From Sunday school picnic to Bear Pit
Last game of the season and nothing on it yet over 38,000 turn up. From the moment we entered our North Liverpool ale house you could just sense fans were up for a day out and a party would be had no matter what. The walk to the ground via Tetlow way and other jiggers was awash with the Blue and White of Everton and all in good spirits. Goodison Road was alive and business?s doing very well as fans criss- crossed each other to reach their turnstile.
The teams were announced and only one surprise, no Neville so Arteta took the armband. The match began at a quite leisurely pace and had ?End of season? written all over it. Torres and Cole were targeted for some abuse but the football was tepid. Throughout the half neither side showed any great urgency but we did get a few flurries the first of which saw Rodwell burst into life and went into the opposition area with pace and intent but only won a corner. From this corner Jags climbed highest and his header merely clipped the bar and went over, head it down man I mumbled.
Then Coleman burst into the box but was denied by a Cole tackle and then Osman jinked his way into the box and was felled by Alex, Penalty we yelled and the players appealed too, it looked nailed on but the well placed Ref Mr Walton waved away the appeals and from that moment on he had certainly lost the Goodison faithful and his liaise fare approach would feature for the rest of the game. Chelsea then worked a good opening when Lampard and Torres combined well to set up Anelka but his chance was thwarted by and excellent sliding block from Distin.
As the half was nearing its end we had our first Beckford moment when he was put in on the left of the box. He advanced at pace on goal, one on one with the keeper, he shot but his direction was a little wayward as the ball flew across the area in front of the keeper and ended up as a throw in! Coleman then got himself booked for a daft push on Cole, then right on the death Howard did well to parry and block two efforts from Anelka.
H/T and most agreed not a lot had happened and there were many in discussions as to what might transpire over the summer, the consensus seemed to be that no-one really knew but all were hoping for the best.
The second half began with Beckford first to show, his burst of pace unsettled Alex who knocked him over and was booked. Then just about nine minutes in Coleman joined the sawdust for brains crew when he went in with a studs up lunge on Mikel, I thought he was lucky not to get a straight red but the second yellow saw him walk. Lots of fans were incensed with Mikel as they thought he was milking it by lying on the turf for a great length of time and causing a handbags fracas that was no more than slight push and shove. Coleman got a standing ovation as he trouped off such was the party atmosphere in the ground on another day he might not have been so well treated for now we had most of the half to negotiate with ten men. Chelsea upped their game against the ten men and after a neat passage of play Terry thumped one against the post with Howard nowhere but we were able to knock away the rebound.
A superb through ball from Hibbert put Beckford in who turned past Alex but his shot lacked conviction and was to near the keeper who smothered it. Chelsea remained on top but our rearguard action was admirable with Jags enjoying some heroic moments, this backs to the wall stuff really brings the best out of him. We broke when we could and Baines strode forward and found Arteta on the edge of the box and his shot beat Cech but flashed wide, then the ref really antagonised players and crowd when Beckford?s pace took him passed Alex on the half way line, Alex brought him down, Alex had been booked earlier and after what happened to Coleman the chant of Off, Off, Off was deafening. The ref did nothing except give us a free kick and from then to the end Goodison was a bear pit and the soft southerners looked less and less up for a fight. Ancelotti soon subbed him amid chants of ?your getting sacked in the morning? as events have turned out we were a few hours out on that one.
Chelsea tried to use the man advantage by switching the ball well but on each occasion Everton corralled them down the middle and Jags saw most of it off with great help from Hibbert and Distin. Baines was always available for the out ball and raided when he could so the game took on the mantle of Chelsea attacks which we broke up and broke when we could. Chelsea did get the ball in the net but it was ruled offside.
With 15 to go Beckford picked up another clearance near our box and set off on a run that was determined, lucky, and fortuitous and in the end fruitful. He somehow reached the opponents box leaving 4 Chelsea defenders in his wake. The keeper came to meet him. He shot and allowed the keeper to get a good hand to it but in keeping with the luck of the run the ball had just enough power and spin to creep just inside the post and into the net. The roof came off; Beckford rushed to the Gwladys street crowd and was mobbed by his team-mates. It was a goal that in many ways defied description but was loved and welcomed by all.
Chelsea now upped their game but could not find away passed Jag?s wall and despite lots of possession hardly tested Howard at all. Now the songs were in full flow, Ladyboy Ladyboy rang out from all sides as did the Davy Moyes song and Davy gave us a wave to raucous cheers. 4mins of added time came and went. Final whistle and pandemonium broke out. M.O.tM Jags.
Overall I thought it turned out to be a very enjoyable game thanks to the ref for stirring passions and Chelsea players playacting and moaning which helped immensely in turning up the volume and venom thus creating that ?bear pit? feel. If the sun had not been so strong you would have thought it was one of those games under the Goodison lights.
Torres was given a torrid time as he no more than stumbled through the game, at the moment he looks nothing like a 50million pound man.
