Having got down the East Lancs Road pretty quickly I was amazed at the amount of cars parked in my normal spec and had to re-route slightly to find a place to park…still, I was in plenty of time and after a quick chippy, congregated in the pub with Gary, Sue, Simon, Gaz and Ste…quite a turnout for this one…particularly for a televised evening game.

We got the team news and it took us a while to realize Naismith and Jelavic were the ones to drop out from the win at West Ham…McCarthy making his first league start for Everton. As did Lukaku, playing up front on his own with Barkley supporting.

We still had roughly 30 minutes until kick off when Gary realized he’d left his season ticket at home. A more highly strung fellow such as myself would have jumped into a panic and ran at full steam to the Ticket Office to see about getting a duplicate ticket. Gary was more relaxed however, casually finishing his beer before strolling down to the Ticket Office. Upon taking our seats a little later, there he stood, big grin on his face in his seat long before us …it’s good to know Everton have some procedure in place for such misdemeanors as I’ll doubtless make the same error at some point in the future myself.

The teams took to the field amidst a vibrant evening atmosphere at Goodison Park. Everyone in positive spirits…these are positive times…and what a perfect start we made to the match too…Mirallas doing brilliantly…scampering down the right hand side and pulling a nice ball back across the box for Lukaku to sweep home. Tim Krul may feel he could have saved it but it didn’t matter to us. Everton ahead. Brilliant. Just brilliant…funnily enough prior to that Newcastle had overseen the better of the play.

This wasn’t the case after this goal however as this really gave Everton a lot of belief and we really penned Newcastle Utd back. Barkley flashed an effort wide and McCarthy also came close to scoring before Barkley did score on 25 minutes. Lukaku was instrumental again, playing a lovely reverse pass through for Barkley to run onto and bury the ball into the net. Barkley slid away in wild celebrations. It was great to see how much it meant to him. 2-0. “I’m starting to believe” said Ste. Gary and Gaz delighted. It really is a breath of fresh air to see us playing such positive, attacking football.

We weren’t finished before the break either…this time Tim Howard with the assist, the American pumping the ball long, dreadful defending by Coloccini, the ball bouncing into the penalty box, Krul also making a hash of it and it was just left for Lukaku to make a further mockery out of Coloccini before smashing the ball into the empty net. 3-0 and with only 37 minutes on the clock. Gary doubly happy as he had a bet on him scoring two or more goals on the night. Goodison was rocking as Everton made light work of putting Newcastle Utd to the sword. Newcastle tried to fight back almost instantly but Everton kept the door shut and we went into half time wondering not if we’d score again…more so wondering how many we were likely to score.

We could have all the positivity in the world but this is Everton and these things are seldom done easily. Right at the start of the second half Gouffran edged away from Jagielka and managed to flip the ball past Howard but the ball came back off the inside of the post with the ground expecting it to nestle into the corner. That was a big let off but Cabaye had other ideas and on 51 minutes unleashed a quite splendid curling drive into the corner of the net to give Newcastle hope.

We managed to steady the ship for the most part of the half and with a bit more composure in the box could have gotten the game to 4-1 and likely completely out of sight for Newcastle though of course this wasn’t the case and in the 89th minute Remy capitalized on some generally slack defending by Jagielka to make it 3-2. Jon Stones was even thrown on to plug some gaps at the back as we had to suffer through four agonizing minutes of stoppage time but thankfully we came out of it on the other side, 3-2 victors and deservedly so. We really should have been out of sight but as always did it the hard way.

Nevertheless, we maintain our status as the only team unbeaten in the league this season and sit in a Champions League place six games into the season. It’ll be difficult to maintain that momentum with a visit to Manchester City on Saturday without Gareth Barry, though whatever happens at Eastlands you would have to say well done to Roberto Martinez for such a fantastic start to the season.

Not bad Roberto. Not bad at all.

Player Ratings:
Howard: Excellent with his hands…not so with his feet…despite being credited with an assist. 7
Baines: Grew into the game and made a good impact in the second half both in attack and defence. 7
Distin: Made some great blocks and clearances…in the first half in particular. 6
Jagielka: Not quite as solid as Distin but did just fine. 6
Coleman: Had an excellent game both in defence and attack. Caused them problems all evening. 8
Barry: Had a quietly effective game. Will be missed next weekend for sure…the thought of Heitinga playing in defensive midfield does not inspire at all. 6
McCarthy: Did show some classy moments. Will need time to adapt to his new surroundings but there were a lot of positives to his play today. He is a very busy player throughout the pitch. 7
Osman: Had a good game and justified his inclusion. Probably his best game yet this season. 7
Mirallas: As has been his season – very in and out. Wonderful work for our opening goal and there were other moments of class but at other times he seems to disappear from the game. Last season I remember him being much more involved and taking players on a lot more. I hope he can get that back because he can be a very important player to us. 6
Barkley: Excellent. Great to see him score and perform such a good shift. Still learning when to pass…when to shoot etc but will only get there with games…and games is a thing he arguably would not be getting a lot of right now if Moyes was still his boss. 7
Lukaku: My Man of the Match. Two goals and an assist…he was just brilliant. He’s such a handful for defenders and has done so well to hit the ground running and start scoring goals so quickly. Surely he can only get better. 9

Deulofeu (for Mirallas): Did quite well. Is extremely difficult to take the ball from…just needs to learn when to pass in key areas. 6
Naismith (for Barkley): Was busy and won a few headers. 6
Stones (for Osman): Not on long, can’t judge.

