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Season 2011-12
COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

A bitter pill to swallow

By Paul Traill   ::  02/10/2011
 17 Comments (Last)
Apologies, this may become quite a rant? Pay day Friday? down the pub for beers. Early start Saturday? head not quite right. I had to pick up some tickets for some friends at the ground so figured it would be a good idea to get there early. Luckily for me a mate was able to give me a lift over. I went to collect the tickets from the Bullens Road office and in doing so saw Tim Howard driving into the car park. I expected queues but there was none so I headed back towards Goodison Road. By this point Baines, Osman, Hibbert, Howard, Mucha, Coleman, Bily and Rodwell were all present, signing autographs and all suited and booted. It amazes me what athletes they really are. They?re built like machines? To think, Rodwell had absolutely no idea of the injustice he was to face.

It was rather early? around 10:45am but everywhere was rather busy and you felt quite good vibe around the place. A mate Gary who I got to know doing a car share to work a few years ago was in The Springfield so I met him for a few jars before moving on to the more familiar surroundings of The Brick, meeting Gary and Sue for a few beers. My brother Dave, who?d literally jetted in from New York in the morning, also joined us with a few other old friends. Ste, Simon also present. Was a fantastic turnout and the place was buzzing with the sun beating down.

We got the team news from Ste and were mostly quite surprised that Saha was starting as I for one expected Cahill to start up front on his own. Otherwise it was pretty much as you were. Liverpool had just about their strongest team out with Lucas, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Carroll and Suarez all featuring.

I?ve had quite a beef with Martin Atkinson for some time prior to the game going back to the 2008-09 season. We played Hull City at home. If Fellaini got booked he?d miss two back-to-back derbies at Anfield in the League and FA Cup? You knew the outcome: five minutes into the second half, a slightly raised boot by Fellaini and Atkinson couldn?t wait.

He screwed us in 2009-10 at Anfield also. He actually sent off Kyrgiakos though then blew up time and time again in Liverpool?s favor with every tackle making it impossible for us? And then of course there was last season when he blew for full time when Jagielka was through on goal against Manchester United. No? I?ve not liked this referee for a while? though I have even more reasons not to like him now of course.

We lost the toss and attacked the Park End in the first half with Goodison absolutely rocking ? Jose Reina receiving a collective V-shaped salute from the Gwladys Street. The start to the game wasn?t the best?surrendering possession early and giving away a free kick on Liverpool?s left. Liverpool?s play down our right-hand side was quite enterprising and the ball in from the left always looked quite threatening.

Suarez missed a great early chance after yet another silly Jagielka clearance allowed Kuyt to pick him out with a cross which he headed straight at Howard. Straight down the other end and Everton were having none of that with Coleman putting a ball in for Cahill to head goalwards? well tipped over by Reina. The Gwladys Street rocking. Saha also flashed one just wide from the edge of the box and Distin of all people turned smartly inside the penalty area to create an opportunity for himself though he couldn?t keep it down and the chance came and went.

Still, we were looking good. Liverpool were doing alright also. It was probably rather even but was a good game. The referee had been quite good and things were looking up. Until?

Well what more needs to be said? I?ve had the benefit of seeing the incident on TV now and it?s genuinely impossible to understand or comprehend how and why Atkinson sent Rodwell off. I haven?t seen anything like this since the Clattenburg derby back in 2007-08. The saving grace with that one was the widespread condemnation of the hapless official from the media.

From what I can tell so far from Twitter, Match of the Day, and Goals on Sunday, everybody has stuck the boot in on Atkinson a bit so hopefully something will happen with this. We still haven?t had Clattenburg officiate an Everton game since that injustice and I firmly hope I never have to see Martin Atkinson involved in an Everton game again. Furthermore, back in 2007, I felt the whole incident appeared to galvanize the team a bit and we went on to have an excellent campaign, finishing fifth. Maybe something similar can happen here. Every cloud?

