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Last-Gasp Blues Steal Three Points

By Paul Traill   ::  09/12/2012 As I generally don’t have any agenda come Sunday evenings, on Sunday matches I tend to take advantage of my lack of evening plans and enjoy a few beers for the game. Today’s game was no exception though after a busy morning I’d left it a little late to catch my bus and so sprinted to the bus stop and just made it in time as the 437 pulled up. A friend of mine was co-incidentally getting the same bus and as stood there chuckling to himself as I ran for the bus. “You OK mate?” he joked. Myself, practically out of breath.

Still, making this bus ensured I was also making good time and I made it to the pub well in time for the Manchester derby, as was the plan. Gaz in there before me and Rooney’s two goals putting Manchester United 2-0 ahead before half-time.

Gary joined us a little later and then Steve even later as we neared kick off. The team – Mirallas and Coleman both back in with Naismith benched and Hibbert presumably injured. Gareth Bale missed this one with injury though Spurs had excellent players throughout their XI such as Walker, Dembele, Lennon, Dempsey, Defoe and Adebayor who all featured. Although the 36,494 attendees didn’t fill Goodison Park, it had the look of a full stadium though the atmosphere was a little flat as Kevin Friend got the game underway, Everton attacking the Park End in the first half.

I thought Spurs were generally the better side in the opening exchanges, looking quite comfortable in possession and probing in our half of the pitch, though with just a long range Dembele drive (which was comfortable for Howard) to show for it. Everton did get themselves into some excellent attacking positions, particularly down the right hand side with Mirallas and Coleman combining to good effect though it was often the final ball which let Everton down despite good movement in and around the box.

At the other end of the pitch, trying to pass the ball out from the back was almost suicidal as Howard and then Osman both played sloppy passes which handed possession to Tottenham though they failed to produce anything from this. Despite good endeavor from both sides the half ended 0-0 with few noteworthy incidents from either team.

Kevin Mirallas didn’t make it out again for the second half with Steven Naismith on to replace him. We nearly took the lead early in the half when a Baines free kick was driven into the wall, his rebound effort was drifting harmlessly wide when Naismith stabbed it goalwards but also wide. Tottenham then really ramped up the pressure, a swirling free kick was tipped over his crossbar by Howard. This resulted in Everton having to defend four or five corners from Tottenham until we eventually cleared our lines.

Everton battled back and did have more good play in and around the Tottenham box though were unable to make the breakthrough. Osman twice came close, once when he just cleared the crossbar with a good drive with Lloris beaten, and the other when his shot was saved by Lloris.

There was little in the game however, though disaster appeared to strike in 75 minutes when Dempsey tried his luck with what can only be described as a ‘hit and hope’, his shot deflecting off Distin and into the net past Howard. I thought it had gone wide at first and was simply gutted to find us a goal down when there had been so little in a tight game.

You just couldn’t see where a goal was coming from for Everton and had Lady Luck shinned for Tottenham we’d have found ourselves 0-2 behind when Sigurdsson’s lob bounced off the crossbar. That deserved a goal and could easily have been game over.

Still, at 0 - 1 you are always in the game and though our play wasn’t pretty in the dying moments as we chased an equalizer, it was ultimately effective as we somehow stole the points.

Our first goal arrived after generally reckless Spurs defending eventually resulted in Coleman picking out Pienaar around the edge of the penalty area, the ex-Spurs player surprising Lloris and heading it goalwards first time and into the net. A better goalkeeper (Friedel) would have saved it but we were delighted to be level and save the game.

Four minutes of stoppage time were available and you sensed the momentum had swung so wildly in our favor that we could now go on and win the game. We did just that when Vellios spurned a wild attempt at some sort of overhead volley and Jelavic was there on hand to nick the ball past Lloris, the linesman's flag rightly staying down and Everton stole the points. The atmosphere and outburst of joy from the whole stadium was simply unique and is something you just can’t put a price on.

Jelavic was substituted shortly afterwards to kill some time and the plethora of ‘high fives’ which greeted him from his team mates (displayed on the big screen) was a joy to be hold. Great to see the team spirit and defy recent mischievous rumors regarding his spat with Mirallas. The full-time whistle was greeted with terrific applause.