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Gareth Fieldstead
751 Posted 01/10/2013 at 04:07:46
Isn't Gibson fit Paul? Great summary. Being greedy I thought a fourth would have really turned it into a hammering. Not so long ago footballers, commentators, pundits etc would talk about a cushion of a two goal lead, now if it's Everton we need 4 to avoid heart attacks! Great start to the season and the bench looks so strong. A load of options if required. Hopefully Peanuts is fit on Saturday and they keep the run going.
Dick Fearon
753 Posted 01/10/2013 at 03:52:40
Well done Paul and Ken, a good game that made my 2.30 am alarm call well worth it but we could and should have scored more. Newcastle came to life in the second half, was that because we took our collective foot of the gas. I wonder?

Roberto's timing and use of subs were a bit too Moyes-like. Both of them see something in Osman that baffles me.

In the second half, Newcastle were easily dominating in the midfield and with a smidgen of luck could have won. At the 60-minute stage, Leon loses his edge and that's when he should be subbed. Alternatively, that is when he could be used as a super sub.

Jamie Sweet
756 Posted 01/10/2013 at 04:34:58
Mark Pakulak - I fear that you are getting a slightly false impression of what it's like being an Everton fan. It wasn't always this much fun you know!

I think to strike a balance, you should watch some footage of the Walter Smith era whilst sticking pins in your eyes so you get an idea of what we've been through.

Unbeaten in the league since you started following the mighty blues.though fella, so please don't stop watching. You are obviously a lucky charm!

Eric Myles
764 Posted 01/10/2013 at 06:20:21
My abiding memory of our last home game against Newcastle a couple of seasons ago was defending a 3-1 lead for the last 30 minutes camped in our own half.

So how refreshing to see us go out and try to add to the score sheet after half time, although still an anxious end to the game, especially with all the mistakes we made.

Danny Broderick
788 Posted 01/10/2013 at 08:24:55
Hopefully Gibson can fill in for Barry on Saturday...
Alan Humphreys
867 Posted 01/10/2013 at 12:52:59
Off topic but Eric (734) my abiding memory of the 2-2 draw against them was coming back to my Ford Focus to find the window smashed in and stereo gone (hope the knob who did it got what he deserved in life).

Thinking forward to Saturday, if Gibson is fit he'll slip nicely into the Barry Role, as Barry did himself to the Gibson role.

Finally, we have a real squad to choose from, one that has genuine starters and competition for places rather than those sitting on the bench, never a hope of getting a game.

Raymond Fox
877 Posted 01/10/2013 at 14:03:29
Thanks Paul, your right, they always give us the willies somehow, and my hearts not the best.

Just to go off topic, we've gone from 20/1 at the start of the season, to 7/1 now, to finish in the top 4, some change that!
I was joking with Kevin Tully pre season that we had no chance of a top 4 finish, its still a tall order but its looking like its a possibility!

Kevin Tully
882 Posted 01/10/2013 at 14:34:41
Ray - the bookies have ran for cover!!

We were 22/1 for top 4 before the Chelsea game, then 12/1 last night, now as you say they've lopped us down to 7/1.

A top 6 finish has come in to 9/4 from 6/1.

Sam Higgins
893 Posted 01/10/2013 at 14:42:46
Yes, I do giggle when our younger supporters see Everton 2013 as the way its always been.

Afraid not - imagine this, if you will, lining up against the red shite.

Steve Simonsen;
Mirch Ward, Carl Tiler, Marc Hottiger, Earl Barrett;
Claus Thomsen, Nicolas Alexandersson, Danny Williamson, John Oster;
Ibrahim Bakayoko, Michael Branch.

I'm just glad internet streams were not available back in the day, it was painful enough watching teletext reload every 2 minutes.

Sam Higgins
895 Posted 01/10/2013 at 15:00:09
Carl Tiler and Mitch Ward.
Oh God.
It was a double swoop, both players for about 75p.
Shudder, shudder.

Raymond Fox
899 Posted 01/10/2013 at 15:19:39
Yeah Kev, & muggins here hasn't had a bet on anything.
We've both been singing the praise of RM from the start of the season at that!
Couldn't really see us having a start like this though.
Harold Matthews
903 Posted 01/10/2013 at 15:24:41
You've definitely over-rated Howard, Jags and Naismith.
James Hughes
922 Posted 01/10/2013 at 16:52:33
Sam 893 Hell of a team there mate, I don't recall Barrett, is that 'cos he never got a game or has my memory gone? (The latter you obviously can't answer)

Branch's nickname was jigsaw because he went to pieces in the box, maybe we should pass that moniker onto Jelavic.