Anyway, the red card for Rodwell was unbelievable. The tackle was completely clean. Suarez jumped about three feet in the air, Reina ran to the half way line to get involved, the Liverpool players surrounded the referee. Liverpool cheated basically. In all honesty, I don?t believe this really had any bearing on the referee?s decision as he had his card out very quickly and we?ve already been through his anti-blue history. I didn?t like Adam getting involved and walking all the way back with Rodwell even though Jack told him to get lost countless times. Total. Cheating. Scum. Cahill got booked just after also when he and Adam both did exactly the same thing. It was getting ridiculous and the crowd were getting very, very angry.

I thought that, if we could hold out until the break, we could still do this. Hold out we did but only by the skin of our teeth. Jagielka gave away a silly penalty (and it was a penalty) for felling Suarez. No complaints from any Everton players. Kuyt stepped up. He?s pretty deadly from the spot but Howard got down very smartly with an excellent save. Charlie Adam came even closer to scoring soon afterwards with a quite phenomenal strike from the edge of the penalty area which rattled back off the underside of the bar and away. That was pretty much it for the first half. Atkinson left the pitch to noisy boos and whistles from the Goodison crowd.

At the break, I caught up with my brother Dave and the other lads. They seldom get to the game and were enjoying themselves? if not the refereeing performance.

Onto the second half and Everton stuck at it manfully in extremely warm conditions with 10 vs 11. Chances were scarce and difficult to take but we did what we could. It was a shame we couldn?t get any corners or free kicks around their penalty area as I felt a goal may come from something like that though Saha came closest with a right-footed thunderbolt from about 30 yards? Maybe he can still so something for us this season after all ?cos boy do we need someone up there.

Liverpool made their changes with 25 minutes to go: Gerrard and Bellamy on for Adam and Downing. Moyes responded by getting Neville on for Osman with 20 still to play. I feared we?d shut up shop a little early.

After such a good shift, it was disappointing to concede two goals in the manor which we did. I thought Hibbert and Neville between them might have done more to stop the Enrique cross and then the marking wasn?t great either.

Despite re-shaping and getting Vellios onto the pitch, the goal knocked the stuffing out of Everton and it was lights out on 82 minutes when Distin panicked unnecessarily and kicked the ball at Suarez who was left with the simple task of guiding the ball home with Howard helpless. It was hopeless defending by the Frenchman after Baines had covered well. We?ve good defenders but are conceding some ridiculous goals this season. Maybe it?s time to put Heitinga in the middle? If he can do it for Holland, surely he can do it for us.

As the clock ticked down Kuyt hit the post when Jagielka had switched off from a corner? that would have been mighty tough to take, and I was glad Jagielka rejected a handshake from Suarez after the little shit had pushed him in the back for no apparent reason. At the other end I thought Drenthe got clearly fouled in the box but nothing was given and Baines hit the side-netting from distance. The only other note-worthy incidents were the storm of plastic bottles aimed at Bellamy, Suarez or whichever Kopite was tasked with taking a corner. That won?t have looked good on TV and don?t be shocked to see the FA spin that a bit to paint Everton as the bad guys after the mess Martin Atkinson has gotten himself and the FA into.

I stayed ?til the end as I, like thousands more, wanted to vent my anger at Atkinson. This we did but not before drowning out the Liverpool fans with the only chant we know. I?m proud of our boys yesterday. We didn?t cheat. We got cheated, we worked our nuts off and but for a few silly lapses really would have held our for a draw. What do they say, ?What doesn?t kill you only makes you stronger?? I?ve got a feeling this might just galvanize our boys ?cos I for one refuse to be beaten by this crap.

Player Ratings:

Howard: Had a great game, not least because of the penalty save. Punched and caught well when he had to also. 8

Baines: Did well. Kept on going. 7

Distin: That ridiculous mix-up at the end aside, he was imperious. The two of them really need to cut out these silly errors though because it?s costing us far too many goals. 7

Jagielka: Was solid for a lot of the game but there?s just too many mistakes. I don?t think it's necessarily helping him being captain. I think he?d be better concentrating on his own game rather than worrying about the others. I?d give Heitinga a run in the team at centre-back now myself. 4

Hibbert: I like Hibbert and my mate Ireland who?s a red is always telling me how shit he is. Ireland went the game today and it had to be the game he goes to which Hibbert has a stinker in. A poor performance both defensively and going forward. 4

