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From My Seat: Tottenham Hotspur (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  09/12/2012 Last home game before Christmas and 36 thousand or more of us turned up to witness a game that is traditionally close, with Spurs being the only opponents to witness our manager being roundly booed from four corners of the ground in the past for what fans thought was a negative substitution. Not bad for only once in over 10 years and today I believe we showed how far we have come in that time considering the money situation at both clubs being miles apart. The burning question being: Can the club in its present state allow the manager to prosper further... or is this as good as it gets? I hope for a speedy answer.

We assembled in our North Liverpool watering hole and, amongst all the pre-match banter, 2 - 1 to the Blues was the most talked about outcome. We got there... but the ride was helter skelter and, if we are all honest, most unexpected.

I left our boozer early and made my way to St Luke’s church to purchase my copy of the DVD ‘Alan Ball remembered’ with proceeds going to the charity ‘Health through sport’ set up by ex-Blue Ronnie Goodlass. While I was there, I espied Big Nev doing a book signing so I asked him to sign my DVD, which he did without hesitation. I also got a free mince pie from some lovely ladies on an adjacent stall. After all that surely I would see a win.

I took my seat and we started brightly with Coleman looking reinvigorated and, for a few minutes, he resembled a famed Brazilian wing-back. Apart from a few lapses, he kept up good form throughout. He fed Gibson who put in a cross that Jelavic passed to the keeper. Jelavic then was a bit theatrical as he was put through one-on-one with the keeper who dived for the ball with Jelavic falling over him and causing raucous shouts for a penalty – Denied.

We continued to look the more likely – as you would expect a home team to do... but it was all fur coats and no knickers as we ran out of ideas in the last third; it looked to me like players trying that bit too hard. Mirallas, who was back after hammy trouble, was a bit headless chicken but he did show one bit of pace and a cross to pick out Jelavic but it was a bit behind him and only a non-productive corner ensued. However, it did show that, with the right ball, he could get behind the Spurs defence.

The half wore on and it was in the main end-to-end stuff with each team having spells of attacking which the defending side had difficulty in getting away.
Coleman had a chance but, instead of doing the simple thing well, he lost his head a bit and lashed a shot wide when a cooler head would have had the chance to pick out a better-placed team-mate. Then Pienaar caught the bug and, after a joined-up move involving Mirallas, and Osman, he lashed wide when other options were better.

Spurs were forever holding up play at every opportunity; whether this has anything to do with the boy wonder manager, I don’t know... but it got right on the crowd's wick. This was typified when, for some reason, they were more than reluctant to retreat the 10 yards back for our free kick when the ref ordered them to do so. As Baines prepared to take, Defoe just broke ranks and walked toward him, thus stopping the kick. The ref booked him amid cheers from the faithful. What are these foreign managers teaching England internationals? Perhaps Roy should have a word...

Coleman had a gallop down the wing and, as he threatened to leave the Spurs full-back for dead, he was scythed down and the Spurs man booked. The Spurs protests were at best embarrassing.

The game kept going in this fashion with little direct threat on either goal; we were getting forward but our crosses always came to nought and I remember wondering what ever happened to the art of attacking the near post when a cross looks like coming in as most of our crosses were cleared from that area with no Blue shirt anywhere near.

Half-time neared and produced two shouts for handball in the box that from my seat looked nailed-on. The ref would have none of it and the crowed grew very angry and let their anger be shown in high decibels. The whistle went and the half-time chat was about us never getting anything from refs. I made a call to a mate of mine who watches via other means and he confirmed that slow-mo retrospection proved the ref Mr Friend to be spot on.

On half-time, Mirallas sort of limped off with signs of hammy reoccurrence and this was confirmed by Naismith replacing him for the second half. A blow, yes... but these things happen and we may well be some weeks without him now so best get behind Naismith and hope he remains injury free whilst building up his match fitness and confidence. He quickly had a chance to win over fans when the ball unexpectedly went through to him after a free kick by Baines was charged down and back to him; Baines then fired back and the ball ended up for Naismith who had stolen in to hit it into the side netting when better could have been expected.

The half continued with two well matched sides having attacking spells in turn and both teams giving away fouls for free kicks that came to nothing. It was looking more and more like yet another draw and my mind wandered to a statement from our manager saying that Gibson needs to buck up and get the game by the scruff of the neck more and drive us on better. Well, today he did some nice things... but nothing like the manager is looking for. I am sure he is capable but he needs to show it.

