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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Man City (H)

By Ken Buckley :  07/05/2011 :  Comments (19) :

Blues kick sand in Arab faces

Penultimate home game of the season... at half time, you would be hard pressed to hear a good word about anything to do with Everton; yet, come the full time whistle, it was all ?Happy Days? as we celebrated amongst ourselves and berrated anything and everything to do with Arab gold and Joleon Lescott.

How nice it is to do the double yet again over the Fur Coats but No Knickers brigade of the EPL. Yet, by half-time, we could have been 4-0 down rather than just the one ? such had been our lack-lustre approach. City, in David Silva, had a player that would grace any team and he even drew applause from the Goodison faithful for one sublime piece of control when he brought the ball under instant control that was dropping from a height that usually attracts icicles and a stinging shot that whistled narrowly wide.

The Blues did have the first chance though when Baines and Osman did a training ground routine from a free kick. Unfortunately, Osman lifted it very high and wide. Silva was now causing all sorts of problems as City took control of the half and he found Vieira with a controlled lay-off from a Milner cross but the ex-Gunner missed a sitter and volleyed over. Then Milner got in the area again and elected to pass rather than shoot which allowed us to get back and scramble clear.

We did manage to force three corners on the trot but each one was thwarted by the big City defence. Big Vic burst into life by barging Lescott and bringing cheers from the faithful but we needed a little more craft than that. We attacked when we could but mainly to chase hoof-balls from either Jags or Howard whilst keeping a high line.

This high line was to be our downfall on the 30-min mark when City broke quickly and that man Silva raced forward and seemed to get a lucky rebound off the exposed Distin and played in Toure Ya-Ya who powered toward goal and clipped the ball over and past Howard to put us one-nil down. It wasn?t really unexpected but still disappointing as all we had to cheer was the occasional Anichebe tousle with Lescott rather than a shot on goal.

We almost had one on target when a Neville cross was met by Rodwell who got everything wrong and missed with his header. Dzeko brought a save from Howard before the break; considering how much City paid for the striker, he was less than inspiring.

Half-time came and the chat was of how poor we were and what a poor team the manager had picked to start. Ever optimistic, I informed all those gathered that we always beat the Sheiks 2-1... tongue in cheek but I wish I could have got a bet on it!

Second half and the manager had a rethink after what he had witnessed first half. Just one change but a positive one, with Hibbert leaving and Beckford arriving. Neville went to right back and Heitinga took on the holding role by himself leaving Arteta, Rodwell and Osman in midfield and Vic and Becks up top. A formation that looked 4-1-3-2. As far as both flanks were concerned it was whoever could get there. Perm any two from five plus Baines and Neville.

From the off, we looked better and certainly more up for it. City were still about though and Dzeko had another go and again straight at Howard. Then Silva threaded Toure Ya-Ya in clear on goal, breath was held, he side-footed over the bar. Nice one, Ya-Ya.

Baines struck a fierce free kick but Beckford was in the way, he seems to get in the way a lot... the ball rolled to Rodwell who struck but a City defender got a good foot in and the chance was gone. City broke quickly and the combo of Silva and Ya-Ya saw Howard make an important save with his legs to keep the score at just the single goal. City pressed again and won a free kick that Kolarov took and found Dzeko who headed wide.

Then what I thought was a turning point took place when Rodwell went in hard on De Jong, Kompany decided to get involved and Jack squared up to him, they were both booked and from then till the end the Blues were that bit more determined with players going that extra mile to compete. Victor was getting a good response for his efforts if not his class and Beckford was putting in a better shift than of late.

Just after the hour mark, Cahill replaced Rodwell and after just a couple of minutes we were level. Arteta took a free kick, Cahill went into the box and was immediately marked by two but the ball by-passed him and found the head of Distin who planted the ball into the bottom corner with Hart sprawling behind it. Howard would have saved that. Cue wild cheers and a chorus of "Lescott, Lescott ? what?s the score?"

We were right up for it now and City had to endure the ?Bear Pit? atmosphere that demanded a winner. With the spectre of Big Dunc watching on, we just could not let him down... and so, on the 70-min mark, Neville made his way with purpose down the right flank, looked up twice then delivered a curler that saw Osman rise like a salmon across Kompany and power a header that Cahill would have died for into the far top corner, leaving England?s number 1 nowhere.

