COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
A dank rainy night saw less than 18,000 trudge into the ground and many may have wished they had not bothered as for most of the match it was a lacklustre frustrating affair. Both teams made many changes from the weekend and as the game panned out it did look very like a contest between two teams that had been thrown together. Everton did start brightly and WBA parked the bus. Everton?s brightness was unfortunately only obvious in areas of the pitch that didn?t include the final third where WBA were closing down players and avenues very quickly and exposing the lack of a visionary player who could pick a pass and turn a defence.
We attacked, they thwarted us and it did look like one way traffic yet it took until the 16th minute for the first shot in anger on goal and that came from the visitors who surprised us with an attack but fortunately shot over the bar. So the half went on and I did not count one shot on target from us; Barkley, Rodwell and Fellaini had token efforts and Stracqualursi but Drenthe did have their keeper fielding one at his near post.
Half time could not come quickly enough for many as this turgid display of sideways and backwards passing was getting us nowhere. For the visitors, Odemwinge was good enough to leave both Jags and Heitinga floundering as he danced past them but wastefully shot wide when better could have been expected. Half-time arrived ? and not a minute too soon.
We thought, considering the bench assembled, changes would be made... but no ? same again and would you believe it the game started the same again ? Awful.
Coleman did manage a promising gallop into the area but, like so many other occasions, he seemed to run out of ideas when in on goal and merely produced a back pass to the keeper. Later, a bit of comedy to lighten my mood when Drenthe put in a free kick to the far post, Fellaini nodded it back across toward Barkley who took an almighty swipe at it and merely diverting the ball to Stracqualursi who hurriedly shot straight at the keeper.
On the game trundled until almost the hour mark when another Everton move broke down and resulted in a quick counter attack that left us stretched (getting familiar this occurrence) and a through ball left Odemwingie running clear on goal and Mucha running out... they collided, Odemwingie in a heap and penalty awarded and yellow card for Mucha; I have seen many a keeper get red for that sort of thing. Brunt blasts, Mucha goes wrong way and we are yet again behind at home. Some unhappy fans vent a bit of spleen.
The manager is forced into a rethink and his immediate answer was to ?hook? Stracqualursi and Barkley and send on Cahill and Vellios with Cahill to midfield and Fellaini up top with Vellios. Nothing much changed; Baines was still the consistent one getting up and down his line and trying to fashion things but sadly the support he needed just was not happening.
Vellios did put a header wide and Baines took on the Arteta roll and hit the wall with a free kick. We were upping our game but the clock seemed to be racing down, the manager swapped Coleman for Gueye who looked lively but it was not until the very last minute when the ever willing Vellios nodded one across to Fellaini who adroitly brought it down, swivelled and hit a left footer past a surprised and stranded keeper and bounce into the net. Mini-pandemonium from those left and a I overheard a fan groan "Not another half hour of this."
Extra time began and just a few minutes in Odemwingie had a great chance but, after getting past both Jags and Mucha, he contrived to put his shot over the angle.
We were looking more up for it now and the game really started. Baines raided and prompted down the left and Drenthe seemed to occupy much of Gueye?s space and it was a good job he did as it was the Dutchman who found Neville with an accurate pull back and the captain from the edge of the box took aim and left footed found the top corner. Much celebrating and player and fan reaction down Gwladys Street way.
We remained on top during the second half of extra time. WBA sent on Scharner, now how many times as he scored against us?
The last six or seven minutes were a bit nervy both on and off the pitch and that man Scharner almost upset the party when he forced a very good stop by Mucha. Final whistle and the end of a game that kicked off at 8:00pm but didn?t start until 9:45 and then it wasn?t bad. MotM Baines (Fellaini might have got it had he started up front).
Overall a typical Carling Cup game as far as Everton is concerned. Low gate, much changed team and to be honest a lot of players looking like they didn?t rate the competition. But on the plus side we don?t usually win these games but this time it?s us through to last sixteen. Liverpool at home would be interesting.
Just my thoughts on the new boys. On tonight?s showing, Vellios looked the one most ready for first team duty, Drenthe I am not sure of he looks to have a lot to offer yet rarely produced and looked a little slow and lethargic. Made me wonder if he his coming to terms with playing at Goodison rather than the Bernabeu. Stracqualursi was big strong and willing and prepared to run and chase without ever looking convincing. In our position I hope they all come good and with some work and patience they may well do.
City away next and on tonight?s showing you would think not much down for us but we will have a different team out and somehow we always seem to do well against them so I go in hope if little else.
See you there
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 22/09/2011 at 21:19:48
I sincerely hope that you are aware of how much the non-match attending contributor appreciates the work you do.
2 Posted 22/09/2011 at 21:35:28
3 Posted 22/09/2011 at 22:30:58
4 Posted 22/09/2011 at 23:00:51
Drenthe got better as the game went on and was far more effective on the right than left side. Coleman looks clueless and Ossie might be the best on the left flank now.
Barkley has an awful long way to go and all the people building him up need to watch last night game. The lad looked lost and a little out of his depth. He is nowhere near Rooney at the same age and is far from guaranteed to make it at the top level.
Heitinga was our best player and really should be selected ahead of Jags now, especially as he has an excellent previous partnership with Distin, our true no.1 centre back.
Finally... Denis Stracqualursi. Sorry but he looks a carthorse to me. If I was being charitable I would say he looks like a penalty box striker but his touch is woeful and he has all the customary lack of pace of a Moyes signing.
5 Posted 23/09/2011 at 05:58:29
Good work Ken.
6 Posted 23/09/2011 at 11:15:59
Still he's got the shirt so must back him and all I can ask is that he gives 100% when played. If it doesn't work out he'll be out next year.
Do think we should give the greek lad more game time this season as he looks our best striker at the moment given saha hasn't scored for ages and is ijured most of the time. It simply incredible that the only strikers we have at the club are;
- sick note saha
- untried Argie rejected by a championship side
- a teenager
Give the above, I really hope Moyes doesn't have yet another falling out with a striker re saha.
7 Posted 23/09/2011 at 12:25:18
8 Posted 23/09/2011 at 13:03:05
9 Posted 23/09/2011 at 21:30:15
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