COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
We all knew 3 points was vital and even the most ardent supporter of joined up footy knew deep down that how we got them was not the be all and end all of today?s battle. A good job too as the ?Barca? way was sacrificed in favour of the ?Manic? way as we endeavoured to overcome not only obdurate defence but a team willing to go for the win.
The nervous tension within the ground and on the pitch was consuming and resulted in a game that had little direction but a shed load of nervous energy that produced a less than enthralling spectacle but a whole lot of what could have been?s, what should have been?s what was and what wasn?t. Who needs great football to enjoy a game when a scratchy win can achieve the same?
The game was not that old when discontent was audible from the faithful as move after move broke down and playing out from the back was a thing for other teams to employ and crosses no matter how well delivered had no chance because we had no one in the box except Cahill making forlorn runs from deep but never with a chance of competing for the cross. But wait ? on the quarter-hour mark, Coleman fed Cahill who crossed for Louis in the box but he contrived to hit it into the ground and force the keeper to tip over, why can?t he hit them sweetly anymore?
The game went on in this fashion with Wolves looking the more composed and threatening but without getting anywhere as the Blues hoofed and hacked their way out of trouble and so it was at the 40-min mark when Wolves got into our box without looking as though they were going anywhere when Fellaini stuck out a long leg, the Wolves man saw it, ran into it and fell over and the Ref Mr Moss (I have not heard of him before) pointed to the spot. Technically he was spot on as was Hunt who despatched unerringly. Hell we have given another goal away at home and now had a mountain to climb. The faithful were not happy but did rouse themselves and rally and roar support to counteract the few who had made the trip in Wolves colours as they gleefully sang ?We are one nil up away? to reinforce the rarity of such a thing.
The players visibly stung responded and without looking like a well oiled machine the tempo was upped, the game more frenetic with only the fear of being caught on the break preventing all out attack. Our reward came just before the break we were awarded a free kick which Baines took, the ball arced in and there was Jags rising and twisting and sending the ball beyond the keeper and into the net to as much relief from the faithful as out and out celebration.
In injury time we broke again and Fellaini had a shot which the keeper only parried and as Cahill went for the kill he appeared to be pulled back and amid a fervent appeal from players and fans the Ref. waived play on. That decision was not well received. So a half that had seen little if any ?proper? footy, with only Osman showing any semblance of link up play, came to an end with the Ref. taking the stick rather than the players.
Half-time and most were just relieved to be level and bemoaning the fact we always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot when on top.
Second half and we started well on top with probably the manager?s words ringing in many an ear. But we just could not get anything right as Jags hoofed to the extent where some of the faithful clapped each one which in turn un-nerved the England international who started then to operate a series of back-passes to Howard who did the hoof for him. Heitinga was not much better by trying the ultra long sweep pass but finding the street end wall rather than a team-mate.
The faithful were now getting more than restless because when we did put a couple together we lacked that oh so important killer instinct. A case in practice was when Coleman?s cross was headed on by Saha and we were all left to wonder how on earth Cahill didn?t score as the keeper rose from the deck holding the ball. The rerun on the big screen didn?t help solve the conundrum.
We were on top and building pressure as Wolves seemed unsure whether to shut up shop or have a pop. Saha had a shot deflected wide after chesting it down and hitting it reasonably sweetly for him but it did bring the corner that saw us take the lead. The corner was swung in and amid the usual jostling Fellaini was felled in true tree felling fashion, almost before he hit the deck the ref had signalled penalty, we were more than happy but breath was held as Baines stepped up, he had missed his last one, it was on all our minds as he ran forward, struck it and as the keeper went one way the net was troubled the other way.
After much joyful celebration, a quick look at the clock which said 7 to go produced a very nervy time for players and their supporters and this was compounded when the board showed 5 minutes more. Into injury time and you could feel the tension as the ref gave Wolves a free kick near the edge of our box. O?Hara took, O?Hara missed the target to much exhaling of breath. We had a breakaway which saw late subs Stracqualursi and Vellios chase but a Wolves defender put it out near the corner flag which brought as much joy as one of them scoring due to the running down of the clock.
Final whistle and fans leave in quite a hurry as the score line was all important, the way we got there was not pretty but understood by most which leaves me as a fan of joined up stuff to realize that no matter what a win is paramount no matter how achieved. I will live in hope that one day maybe we will have the where with all to produce a team that plays a bit and a win will be a better watch for it.
MotM ? Osman as he was the only one willing to create and work box to box while the others seemed to play with a noose hanging before them and rushed everything.
Overall a very welcome three points against a team who at start of play were a point better than us. The game also reinforced just where we are at the moment and I don?t think we can expect much more until we can get some decent daylight between us and the basement. The points will be paramount the performance will be shaped by that nervous desire to get those points.
I do think though that on the whole most fans understand our plight and are willing to put up with less than perfect play to get the points whilst we wait and wait and wait for some positive news that may help this or a future manager the luxury of being able to manage in a more structured and productive way than at present and joined up football will once again be the Everton way.
Bolton next and that should be a bruiser with the result in doubt. That?s the way of things traditionally when we travel there.
UP THE BLUES
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1 Posted 20/11/2011 at 05:59:02
I'd like to see more of Vellios and Saha together to see if they can develop to be a good strike pairing. When he wanted to today, Saha looked quite sharp.
Not so sure about Osman for MotM. After a nervy mistake early on, I thought Jags played OK and so did Heitinga. I thought my mate, Timmy Cahill had an ordinary game, though.
Put the 3 points in the bag and let's get on to the next 3 as quickly as we can!
2 Posted 20/11/2011 at 06:12:23
Many of the games to come are going to be like this, a hard slog against less skilled but stubborn opponents. If we can take 3 points from those around us, we'll be in decent shape to get past the halfway point before Christmas. Sad to say, but that's a positive outlook for a team in our position.
3 Posted 20/11/2011 at 09:33:12
4 Posted 20/11/2011 at 10:26:31
5 Posted 20/11/2011 at 11:50:30
6 Posted 20/11/2011 at 12:24:31
I think we all agreed Drenthe is adapting well. I would like to see Denis more often as I think he made some intelligent runs when he's on.
7 Posted 20/11/2011 at 13:43:37
Moyes if you going to play wingers, we have to go 4 4 2, if you are going to play 4 5 1, we have to play throgh the middle, not rely on wingers.
8 Posted 20/11/2011 at 22:20:43
Osman had one of his better games which is about average for most midfielders.
9 Posted 21/11/2011 at 00:08:59
And I wanted above all else a clean sheet, and we know why we didn't get that. But the defence are very good. Heitinga is a class/hard player and (although I'm glad Distin plays for us) will make a great combination with Jags ? who should be fined every time he humps a ball upfield to give them possession.
The really good news for me is that Drenthe and Baines are stating to work together. We cut them to ribbons down the left in the first half. Result? Well at least LB's excellent free kick to equalise. But we need to get behind defences quicker, before they get set up to defend. Royston is a good step in that direction.
While he's fit, you can see why Moyes picks Saha, but I reckon that's going to give Vellios a few more chances this season, and I like the lad a lot.
Leon Osman ? Ken, I think it takes a seasoned spectator to see how good a game he played for us. Not an automatic MotM choice (I think I'd go for Drenthe ? the difference) but I know what you mean.
10 Posted 22/11/2011 at 16:39:28
Was thinking about man of the match after the game and nobody really stood out, to be honest. Saha had a good game overall but Cahill was awful. Most of what we did up to the opposition box was decent but after that - toothless.
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