Now the Lescott taunt really rang out. Beckford had a further couple of chances that came to nothing and City had a succession of corners that we invited by going a little deep and caused a flurry of desperation but we held out. Three minutes of injury time was seen out and the sight of Neville holding off Lescott for many seconds by the corner flag was well received by the faithful.

Final whistle and ?If yer know yer ?Istory? was belted out as Coleman charged at both Kolarov and Balotelli, he was dragged back then had another go. They didn?t seem to like each other but it was just Sunday school stuff. While this was going on, Mancini and Neville were falling out and Kidd and Platt made prats of themselves. Eventually Mancini strode down the tunnel, Kidd and Platt continued to look foolish and Neville walked off, flanked by Ref and his linos in deep conversation. Probably all will be swept under the carpet.

When looking for an MotM, it would be far easier to nominate from just the second half but, taking the whole game into account, I would plump for Heitinga who, in both halves, gave a composed and assured performance in keeping things simple and ticking over as well as finding a Blue shirt with almost all his passes... mind you, I think Osman will be the main choice for a second half display and great goal... but I thought it was great to see a player pass with accuracy and no hoofing and to his own players.

Overall, I think more than the ovation Big Dunc got pre-match, and the hounding Lescott got, plus the two goals ?especially Osman?s ? most of those present got most satisfaction from doing the double over the filthy rich assembled team with players stolen from other clubs by the lure of the lucre. Yet all of us would welcome the same sort of investment in our club...

Today, I thought the manager did well by recognising our frailties first half and doing something about it second half and getting a well received win. Big Vic was much better received this game and got quite an ovation as he was subbed. Beckford ran and harried but still looks short of Premier League requirements. Cahill came on and without looking anything special seemed to galvanise others and was worth his introduction. Coleman, though not on for long, certainly looked full of fire and brimstone, got booked almost immediately, and didn?t switch off at the final whistle. '

Over 37,000 turned up today and I wondered what the response would be to the scarf protest; however, I didn?t see one but I was told three had been spotted in the family enclosure. A trip to the Black Country next and, although it?s a game with nothing on it, I hope the team are as up for it as I am as we need to improve on the home game showing against them. The tickets are expensive... so come on, players ? show us you care.

See you there.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Brian Hill
1   Posted 08/05/2011 at 06:30:51

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Nice report as ever, Ken, but be wary of using a word like "Arab" or you may find yourself with a three year ban from Goodison if The Powers That Be find out!!
Neil Humphreys
2   Posted 08/05/2011 at 08:48:48

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I heard Nevilles angry response was to Mancini telling Baines hes wasting his time at Goodison and should come to City... Kidd was holding Neville off Mancini to the end.
John Audsley
3   Posted 08/05/2011 at 09:07:11

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Great report as always KB

JH was superb sent half in that "controlling" role. I do believe he can play that position really well when his heads on, bet he is off in the summer though

Ossie was good through out and really happy that Vic put a real stint in

That atmosphere after we went level, INCREDIBLE and you just cant buy that

Mancini and Lescott can both Fuck off, hope Stoke do them at Wembley
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 08/05/2011 at 09:00:54

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You do write a good report Mr Buckley.

Didnt see any protest scarves myself although the Guys in the Springy were saying they had seen a couple around Goodison Rd.

On the subject of the handbags as they left the pitch. I have watched it again on football first this morning and the only thing I could see was Seamus first fouling Lescot. then Twatting the ball at him.

I would never ever condone that sort of thing but . . . He He He

Last away game of the season next week, lets hope we get a nice warm day for the Penkridge piss up
Ray Robinson
5   Posted 08/05/2011 at 09:07:54

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Ken, great report as usual but not sure that I agree with Heitinga as MotM! Thought he was largely anonymous.

Credit to Moyes for the substitutions but what about the original selection?!

Thought Victor put himself about well and while nothing will convince me that he is a PL striker, he at least made himself a nuisance. The crowd's reaction to him proves that there is not necessarily any in-built hostility towards him - provided he looks interested.

And a final point, when Rodwell and Kompany squared up, I was pleased to see Beckford jump in to help his team mate. I haven't been convinced by Beckford's commitment but he looked to have embraced the team spirit in that one moment.
Jamie Connor
6   Posted 08/05/2011 at 09:10:16

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Henry Mancini loses his head everytime he faces us. He goes to sleep at night with "2-1 and we've spent fuck all" haunting him. The skipper was going nuts at the whistle and it's a good job for Henry that City have the largest collection of backroom staff in football (What do they all do?) to protect him.
Dave Wilson
7   Posted 08/05/2011 at 09:28:21

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The crowds reaction to Victor restored my faith. It proved that despite the hostility towards him from a very noisey minority days BEFORE we even played. The majority of our fans are fair minded and will judge on what they see.