It’s not the first time we’ve had a late show at home to Spurs. I remember Joe Max-Moore grabbing a late equalizer in the 1999-2000 season in this fixture and then in 2009-10 Cahill and Saha inspired a late comeback to draw 2-2 in a game which Defoe also missed an even later penalty. However, salvaging a win from this one was just euphoric and with Jelavic grabbing the winner hopefully that can be a platform for he, and indeed Everton to kick on for the rest of the season.

Coming home, Gaz, despite it ensuring it would take him well out of his way, kindly provided a welcome lift home for us all. Gaz used to drive everywhere taking us all to and from the game and it was a bit like old times coming home, all smiles after a fantastic, though probably underserved Everton victory.

Stoke City away next… bring it on!

Player Ratings:

Howard: Made some suicidal passes first half but was improved after the break, making one decent save from a free kick in particular. I’ll have to see the goal again before I question his efforts with that though. 6

Baines: Picked up an early booking but didn’t seem fazed by it. Was excellent and consistent going forward throughout the second half as Everton looked to edge ahead. 7

Distin: My Man of the Match. It was refreshing to see him heading balls out of the penalty area in a very ‘old-school’ manner in the first half and was a rock at the back throughout. 8

Jagielka: Swept up alongside Distin quite nicely. I think Heitinga is going to have to get comfortable on the bench for now. 7

Coleman: Had an impressive game. Defensively was quite sound and got forward to great effect and was rewarded with an assist. 7

Gibson: Played some very intelligent passes first half though wasn’t quite at the races in the second period. Kept on going though. 7

Osman: Was substituted on 80 minutes and this was probably justified as, despite twice coming close to scoring, he didn’t quite get going this afternoon. 6

Pienaar: Not everything worked but he certainly applied himself well against his old team and scored with an excellent header. Has stepped him game up a bit these last few games I feel. 7

Mirallas: Was doing quite well – not as well as he can but quite well... and then didn’t reappear for the second half. I hope he’s OK. 6

Fellaini: Also never quite got going as Spurs had done their homework on him. I guess we can’t expect him to pull it out of the bag for us every game. 6

Jelavic: Did a lot more chasing than previously and put a decent shift in. Some stupid moments though they were outweighed with intelligent use of the ball and he scored a beauty of a poacher’s goal at the death to give us victory. Please kick on from here. 7

Naismith (for Mirallas): Though he missed a great chance early in the second half, I felt that was his most impressive performance for Everton thus far. He worked hard, generally kept the ball well, challenged players, got up for headers and generally had a good all round game. More of that please. 7

Vellios (for Osman): We needed more of a presence up there as we went more direct. He certainly provided that and did cause problems but, despite his commendable endeavor, I question if he has the ability at the top level… it’s a good thing he missed his volley at the end as it presented the goal for Jelavic. Does that go down as an assist for Vellios? 5

Heitinga (for Jelavic): Not on long, probably didn’t even kick the ball. Can’t judge.

Reader Comments

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James Flynn
302 Posted 10/12/2012 at 00:21:30
Nice report, Paul. Thanks again.

I won't disagree with your ratings. I will add, Coleman seems to be rounding into a fine player.

On Vellios's missed header on goal. What the hell. About time one of those "mishaps" went our way. And what player his size has quicker feet than Jela?

Paul Ferry
308 Posted 10/12/2012 at 00:28:07
We didn't deserve to win the game????????? Distin MotM?????????????

We did deserve to win on balance, if only because we created more in the 1st 45 than they did in the 2nd 45. But that 2nd half performance until minute 89 was not good was it?

MotM? Hmmmmm, Gibson perhaps, even Coleman? And Miraas 6? Jeez. He was our best player in the 1st 45. Does he get a 6 coz he was taken off?????