75 Mins gone and oops... A nothing situation in mid-field saw Dempsey just put his foot through the ball in hope. The ball deflected off Distin and looped over Howard and into the net. Cue ‘Blue Silence’... What a blow. We all looked for reasons. Howard too far off his line was the favourite around us but in truth it was just one of those things. I had been saying for some time that it was a match the first goal would win left me feeling right deflated. It got worse on the nerves as they hit the bar and time was drifting away at what seemed like jet speed.

Vellios came on for Osman on 80 mins and with Fellaini dropping into centre midfield we went 4-4-2 but without much change in fortune as our forays forward still floundered in that last third. Pienaar, although making some poor decisions, kept up a great work rate and at least gave us a feeling of ‘Never say die’ as we tried both ‘hoofball’ and ‘joined-up stuff’ to grab an equaliser.

A draw was looking to be a great result for us, after that being the last thing we wanted at the start, but it wasn’t looking likely as the board went up: 4 mins... Coinciding with this, Coleman made one more lung-busting run. He got a good cross in — Pienaar dived full length and met ball with head — Net bulged. Oh joy! The celebrations were both spectacular and deafening. We had got another point.

Spurs attacked: "Why the hell don’t you blow the whistle?" many thought.... After one attack by Spurs, we repelled and got forward. Someone got the ball into their box. Vellios went all ‘Beth Tweddle’ and acrobatically propelled the ball over his head from a mid-air prone position and there was Jelavic reacting like a robber's dog and steering the ball home. That brought Goodison to an occasion that you just had to be there to appreciate. Words fail to capture such excitement, disbelief, relief and just sheer joy that stayed with us until the whistle went. No "If ya know yer ‘Istery" after this win but instead it was Slade belting out "Merry Christmas" — which the crowd took to a louder level than the tannoy.

Moysie was seen on the pitch as mad as the rest of us after the winner and at the end. Jelavic limped off after his winner to be replaced by Heitinga who did not put a foot wrong for at least 90 secs.

MotM — Pienaar; Special mention for Coleman who I thought had his best game to date.

Cue high fives and handshakes as we who sit adjacent all season bade each a merry one; and then the walk along Goodison Road and Spellow Lane was filled with good cheer. Back to the boozer and the Butties and Karaoke were going down well. After my purchase of the Alan Ball DVD, I thought I would stick to 60s and 70s fayre and had a Brown over Bitter. The Reds were on the box and losing 2-1 so we sang bubbles and then didn’t give a damn when they won. Just one of those days out that cause happiness!

Two away days before Christmas.... Drat — Can I get out of the ritual last-minute Chrissy shopping? We’ll see...

As our car nosed out onto those mean streets of North Liverpool, I swear I heard Ball, Southall and Goodlass singing "We’re gonna win the league"...
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Ian Allaker
294 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:10:20
Great report Ken, I think we have the winning formula now. I think that starting 11 today is probably our best but, if it's not working, I think bringing Vellios on for Osmen and putting Fellaini back in the midfield works well for us too; it's worked a couple of times. Great substitution by Moyes, we clearly have a Plan A and Plan B if it's not working out.
Gareth Fieldstead
295 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:11:15
Wonderful Ken, great summary. I thought Coleman was MOM . Hopefully Hibbert is back next week as I would play them two on the right. Two great finishes and back in 4th. Massive game next week against Wimbledon, sorry Stoke. Hopefully grab a win and no further injuries!
Jamie Barlow
296 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:22:57
Gareth, where would Marillas fit in your team?
Ciaran Duff
297 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:23:32
Ken,
That's not a match report, that's poetry.
Ian Allaker
298 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:26:12
Think Marillas will be out injured Jamie.
Phil McKeown
299 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:25:10
Good report, Ken, I was there today and it's why we love Everton: deflation turns to elation in just a few moments.

One thing though, Gibson was my Man of the Match today, his long passing range was phenomenal and he did a good job in front of the back four, both breaking up attacks and starting our play off.

Pete Anthony
300 Posted 09/12/2012 at 23:20:53
Suberb write up Ken, I couldn't go the match but you bring it all to life so brilliantly. As I was not there to experience the magic my smile may not be as wide as yours, but it is pretty bloody big.. Get in there, COYB and Merry Christmas.
Peter Cummings
309 Posted 10/12/2012 at 00:29:28
To my eternal shame, I left the game (on Canada Sportsnet) with around 5 mins to go, thinking game over. Off to Walmart to meet long suffering missus, who is a St Helens fan, and do some Crimbo shopping and a nosh at our favourite Chinese buffet.

