an all round good performance until? getting injured. An ankle problem apparently. That?ll be him out for a few games at least. Typical Saha really. 6
Heitinga (for Cahill): Strange swap. Did his job OK I suppose. Probably suits everyone if he moves on in the summer. 6
Bilyaletdinov (for Rodwell): Didn?t really offer anything. Like with Heitinga, probably wouldn?t be the worst thing in the world for everyone if he was shipped off come summertime. 6
Beckford (for Saha): Not on long. Difficult to judge, though definitely worth persevering with for another term.
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1 Posted 20/03/2011 at 18:33:08
Still, he doesn't declare his "love" for the club at every available press opportunity or attempt career-ending two-footed tackles so he must be shit. Best move him on...
2 Posted 20/03/2011 at 19:36:23
I too put that down to people being on the ale all day before coming to the match in a relaxed mood.
3 Posted 20/03/2011 at 20:19:33
You're right, he doesn't attempt career-ending two-footed tackles. He just SHITS out of tackles each and every week. Leading to goals.
He's the biggest phoney hard man since Gravesen. Except without half the skill.
Phil Neville pisses all over John Heitinga.
4 Posted 20/03/2011 at 22:21:32
There's next Sundays 'News of the World' headline right there. I've always thought there was something shifty about our squeaky clean skipper, but I'm still slightly surprised to discover he's a sexually deviant giver of golden showers. At least now we know how Heitinga became so practised in the art of 'fist pumping'.
5 Posted 20/03/2011 at 22:50:26
Poor forms lady and gents. 5th place is certainly in play.
Good writing. You always add the "You are there" touch.
6 Posted 21/03/2011 at 03:24:20
Looka around ya...
This is Match Thread Number FIVE.
For what was in truth a pretty tame match...
We'z all tuckered out.
Try to get yerself involved a bit earlier next time.
7 Posted 21/03/2011 at 06:00:11
Also very pleased to see Seamus getting an 8, I`ve been critical of him recently, but he was terrififc, apparently he told Moyes he was having none of this "needs a rest" lark, so he`s definitely not someone who`s happy to just take the money.
If the rest of them stand up to be counted between now and the end of the season, I see my 55 points target as being well achievable.
8 Posted 21/03/2011 at 06:49:23
I think it's fair to say the form of Leon Osman will most likely be the determining factor in where we finish this season.
9 Posted 21/03/2011 at 09:04:58
Well done all concerned, why it happens when we lose our best players every time baffles me.
10 Posted 21/03/2011 at 09:34:42
But that's why it irks me that when everyone's fit and expectation is high ? see start of this season ? we underperform.
11 Posted 21/03/2011 at 09:55:14
Imo Moyes is really motivated by being the underdog and proving people wrong.
He is not comfortable being recognized as the favourite, a top level coach etc as that doesn't sit well with him.
You only have to see our performances in Europe when we have been expected to win, the constant cup humiliations or the soundbytes he makes about not feeling secure in his job, his casting of himself as a young manager etc (he is not after 9 straight years in the big league with a top side) to see that's the reason why ? with everyone fit and Everton being talked up almost universally by fans and pundits alike ? we flop big-time.
12 Posted 21/03/2011 at 10:05:11
13 Posted 21/03/2011 at 11:45:18
I don't believe that we have the resources at the moment to mount a sustained challenge on the top 4 but, if we ever did, then I would worry if Moyes has the mentality to take us to the next level. I would love him to prove me wrong.
14 Posted 21/03/2011 at 12:44:45
There was a point when I wanted Moyes to be the man to take us forward. At one point, I felt he had the potential to build something significant at Everton. That's what's the most disappointing thing for me, I felt he could do IT!!! Now I know he can't.
I feel he's his own worst enemy and has lost the plot. I think for the past year or two he's been going through the motions and the players have responded in kind.
15 Posted 21/03/2011 at 13:16:51
16 Posted 21/03/2011 at 13:11:30
I'm not sure i can agree that he has been going through the motions. I get the impression that he cares as much and works as hard as ever... but I do worry, like you, as to if he is capable of taking us much further.
The hordes on here calling for his head often do so with a vitriolic lack of respect for what he had done for us but I'm not against a change necessarily.
The problem for me is would we lose stability (and possibly our cherished Premier League status) if we risked a change? Maybe it's worth it just to inject some fresh impetus. Only time will tell, I guess... Though I can't see him being asked to leave while Kenwright still holds the reigns.
17 Posted 21/03/2011 at 15:46:07
I think if he want's it he's got a job for life, or until someone prise's the deeds from Bill's cold dead grasp.
The thing is Moyes's seemingly low opinion of himself compared to the majority of the footballing world means he doesn't realise how much pressure he could put on for funds etc. He still retains the support of the majority IMO and with him we will always do at least okay. I want more than okay so I'm hoping for a change.
Bill would have to appoint a seriously shite manager for this side to get relegated!
18 Posted 22/03/2011 at 00:04:57
19 Posted 22/03/2011 at 10:11:07
Every now and then, a chant would go up but I came with a freind who supports Blackpool and he was shocked, he said, "I thought Goodison was supposed to be a great ground to come for the atmosphere but it's like a graveyard!" I suppose we haven't got much to cheer about! Deserved the win overall though!
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