Mirallas 8. Man of the First Half.
James Flynn
311 Posted 10/12/2012 at 01:01:02
By the way, thought Gibson terrific. Don't know if he'll live up to Moyes" "grab it by the scruff of the neck". Maybe he's not just that guy. But we're a settled team when he's in, no question.
Eric Myles
313 Posted 10/12/2012 at 01:04:43
Yes James, it's an assist for Vellios.
Si Cooper
315 Posted 10/12/2012 at 01:01:08
Like the report Paul, but don't understand the point you are making with your comment on Vellios's attempted over-head. Are you saying he shouldn't have tried it ? It was audacious (a good quality?) to try it and demonstrated some ability even to connect with it. If he had caught it just right and it had flown in it would have been a goal of the season contender; even if it had just forced a save Jelavic was looking for the rebound. As it was, it was only a partial contact but that took it beyond two defenders and rewarded Jela's excellent anticipation.

We will only find out if he is genuinely good enough when / if he gets a decent run in the team. Thus far most of his appearances have been as a late replacement in games we are chasing, and the last time he started the whole team were performing pretty badly in most people's opinion.

Tony Cheek
326 Posted 10/12/2012 at 05:33:58
Good as usual Paul.....I must be the only one who is wondering why Howard was so bleeding far out of his goal when Dempsey shot! If he was where he should have been it would have fell nicely in to his grasp...Another one he has to stand accountable for. Great win though. Especially with the RS winning without ratboy!
Derek Thomas
332 Posted 10/12/2012 at 07:16:39
Too right, Tony Cheek (#326); I've looked at Dempsey's shot, the deflection was slight to non-existent in terms of direction, but it did impart some downwards spin so when it crossed the line it was only a yard high.

Howard was too far off his line, the ball was still (just) rising as it went over him and he was no where near it downward spin or no.

His bad, yet again

Zaid Omar
334 Posted 10/12/2012 at 08:02:11
Good one Paul.. But I must disagree with you on Naismith in general. My view on him didn't change after yesterday. He still has a long way to go as currently he lacks total conviction and confidence. he is not adding much on the right side.

Hopefully Mirallas injury not too bad and he returns soon. You always feel something is gonna happen when Mirallas has the ball. I can't say the same for Naismith.
Andrew Ellams
341 Posted 10/12/2012 at 09:34:34
From 9th to 4th in 90 seconds. Hopefully this will be the result that pushes our season in the right direction. If we had lost I feel it would have been the one put us on a real backward slide.
Clarence Yurcan
384 Posted 10/12/2012 at 14:56:39
Great match report Paul. I was out at church Sunday morning (game started 10 am New York time) but was thrilled when I checked the results online. Anywhere I can see video of the two goals? The only video espn.com has is a post-match interview with AVB.
While the league title is probably out of reach after Man Utd pulled out a similar victory, I truly believe we can finish second. Chelsea is a disaster, and beating relegation-worthy Sunderland doesn't change that. Even City has been off this year and has needed a number of late goals to even be where they are. We have already proven we are better than Arsenal and Spurs. COYB!
Mike Gaynes
403 Posted 10/12/2012 at 16:38:09
Derek Thomas, I don't know what replay you were looking at, but I think it's your eyeballs that were spinning. The deflection clearly took the shot well up and over Howard. His positioning was fine -- you don't sit back on the line in that situation, you step up and challenge the shot. It was pure bad luck, and playing Blame The Keeper for every goal is just silly.
Ciarán McGlone
406 Posted 10/12/2012 at 17:11:56
I thought he was far too far out..he was on his own six yard line..However, he'd have never got it anyway... top corner.
Si Cooper
407 Posted 10/12/2012 at 17:02:03
Tony and Derek are obviously not goalkeeping afficionados if they think Howard should have been rooted to his line, presumably showing psychic ability by anticipating the deflection that looped the ball over him.

In the vast majority of situations narrowing the angles by closing the distance is the best course of action for a goalkeeper (which is why they can move laterally but not advance for penalties), and very few genuine attempted lobs come off.

This was a total fluke and no blame should be apportioned to Howard.

Danny O'Neill
439 Posted 10/12/2012 at 22:03:45
Tony Cheek,

It took a deflection and went over him. Had it not taken a deflection, Howard was actually in a good position. Play was far enough out for the keeper to come out and be in a good starting position to counter a through ball. Had play progressed to the edge of our box then yes, you expect the keeper to drop back towards his line.