My gast was completely flabbered when my son told me the result but I managed to see the highlights via the BBC on our computer. What a finish and the celebrations were out of this world, by the best fans in the world. Coleman was a revelation today but the boys all round didn't lie down and got their well deserved reward against a gang of spoilers.

Absolutely Fabulous!
Peter Creer
314 Posted 10/12/2012 at 01:06:37
After the Dempsey goal and the substitution of Mirallas I was getting worried, however, the team pulled together. The late substitutions worked perfectly and I am sure that the scream I let out when Jelavic won it for us could have been heard at Goodison..... even though I am in Canada! COYB
Jay Harris
321 Posted 10/12/2012 at 03:08:07
When Goodison rocks Everton win and when Everton win Goodison rocks.

Lets hope the formula continues over Xmas folllowing 2 tough away games.

Mike Gaynes
325 Posted 10/12/2012 at 04:38:16
Ken, I love your reports not just for the accuracy and the way you capture the crowd reaction, but for the way you always manage to introduce us Yanks to wonderful expressions like "all fur coats and no knickers"... "reacting like a robber's dog"... "got right on the crowd's wick"... priceless. Are those Scouse pearls?

Anyway, my MOTM was Jags... he and Distin shut down everything Spurs tried through the middle and he ably supported the vulnerable Coleman on the right. I agree Coleman had a very good game, although after replay I am absolutely convinced that the final cross was overhit... he clearly looked up at the frantically waving Felli and targeted him. It was a yard high... and Pienaar met it.

Gibbo looked rusty to me... many of his long passes fell short of the target... but his last one to Vellios was a beauty. Felli had the first really off day I've seen him have in a long time, but like Pienaar and Naismith he never stopped working.

Gareth Fieldstead
328 Posted 10/12/2012 at 06:31:44
Sorry, Jamie, I was being presumptuous taking it for granted that Mirallas could be out for a while again. Hopefully it was just a precautionary measure by Moyes but knowing our luck we won't see him again until January.
Phil Walling
335 Posted 10/12/2012 at 08:41:45
You`ve penned some good `uns over the years, Ken, and that was one of the best. Your writing was as inspired as the Blues` finish. Let`s all look forward to a fourth place Christmas!
Ryan Sydow
338 Posted 10/12/2012 at 09:15:34
Thanks for spot on commentary again Ken. I live in South Africa so it's always great they way you "create" the atmosphere at the ground (and before getting to the ground!) – adds a great deal to the report.

I watched it on TV and whilst happy that Ossie went off for Vellios as that is where the goal came from it was irritating me that Ossie was taken off earlier and Barkley not given a run... especially when we needed to get the 1 back. How is the kid going to learn?
Bob Willis
339 Posted 10/12/2012 at 09:23:21
Great post Ken and pretty much as I saw the match.

There are a couple of other posters on the subject 'From my Seat' etc and I would love to know whereabouts they sit, which stands etc in order to visualise their 'view' of proceedings.

Cheers lads, many thanks, Merry Xmas and COYB.

Michael Evans
342 Posted 10/12/2012 at 09:36:56
Ken — You deserve a medal for the job you do on TW!

Sincere thanks.

Ciarán McGlone
346 Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:06:48
Far be it from me to disagree with ToffeeWeb royalty... but I can't see how Pienaar could be anywhere near MotM.

The amount of mistakes he made during that match was criminal: unforced errors, misplaced passes etc...

Bob McEvoy
347 Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:12:46
Ken... your reports are a joy to behold. Bloody marvellous!
Tony J Williams
349 Posted 10/12/2012 at 10:59:44
Yep, I'm with Ciaran on this, I thought Pienaar was having another stinker then he bangs one in.

Also, I don't think that the Spurs players were disputing the yellow as much as they were stating there was a foul by Fellaini just before Coleman was put through... and it was a foul by Fellaini, just one call that went our way.

Noel Early
350 Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:09:00
That's made me smile!

COYB — we can do this.....
Mike Rourke
351 Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:03:35
About 5 minutes before the fireworks I was busy berating Coleman and Pienaar for utter uselessness. Fortunately, and much to my delight, they made me eat my blatherings but MotM and "special mention"? I'm not having that.