Fellaini: I thought he looked as though he couldn?t be fagged for long periods of the game. He got nowhere near what he is capable of though was hobbling around a bit for the last 20 minutes. I hope he?s not already thinking about just not getting injured so he can get his move away. It hasn?t gone unnoticed that his contract is running out. 5

Rodwell: Was in the game and putting in some good tackles before he wasn?t allowed to play any more. If the red card doesn?t get rescinded it will be an absolute travesty. 6

Osman: Worked extremely hard and kept the ball better than anyone else. Was doing very well and I was surprised to see him come off. 8

Coleman: Worked but was a bit of a one-trick pony I thought. Work was more about defending than attacking once we went down to 10 men though. 6

Cahill: My man of the match just for endeavor alone. Was doing well in his familiar position just off the striker and then put in an excellent shift first on the left wing and then on the right. Kept on going in unfair circumstances and wasn?t going to give up on the game. 8

Saha: Had an excellent first half but was very isolated in the second half. We really needed someone to chase and run a lot more in the second half and Louis didn?t do that. Regardless, he was our best goal threat and that ability to create something out of practically nothing is probably what kept him on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. 6

Drenthe (for Coleman): Still finding his feet really. A great attacking player but needs to remedy that balance of when to take a player on and when to make a pass. Should come with games though. I thought he should have gotten a penalty when he was taken out by I think Kelly. 6

Neville (for Osman): I thought we shut up shop too soon with bringing Neville on but he didn?t do badly really. 6

Vellios (for Hibbert): Difficult to judge as wasn?t on for long enough to have a serious impact on the game.

Reader Comments

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Kevin Gillen
1   Posted 02/10/2011 at 21:13:41

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In future if you dive and roll around like you have been shot you should be forced to leave the pitch and endure a four hour wait in A & E and not allowed to continue unless fully cleared by a competent medic. Also all referees should be checked out to see if they have actually ever played a competitive game of football. Mike Riley and Martin Atkinson would never be allowed to officiate. Why football does not use video technology to assist refs is beyond me. For 30,000 in the ground and the millions watching that incompetent decision ruined the whole spectacle. Shameful.
Dick Fearon
2   Posted 02/10/2011 at 22:10:56

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When a player goes down behaving like a potential hospital case there should be a minimum time of 5 minutes before that player is allowed to resume. It is physically impossible to recover from what appears to be a career ending injury in less time. If that were the case it would force the likes of Suarez to clean up his act and act like a man and not some kind of continental fairy.
Dick Fearon
3   Posted 02/10/2011 at 22:32:25

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Oh dear, what have I said, my sincere apologies to the millions of South Americans who would not dream of Suarez type of play acting.
Steve O'Malley
4   Posted 03/10/2011 at 05:19:03

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If Heitinga does not get an opportunity for a proper run in his only true position, at the expense of our new captain, Jagielka, he may as well do a Tevez. Put our new captain on the bench with the old captain and call Wenger and say you can have Jags for $5m in the January sales. And don't anybody tell me it's the responsibility of captaincy that is affecting his game.
Eric Myles
5   Posted 03/10/2011 at 09:10:16

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What a spineless bunch of shits the sports journalists are turning out to be.

I haven't seen a report that doesn't say Rodwell APPEARED to win the ball, making it sound as if there was any doubt about it.

It's bloody obvious on the numerous replays that Rodwell won the ball cleanly and Suarez is a cheating bastard and they should be calling him for it.

Even the RS supporter I watched the match with said that Suarez goes too ground easily.
Keith Skidmore
6   Posted 03/10/2011 at 10:36:39

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I had some knob of a red stood next to me screaming "Two-footed, your dirty bastard!!!" After the first replay angle showed he went in with one foot he shouted "His fucking studs were up!!!" The next angle showed he won the ball then grounded his foot, then he started saying "He made contact with him!!!" What a bunch of blinkered tits there fans are!

Lucas was already booked and dragged one of our lads down cynically, definite yellow and therefore should have walked ? this tit heard my comment that it should have been a second yellow and therefore red and he started spoutin "Send them all off hey!"