Sorry, Howard (& other keepers) deserve criticism for genuine mistakes where due but not for bad luck surely.

Ray Roche
440 Posted 10/12/2012 at 22:21:59
Clarence Yurcan

Highlights should be on the Official Site pretty soon. You can also see extended highlights from recent matches. Enjoy...

David Barks
443 Posted 10/12/2012 at 22:27:03
Howard was off his line to cut down the angle. That's what a keeper does when the ball is that far outside the box, to try to avoid being beaten with anything other than a shot to the top corner. It was a freak deflection that with his positioning he would have easily saved if it had not been deflected.
Ian Bennett
446 Posted 10/12/2012 at 22:47:18
Spot on David.
David Hallwood
461 Posted 11/12/2012 at 00:42:14
Good report Paul, and I suppose it's a good thing that there were aa few MOM contenders, Mine was Gibson who oozed confidence and composure, and at times in the first half was like a quarter back pinging ball to the wide receiver.

BTW how many deflected goals have been scored against us this season

Ciarán McGlone
472 Posted 11/12/2012 at 08:58:10
The downside of narrowing the angles is that you can become blindsighted and susceptible to the angle over the top (i.e a lob)..Youve also less time to react..

Although he wouldnt have got to it, I still think his positioning was suspect..

A goalkeeper of his age should be coming into top form..he's not.

David Stewart
501 Posted 11/12/2012 at 13:07:44
Clarence (#384) — and anyone else by the way:

If you go to 101 Great Goals, you will see nearly every goal from every game from nearly every country. It is truly an amazing site. I've seen 10-second clips in Arabic to 10-minute highlights in English and everything possible in-between

Enjoy.
Clarence Yurcan
509 Posted 11/12/2012 at 14:07:19
Thanks Ray, also come some highlights on Footytube.com
Brian Garside
510 Posted 11/12/2012 at 13:45:07
Why do some people have to whine away and blame others when something goes against them? This is a trait I give our neighbours and say that we are above such nonsense. See things as they really are and accept that sometimes things go against you.

Throwing toys out of the pram mentality is again a trait which is used only by certain managers and immature / unknowledgeable supporters. Not everyone is perfect all the time. Professional sportsmen make fewer mistakes than the rest of us, that is why they play and we pay.

I have played as a `keeper and lay no blame at Howards feet for this one. Thanks for another enjoyable report.
Roberto Birquet
532 Posted 11/12/2012 at 13:31:51
Garth Crookes has Howard in his Team of the Week, for a "string of fine saves" vs Spurs. I went on Everton online to grab highlights again, as I couldn't remeber anything of the sort.

It shows a good save from a rasping free kick, and that's it. What he is he on about?

Anyway, the performance did not come close to some of the beeter games earlier in the bseason....Man U, Villa, Swansea, Newcastle, Southampton, Fulham. But we had luck against us for much of the last three months, but this time it was on our side. May have deserved to nick it, just, but I hope a better slice of luck will help bring the earlier performaces back.

But Stoke? I hate playing Stoke. Boom, boom, boom.

Trevor Lynes
944 Posted 13/12/2012 at 21:34:38
I reckon 'STEAL' in the article was way off the mark. When Everton have late goals scored against them its good moves or errors at the back and its nothing at all to do with stealing.

Stealing the points implies that we were outplayed and that is completely wrong! On balance we deserved at least a draw and a defeat would have been against the run of play.

Gary Hughes
960 Posted 14/12/2012 at 01:56:23
Personally I thought we were shite against Spurs, although MotD2 & every match report I read seemed to be unanimous in the belief that we were worthy winners. No-one can argue with the fact that, after so many stoppage time disasters this season, we were due something to go our way.

Regarding Tim Howard, I think he's a liability & is regularly at fault for goals conceded (Norwich immediately springs to mind). However, on this occasion I think it's unfair to blame a keeper for being beaten by a looping deflection. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent things like that.

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