The players duly collected their offspring and set off on their lap of appreciation and were warmly acclaimed from all sides of the ground and considering the season we have had a great number of fans stayed behind. The manager got a ringing endorsement from all sides as he made his way around. So thats it for this season and considering our start and financial position 7th position is I feel a good return. We would all have liked better and 15draws does lend itself to ?What if? But 7th it is, thats what our season has brought. What of next season? well it won?t get any easier so all I can do is await to see what has transpired by we kick off and then that couple of weeks nervous wait til window closes. As I have no control over anything I must hope that the powers that be are able one way or another to progress us and who knows we may get a good start to the season. If we do knowing our luck we will have a poor end to it.
Still soon be August so I hope you all enjoy your summer . I will leave you with a bit of info that came my way. For next season Manchester United and Liverpool have had permission for an extra kit for certain games. It consists of Black shirt, Black shorts, Black socks with a white top and a whistle.
UP THE BLUES.
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1 Posted 23/05/2011 at 05:22:52
2 Posted 23/05/2011 at 08:51:07
3 Posted 23/05/2011 at 08:33:30
Thank you for your reports this season... It made for good reading.
Well done to the lads yesterday. I agree with you ? I thought Jags was superb and the Becks goal was very well taken indeed.
Roll on August ? and hopefully, with two or three new faces to consolidate our squad. We can all live in hope...
4 Posted 23/05/2011 at 09:40:44
5 Posted 23/05/2011 at 09:43:21
6 Posted 23/05/2011 at 10:10:36
7 Posted 23/05/2011 at 10:19:55
8 Posted 23/05/2011 at 11:03:58
Terrific defending from the back four, getting good blocks in and no errors all match.
Midfield, Rodwell, best game and really showed his potential. Arteta was outstanding and back to being the playmaker with pace. Heitinga covered well in the holding role, Osman a liitle quiet but unlucky not to get the pen for the challenge from behind.
Beckford's goal, bloody amazing, just before he scored, he miscontrolled an easy ball and I said to person at the side of me, "His head has gone after those two chances".
Fair play Becks, you have a strong character inside you mate for having a go. Pity Match of the Day didn't give him the credit he deserved... I'm sure if Messi scores one like that against Utd next week, we'll never hear the end of it.
Great atmosphere at Goodison, proper fans getting behind the team and the team responded superbly.
Hopefully with some clever dealings in the summer, those rack of annual draws that take 12-14pts off our total can turn to victories. 7th isn't what we thought we'd achieve but it's a bloody tough league and it's been good to see the fighting spirit on show in recent games.
Great day yesterday, the team did us proud.
9 Posted 23/05/2011 at 11:15:27
In my opinion, it's decision time: who's our main playmaker, Arteta or Felli? My opinion again is that they get in each other's way. Okay, some will say, put Mikel on the wing, but I'll go with the Spanish magician.
10 Posted 23/05/2011 at 11:29:15
School report ? excellent overall but... liaise fare really ought to be "laissez faire".
Seriously though, excellent reports, that display a balance that is absent elsewehere on Toffeeweb. Thanks.
11 Posted 23/05/2011 at 11:43:14
Still, if Felli doesn't sign, it might not be a decision we have to make.
12 Posted 23/05/2011 at 12:26:05
This is a very tough league and we have finished probably about where we should in terms of financial and playing resources. To finish above teams like Villa and Sunderland who have invested much more heavily in players is no small feat but is at the same time what we have come to expect.
Next season will be tougher and, if I'm honest, I can't see us being in a much better situation unless some very unusual things happen this summer (eg, Man City pay us £30M for Heitinga and Bily....!)
13 Posted 23/05/2011 at 12:36:54
14 Posted 23/05/2011 at 12:35:43
I agree. Arteta and Fellaini pose the same conundrum as Gerrard and Lampard. It's one or the other and should not be both.
The biggest question is whether to continue with five in midfield which is currently: Coleman, Arteta, Heitinga, Rodwell, Osman...
15 Posted 23/05/2011 at 13:01:26
Have a great Summer.
We can all speculate on who, if anyone, we get in the Summer but, if we had a way of turning the Goodison roar on when we need it, that would be priceless.
16 Posted 23/05/2011 at 13:07:13
If he comes back fit for the new campaign, I think he will be a regular next season alongside Fellaini (if he stays) or Arteta. I can also see Gueye getting a lot more minutes next campaign. These are the two to watch for next season.
17 Posted 23/05/2011 at 14:29:15
He did have some luck in bundling past the static Chelsea defence so I would not compare it to a Maradonna, Messi or Ronaldo dribble but he was certainly cool enough when he chipped Cech!!!
18 Posted 23/05/2011 at 14:27:12
19 Posted 23/05/2011 at 19:40:47
20 Posted 23/05/2011 at 19:45:41
So where does this leave us, 7th place, 16 years now without a trophy of any kind. No side has any right to win anything, but by god, I'd like to see a trophy sometime soon. How long will the drought last, you wonder.
21 Posted 24/05/2011 at 10:54:14
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