No pretending, he didn't do anything good, no pretending he missed chances other players missed. Just good honest assessment of what they had witnessed with their own eyes.

Long may it continue
Vinny Garstrokes
8   Posted 08/05/2011 at 11:08:08

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Great report as usual - For me, Ossie's header was better than anything that Andy Gray ever converted! Maybe Dunc did the team talk at half time. I am really enjoying the little troika of coleman, baines and osman as the mood music of our performance and although I don't feel great for saying it, arteta and cahill are a bit of a disruption where that is concerned and in my opinion has contributed to the faltering over the past couple of performances.
Alan Khan
9   Posted 08/05/2011 at 11:58:29

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Thanks for the report Ken.

It was a tremendous response in the second half and the lads and manager can be well proud of their effort. Ossie is certainly on top of his game and is like a new player for us. I agree with you on Heitinga - I thought he was majestic today and let's hope we get more consistency from him in the months ahead. I can't wait for our next match and apart form seeing what starting 11 Moyes will select, another win will set up the Chelski game quite nicely.

Is there any news on the progress of Saha and Fellaini?

NSNO....
Frank McGregor
10   Posted 08/05/2011 at 14:25:34

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Good report, Ken. Poor first half but great second half... I wonder if Peinaar was watching the game on TV as he was not even on the bench at Spurs. Nice to see Lescott in a City shirt.

Pity we had such a poor start to the season; hopefully we can get a couple of new signings in this close season and get a good start next season. Overall, I would say we are not a club "in crisis"

Gerry Western
11   Posted 08/05/2011 at 14:04:40

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Ken,

I've not posted for quite while but enjoyed reading your report of the game. Agree with your MotM award thought Hetinga had a great game. He can be a terrific performer when he's up for it, unfortunately he's lacked the desire for much of the season. Osman not normally known for putting his body on the line really put everything into that leap, kudos to him. If only he could show that level of courage week in week out he'd be quite an asset.

Thought Arteta also started to influence the game in the latter stages. Have to agree though, the key to changing the game was moving Neville out of the middle I'm afraid he doesn't do it for me in that position and our all round performance improved as a result.

If I had one criticism, it would be that Coleman should have been introduced earlier as he certainly gave us a lift following his introduction.
Paul McGinty
12   Posted 09/05/2011 at 02:29:42

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Dave 7; I agree. It's counterproductive to get on our own players. Moyes knows Victor needs to score; but equally with the squad as it is... and facing, let's be honest, a physically strong City team with some height in it, he gave him the flexibility to play up top and wide right and provide some strength and power. And for this week Anichebe did well and deserved the backing he got from those in attendance... Let's hope the support carries forward and Victor pushes on.
Dermot Ryan
13   Posted 09/05/2011 at 04:47:28

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The atmosphere sounded absolutely amazing in the second half. Wish I could have been there. The hairs were up on the back of my neck, and I was watching it in LA.

What a paradox the Goodison atmosphere is. Can be really flat, but give the crowd something to roar about and it is incomparable. Every time it happens the commentators comment on it because it is so striking. And you can tell it totally freaks out the away side.
Michael Kenrick
14   Posted 09/05/2011 at 06:55:55

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So Dave (#7), how do you explain this change? Please do enlighten us...

Could it be that your severe admonitions were heeded by the fans who, quaking in their boots, finally resolved to treat Victor more fairly?

Or could it be that he finally put in a half-decent effort and especially he had a bit of a go at Lescott??

Or could it be that your total shite about his getting dog's abuse because he is a local lad ? and not because he has been very, very poor ? was so far up your arse it didn't bear thinking about???

Don't tell me ? he's no longer a local lad, is he???
Dave Wilson
15   Posted 09/05/2011 at 09:53:09

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Michael

Nothing you or anybody else can say will shake me from the belief / knowledge, that it is so much harder for a local boy at our club.

I know for a fact the people inside the club recognise this problem exist. I`ve even heard the manager talking about it, so I suspect have you. I dont know the reason behind it, but I can give you a very long list of players -- even Everton greats -- who have had to overcome it.

Ask Peter Reid why he found it so difficult to be accepted at the beginning.

Ask Dave Watson why he was often booed throughout his first season here.