It was Gibson by a country mile for me.

Dave White
353 Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:12:19
Agreed with others, cracking report as ever Ken.

I think what's interesting is the number of different players who are being touted for Man of the Match. I think that suggests there was a number of stand-out performances. I agree that it was one of the best days in a blue shirt for Coleman, thought Gibson's long balls were very good and to me Pienaar still looks like he's lacking in form, but then came up with the goods at the end.

For me the defences from both teams were on top but, saying that, we were the team that played the majority of the creative/attacking football and in that finally got the result our endeavour deserved. He who dares my son!!!

Steve Brown
356 Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:23:49
Is there a link between watching Everton and extreme levels of hypertension, stress and an early grave. The finale yesterday was brilliant but I really don't mind the odd 2-0 stroll in the park victory once in a while!

Well done to Coleman and Pienaar, they've both had a tough couple of months and their form was up and down yesterday. But they never stopped all game and between them turned the game around. Also, I look forward to Gibson becoming the player I think he is capable of – we simply look a better team and have a better shape when he plays.

Tony I'Anson
361 Posted 10/12/2012 at 11:38:57
Great report Ken. That's one that will stay in the memory for some time. Just wish I could have been there. Another 10-12 points to see out the year would suit us just fine.
Paul Kelly
368 Posted 10/12/2012 at 12:21:25
Quality report Ken.

Have you heard the noise for those two goals? Unbelievable.

Thought Gibson was MotM, the way he was spraying the ball round reminded of Hoddle or dare I even mention, Bernd Shuster.

Like Ken's description of Coleman likened to a Brazilian wing back, quality, the boy deserves the plaudit after that game.

Off to watch it again. Brilliant stuff.

COYB

Bob Parrington
376 Posted 10/12/2012 at 13:26:51
Great report again Ken!

I thought Gibson looked in control all game and would likely give him MotM but agree that Pienaar and Coleman looked lively, too, with Fellaini looking a bit listless.

Wow! What a crescendo!!! Great stuff.

Tony Sullivan
386 Posted 10/12/2012 at 15:11:17
'Vellios going all Beth Tweddle and Jelavic reacting like a robber's dog', priceless comments.
Thanks for a great report and like many others who can't get to the games keep up the great work, you really do bring the atmosphere of Goodison to your reports.
Christopher Timmins
391 Posted 10/12/2012 at 15:22:33
Ken, thanks for all the home reports in 2012, take a look at the table tonight, I hope it looks something similar at end of 38 games.

Happy Christmas to all!

Kevin Gillen
399 Posted 10/12/2012 at 16:13:52
Great report Ken, thank you. I watched the highlights on the telly last night and was struck by the fact that Osman had six shots at goal yet failed to score. His play to get into those positions was exceptional and he looked really unlucky with the first effort that Caulker blocked as I think it had Lloris beaten but he really should have banged one in. Come on Leon we know you've got goals in you!
Alan Khan
420 Posted 10/12/2012 at 19:15:19
Ken... You're a legend!!! Top report as always... I've still got tears in my eyes after that emotional end to the game... A majestic win if you ask me... And good on Big Nev for signing your DVD.

Christopher Arellano
432 Posted 10/12/2012 at 20:32:20
Thanks for the great match report.

As others have said, you did a wonderful job of describing the action but from the perspective of an eyewitness – and smart – fan who brought it all to life.

I appreciate that.

Dennis Stevens
433 Posted 10/12/2012 at 20:21:18
Yet another top quality report, Ken. I think a few journalists should have them as required reading!
Steve Mink
444 Posted 10/12/2012 at 22:34:25
Spot on as ever, Ken.

Thought we started to look better when Fell I dropped back a bit.

My MotM was Jelavic – worked his socks off and deserved his goal.

Russ Quinlan
497 Posted 11/12/2012 at 12:26:41
I was watching on a slow link on the PC and had the TW live forum on next to it. It appears the link was a good minute behind the live action so I saw you guys celebrating Peanuts goal before even the build up stared on the Link.

Then once it got to the first goal on the link, I then say JELLY!!!! all over the TW screen!

I waited for it to come on the link before I could believe we'd scored again and even then I was waiting for the linesman to rule it off for offside (incorrectly) like a few more this season so it was utter relive when it was all over!!!

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