Bakayoko I have a soft spot for, as whenever I played league manager, on playstation, someone always came in and paid millions for him allowing me to rebuild.

Allow me to add Brett Angell to the subs bench please.

Michael Kenrick
929 Posted 01/10/2013 at 17:37:12
You don't remember Earl Barrett!!?!
Graham Mockford
931 Posted 01/10/2013 at 17:58:12

I think it was Stuart Barlow who first earned the sobriquet 'Jigsaw'.

As for Earl Barrett, we never saw the best of him at Everton. Bought by Joe Royle who had managed him previously at Oldham, he suffered a re-occurring knee injury which he played with for most of the time with us.

In his prime at Villa and Oldham he was a decent full back, strong and combative. Good enough in fact to earn three England caps.

James Hughes
932 Posted 01/10/2013 at 17:57:33
Hi Michael. no I don't, not at all, not even a shadow of a memory. I just looked him up on Google.

When he played for us coincided with both my children being born and being a Chef meant long weekends working at that time. I even had tickets for the 1995 FA Cup Final and couldn't get time off. Sold them to a southern Manc — he had a great time with us!!!

Paul Travers
935 Posted 01/10/2013 at 18:20:12
Earl Barrett, the opposition would drop off 20 yards when he had it because they knew he couldn't pass the ball! Good athlete mind... pity it was football he was getting paid for.
Jimmy Sørheim
018 Posted 02/10/2013 at 00:09:04
For me Mirallas has been a big let down so far this season.
He is nowhere near the form he showed last season.

Osman finally came back to life in this game, he had his best game so far this season.

Lukaku is our king, noone gets close to what he gives us.

I hope that at least Kone can find some form during the season, as Jelavic is a total mess.
I would pinpoint one negative thing, we seem to have less match fitness throughout the squad then when Moyes was here.

So it will take a bit longer for players such as Gibson, Kone, Pienaar and Mirallas to hit peak.

I can see a big difference in the lack of top fitness in this squad compared to Moyes era.

However, it is the results that matter, and if we can come away from Ethiad with at least a point I will be very happy.

I fear we will be crushed at Ethiad, citing the lack of 100% fit first team players.
The defence still shows rustyness despite being six games into the season.

I think we looked tired in the second half, and I think we will get punished against City, but I hope Lukaku can save us at east a point.

Too many soft goals conceded this far, I just think the whole squad needs at least 2-3 games before we can say they are properly top fit to handle a long season with very tough games.

As Barry is not able to play I fear Gibson will take his place, but as we all saw he is so far from match fit as can be.

As they say, now comes the acid test against Manchester City.

David Ellis
033 Posted 02/10/2013 at 05:34:30
Same (893)
Danny Williamson (Elvis) was a decent player - but injury did for him (he was injury prone before we bought him so quite what we were thinking I don't know - one of the reasons I am pleased when we swerve from players who don't pass the medical).

Earl the "Pearl" Barrett. Very quick. Could tackle like Tony Hibbert but could only dream of being able to pass and control the ball half as well as Tony. The fact that he had 3 England caps in the early 90s gives the lie to the foreigners in the Premier League being the cause of lack of decent English players. The cause is much deeper than that.

But you are right - a shocking team - no wonder we struggled to win a game back then,

Tony Marsh
132 Posted 02/10/2013 at 16:21:03
I don't get all this "Osman had his best game of the season" nonsense here and on other threads. It wouldn't be hard for Osman to improve on what he has shown so far this season but, the last time I looked, a football match lasted 90 minutes. Let me break down Osman's performance on Monday night:

Started off seeing plenty of the ball and made a few neat and tidy passes but none of them really damaging. Around the 30-mins mark, Osman was involved in some neat and tidy build-up play, none of it damaging; he got caught out and left his defender exposed at times as he got drawn more central. On the whole, a decent (but nothing special) 45 minutes.

Second half... erm, Ozzie, where are you, mate? Leon was absolutely goosed by 50 minutes and never did a thing apart from go too far forward and leave gaps. Around the 60-65-minute mark, you know Osman is totally shot when he keeps falling over or getting brushed easily off the ball. By 70 minutes, he totally faded and you would think he had gone home. Watch the replay and tell me I am wrong.

In my book, if a player stays on the pitch for the full 90 mins, he must perform for the full 90 mins to have had a good game. PLEASE stop defending Osman as he is a liability and has been for years. He went walkies on Monday night and he can no way last for a full shift – any more now than he could do in that disastrous FA Cup Final in 2009. Osman hasn't got any better or stronger with age, believe me.

Iain Johnston
184 Posted 02/10/2013 at 19:59:50
Graham 931. He was sent off on his debut at Newcastle. He never liked pushing forward. I remember we'd all (was it your brother Pete?) scream at him from the Glwadys! but, yeah, I thought he'd be useful too. Can't believe barndoor Barlow is my age now!
Ray Atteveld! thought he was Swayze!

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