Ask Tony Hibbert why people even now accuse him of costing us the cup final -- even though it was all square when he left the field; ask him why people imagine "all those penalties" he`s given away.

Ask Ossie how difficult it is when sections of the crowd boo when his name is announced BEFORE a ball is kicked.

I don't know why this happens, but if anything, it's escalating. Nobody in their right mind can think the abuse aimed at Vic by certain sections of the crowd is anything but detrimental to our cause.

This wasn't Vic's best performance this season -- that was at Anfield -- it wasnt even his best performance against City this season and whilst I can accept he has generally been very poor, the abuse has been completely out of proportion.

FFS he hasn't been on the pitch long enough to warrant the amount of stick he has received. If he so much as sneezes he is hammered, Yet we had somebody on here last week insisting he missed THREE sitters at Newcastle... can you imagine the stick he`d have gotten if he even missed one?

Ask Big Vic how inspired he feels when sections of the crowd boo him BEFORE a game? Thankfully, this treatment only seems to come from certain sections of the crowd and, as proved on Saturday, the majority are much fairer.

I`m more than happy for local players to get their share if they play badly, but I`m at a loss to understand why three of our current first team squad regularly get it before we have kicked off. If you think that's only down to them being shite, then I wont be trying to change your mind... but I will ask you this:

You oversee the website generally regarded as the one which offers the most accurate yardstick to the thoughts of the average Evertonian. Have you in your time supporting the club EVER come across any player who has taken more abuse than Ossie, Hibbert and Vic? ... and if not, do you really believe it's because they have been our three worst players?

There have been players -- not local -- who have completely taken the piss out of Evertonians, players who couldn't even be arsed getting themselves into shape. None of them have come even close to getting the sort stick these lads get.
Michael Kenrick
16   Posted 09/05/2011 at 12:35:22

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Dave ? "Whilst I can accept he has generally been very poor, the abuse has been completely out of proportion." ? I 100% disagree: it has been entirely in proportion with his poor performances, his hopeless attitude, his shocking lack of effort... You were at the games, Dave. Don't tell me you didn't see it?

"He hasn't been on the pitch long enough to warrant the amount of stick he has received." ? Oh, come now... I think he has. That's what people are reacting to. What he does on the field. Plus what he was reported to have done regarding his contract. You can't understand the abuse, yet you don't accept the reasons for it, and this leads you to go for the cock-&-bull option of 'local lad'.

Yet, when the local lad finally puts in a shift, what happens? The local lad gets the plaudits of the crowd when he is substituted near the end. Are you starting to see the real connection yet, Dave? It's about how the lad plays, his attitude, his performance. How else do you explain the fans suddenly and for no other apparent reason changing their feelings about this local lad?

For what you say to have any merit, we surely have to have a big enough cross-section of readers that has to include some of those fans who, you claim, do in fact throw him abuse because he is a local lad -- and not for the reasons stated not just by me but by virtually everyone who has posted. Let them step forward.

"Nobody in their right mind can think the abuse aimed at Vic by certain sections of the crowd is anything but detrimental to our cause." ? Perhaps this view is not widely held (for some namby-pamby PC reason...) but I disagree. You give someone a bollocking to let them know they are not playing well, and to get a reaction. Why else would fans get at their own players?

Oh sorry... we know the answer to that, of course... BECAUSE THEY'RE LOCAL! Heaven forbid that anyone should dare critique them because they are playing poorly... or give them praise if they perform well... How many fans did you see in Goodison sat on their hands when Osman (local lad) put in that superb winning goal?
Dave Wilson
17   Posted 09/05/2011 at 13:17:15

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Michael

Why do you think Moyes has spoken of it when talking about Ossie and Hibbert?

Why do you think Ossie has had to perform like an international in order to get people to even grudgingly admit he`s "now pulling his weight"?

Why is it people can't wait to get Hibbo out of the team even though his reintroduction coincided with an upturn in our results? And did you ever figure out those imaginary penalty claims?

The majority of Goodison applauded Vic off because he played well, but you don't even have to leave this site to find people already denying it... and do you really believe the section of the crowd I refer to will now wait until AFTER the game at the Hawthorns before they are hammering him again? Not a fucken earthly.

You saw with your own eyes somebody talking about his circle of friends "hating" him! ... what because he`s played shite? Or because the Sun ran a "story" which later proved to be untrue? Na, can't have it.