Then after every subsequent foul they made "Send him off!!!" ? no class. 
Kunal Desai
7   Posted 03/10/2011 at 10:45:52

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It's about time Jagielka was benched for the next few games, give him a rest and bring Heitinga back into the side to partner Distin.
Sean Smythe
8   Posted 03/10/2011 at 12:54:07

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Dick Fearon (comment 2), I think that is a great idea. In an ideal world they should be booked and banned for all the play acting, but that won't happen, but I like the idea of them being told they can't get back into the game for 5 minutes. Their managers would then hopefully put more pressure on them to stop play acting too.
Mike Hughes
9   Posted 03/10/2011 at 12:54:50

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A well-written piece which I largely agree with. Nice to have credit for Osman for a change though thought you were a tad harsh on Hibbert (I'd have given him an extra two points just because of the pain he inflicted on Charlie Adam).

"Total cheats" sums them up but let's hope, as you say, that we can use the injustice to spur us onwards and upwards. They look like mid-table mediocrity despite their spending.

Suarez is made for the red filth. he typifies the odious, spine-less, whining mentality of the kopite we have seen so often over the years - Benitez, Gerrard (loathsome smug scumbag), et al.

I just hope we can ram the injustice down their throats in the return fixture.
David Moore
10   Posted 03/10/2011 at 13:10:56

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I was watching the game in Sydney at the pub, and everyone was gobsmacked by Atkinson-gate. Buti dont agree with you on Fellaini. I thought he and Cahill were both fucking immense, both over Osman. It seemed after the card that Osman was playing higher than Cahill and Felli, which just allowed us to get killed down the spare flank. I really did think that Felli was all class, remember as well he would have been so hot under his wig. Also big raps for Drenthe when he got on, both he and Saha looked dangerous from limited opportunites. Would like to see him start.

Next Game
Howard
Hibbo, Heitinga, Distin, Baines
Coleman, Fellaini, Barkley/Osman, Drenthe
Cahill
Saha.
James Lauwervine
11   Posted 03/10/2011 at 16:02:02

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Three reasons why Rodwell was sent off IMO:
1. Atkinson is a card-happy bastard
2. Suarez screamed in fake pain
3. It was a derby and we always come out on the shit end.

However, I agree that the injustice of it all could have a positive effect on the team if Moyes can harness this. He's certainly done so before.
Paul Morris
12   Posted 03/10/2011 at 16:38:58

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We all know Suarez is a cheat. He even went down clutching the leg Rodwell didn't make contact with. What's more, he wasn't even in line with Rodwell when Rodwell attemped to play the ball. He got caught with Rodwell's follow through because he was late getting there. Two things about that scum Atkinson. He's either grossly incompetent or a blatant cheat. If it's incompetence then action should be taken against him. It's wrong to have referees as hopelessly inadequate as that ruining games for the millions watching.
Jimmy Sorheim
13   Posted 03/10/2011 at 18:39:20

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Maybe bitter, but you can not expect Everton to do better with this squad. At least not with Moyes at the helm. Too high expectations from many Everton fans. Get reThese btwo losses has done us good in that we are not better than what the results show!!!
Colin Gee
14   Posted 03/10/2011 at 21:32:12

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Do what they do in Rugby League, if you get injured the game carries on.
Jimmy Sorheim
15   Posted 03/10/2011 at 18:42:11

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Get real, we are not better than the results show, it is high time for all to see that!
Damian Kelly
16   Posted 04/10/2011 at 18:02:29

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I'm confused Jimmy. So the table doesnt lie apart from when we were 5th a couple of weeks ago. We werent as good as results showed but now that we've lost a couple we are as bad as results show. Is that right?
Michael Brien
17   Posted 04/10/2011 at 18:36:24

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The red card has been rescinded and rightly so - but the 3 points have been lost. As far as I am concerned there are still 2 issues for the FA to address in this:
1. The gross incompetance of the Referee - will he get ahy punishment ? If Mr Atkinson had any shred of decency he would apologise. Can we expect an apology from him ? Chances of that vary from slim to non existant I would say.
2. A certain South American footballer, Mr Suarez I believe is his name. Shouldn't he get a suspension ? He conned the Referee - who was stupid enough to fall for it - and he cheated all the people who went to the match.

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