Players who play shite or appear not to be giving 100% ? Bily, Arteta, Cahill (since Chrimbo), The Yak, Neville, etc usually get a bit of stick or a few posts written about them. They do not get booed or have article after article wirtten about them ? despite the fact that they all played when we were dropping points all over the place early on in the season.

Both the Manager and his assistant have come out recently and spoken about the guy's lack of self-belief, now I`m no sports psychologist but is this level of abuse really the "kick up the arse" required to get the best out of him?

There was an article on here recently ? I think it was Andy Crooks ? about the difference between being at the game and watching on the box, I personally see the merits of both, but unless you are actually at the game you can't hope to gauge the degree of hostility directed at some of our boys.

This section of our crowd, the boo boys, will NEVER afford these local boys the luxury of actually watching the game before they start to criticise.

Why? who knows, maybe they expect a little too much from the guys "living the dream". Maybe they believe they have to be better because they "know what it means to us"... Maybe it's just plain jealousy... All I know is a local boy has always been judged more harshly and if he doesn't pull up trees he`s getting it.
Michael Kenrick
18   Posted 09/05/2011 at 15:51:56

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My suspicion, Dave, is that in this case of Anichebe, your reaction on here to what were perfectly reasonable critiques of a very poor player with a very poor attitude playing very poorly have in part precipitated a lot more of the critical/negative/abusive posts regarding the lad.

It's interesting that, since Saturday, you have modified your analysis: it is now reduced to "sections of the crowd". For you to witness this personally from your seat, it would have to be happening within ? what, 10 or 20 seats from you? But if you have the usual mix in the crowd (unless all these miscreants happen to sit just next to you?), can you really be sure how representative your analysis of the entire crowd is in this respect?

Yes, I know you get a good feel for the average mood of the crowd when you're at the game; unifying events on the pitch tend to produce unified responses from the crowd... And you are always going to have fans who like some players and dislike others. Some other fans do react strongly to this but isn't it part and parcel of being at the game? (Perhaps not after Mr David Sibson!!!) You said last week is was enough to stop you going... but it didn't seem to in the end.

All of which makes your protestations the more questionable to me. The reception he was given when subbed looked and sounded fair, reasonable and genuine. The cameras even panned the crowd, showing plenty clapping their applause. If he gets abuse because he's a local lad, then that would not have happened, surely?

You don't seem to have accepted the significance of this point, so I'm repeating it. If he gets abuse for the incredibly valid reasons already given, then, lo and behold, when he plays reasonably well and puts in a shift, and the crowd respond positively, what has this to do with him being a local lad?

Were they all clapping? I doubt it? Were there boos from the boo boys in those "sections of the crowd"? I doubt that too.
Dave Wilson
19   Posted 09/05/2011 at 18:26:57

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Michael.

If I ever gave the impression that I felt ALL of the crowd were against local boys, then I didn't make myself clear enough. I believe they have more support than hostility from Evertonians, but I also believe the hostility from certain quarters towards them is unacceptable and considerably greater than anything other players get. What may start as fair critique soon gives way to resentment, animousity and yes even hatred.

I don't even have to get to my seat to hear it, I hear it in the alehouse long before I get to the game, I hear it on route to away matches, I hear it on radio phone-ins.

There are people on this very site who have found it unbearable to see Ossie find the sort of form he`s in. I sit in front of a guy who even claimed "anybody coulda scored that" after his goal on Saturday.

If Hibbert plays well, these people will either deny it or point to the weakness of the opposition... it's just too much for them to admit that now and again they play well, please don't tell me you haven't witnessed this.

Just recently an article claiming Victor Anichebe had said he wanted "to repay the faith" the fans had shown in him appeared on this site, it provoked very genuine anger from a lot of people. The thing is, anybody who took the trouble to read the article will know he merely spoke about being happy to play anywhere he was asked to, and that he intended to give 100% for the rest of the season... so wtf was all that anger about? The reporters words?

And do you really think that was a response to me expressing my total opposition to this kind of treatment? You flatter me, people don't care enough about what I say, besides, how would that explain the attacks on him BEFORE matches by people I don't even know in the alehouses and at the match?

I knew before we started this debate that I couldn't change your views on this. But I can't shake the belief you and anybody who follows this club knows there is at least some truth in what I say. That's why ? despite having players who have earned more than these guys put together, players who have shown no loyalty to the club, and players who have taken Evertonians for complete mugs ? If I ask for the name of a player who has taken anywhere near the amount of stick these local boys have taken, I would be amazed if anybody came up with one.

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