Still no Phil Jagielka for Everton but Gerard Deulofeu was given a starting place, with Aiden McGeady, Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley starting the game against Sunderland on the bench, where Tony Hibbert and Antolin Alcaraz have also featured for a number of matches now, but have not been called upon. We should not forget either, that five other first-team players are still out injured...
Sunderland kicked off and it was scrappy for a few minutes, Coleman getting fouled, plenty of turnovers as the contest developed a little slowly, Coleman overlapping and Lukaku deemed to have headed wide. McCarthy pushed Ki, allowing Borini to turn and shoot following a free-kick.
Sunderland won the first corner, from which Deulofeu broke but decided to do it all himself and ran into a cul-de-sac. Lukaku then had a shot at Mannone. Everton created a trendous chance, Baines playing in Naismiith well, the Scot turning superbly to create space and them hammering the ball past Manonne and over the Sunderland goal, when it looked easier to burst the net!
Osman won Everton's first corner with a deflected shot, then Baines was blocked by Johnson, who became the first booking of the match, Baines's free-kick outswinging a little too much. Deulofeu was the next to be fouled, his low free-kick unimpressive.
Everton were passing the ball well and getting it forward but it wasn't really rolling for them, as moves kept breaking down. Baines was penalised wide on the Everton left, but Johnson's free-kick passed through harmlessly. At the other end, Lukaku won a corner off O'Shea but again Deulofeu's delivery was poor, his second was better... then he won a free-kick wide left that Baines curled in but Deulofeu's touch returning the clearance was poor.
With Everton caught a little in defence, Borini got around Howard and looked to finish but there was John Stones, perfectly positioned to block the certain goal behind, for a worrying escape. At the other end, Lukaku scuffed a shot that was deflected wide but Baines's corner at least caused some concern.
Everton's play was impressive at times, with Barry playing masterfully in midfield, and some good interplay won Osman a free-kick off Colback but Baines played the set-piece poorly into the wall. Everton were showing some rare vulnerabilities at the back, requiring some last-ditch defending, especially a superb block by McCarthy to deny Johnson.
A nice move down the Everton right saw a great cross delivered in by McCarthy but Naismith didn't get enough behind his glanced header that took the ball away from Osman, following up. Not a great first half for the Blues.
Sunderland put some decent effort in after the break, forcing Everton onto the back foot a little until a good move gave Deulofeu the chance for a few stepovers and a low cross that Mannone pounced on. At the other end, Coleman was nutmegged and then booked as Everton survived the threat, Bardsley getting booked after a bad challenge on Naismith. That led to another lively move involving Deulofeu that came to nought.
A Sunderland corner caused absolute havoc and Baines did very well to clear a ball that had Everton at sixes and sevens as Osman was replaced by Barkley. Another superb Johnson corner was headed away by McCarthy and another viscous ball in to the far post almost caught Everton out again.
Another fantastic piece of work by Deulofeu, his low shot skidding past the far post when a pullback to Naismith would have been a certain goal as the pace of the game became electric. Naismith anticipated a mistake by Mannone who headed the ball into his path but the finish was poor as Naismith hooked the ball wide of the gaping goal.
Some better football from Everton saw Lukaku cross and Barkley had a lot to do just to reach the fast high cross, forcing Mannone to save at the near post as neither side was controling the play in a game that had signs of going either way, with a Baines corner headed wide. Everton tried the slow and measured build-up, Barkley firing one just wide to end the move.
Deulofeu again went on his trade-mark stepover run and this time it produced a result, the most fortuitous of own-goal, the ball clipping off Wes Brown and past Mannone into the Sunderland net,. The breakthrough Everton so desired, the cruelest luck for Sunderland.
McGeady replaced Deulofeu as Sunderland pushed hard, Ki forcing a save off Howard, then blasting a difficult one over the Everton bar as the Blues chorus resounded around the Stadium of Light. Wickham was next to put Howard to the test with a low bobbling shot. Then Borini flashed one wide across Howard's far post as the Blues struggled to hold on to the ball or deny the home side a final desperate flourish.
Larsson. bizarrely booked for taking a free-kick too soon, and Distin was booked for a barge as the Stadium of Light, bathed in sunshine, emptied out, Johnson's set-piece effort straight into Howard's arms.
A vital if somewhat unconvincing win for the Blues... seven in a row for Martinez, in his first season... Everton up into the Champions League places, in his first season. Fantastic stuff from Roberto Martinez!
Scorer: Brown (og:75')
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley Y:54', Alonso, O'Shea, Brown, Cattermole, Ki, Colback (70' Larsson Y:87'), Johnson Y:17', Wickham, Borini.
Subs not Used: Gardner, Giaccherini, Cuéllar, Vergini, Scocco, Ustari.
Everton: Howard; Coleman Y:51', Stones, Distin Y:90', Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu (78' McGeady), Naismith, Osman (58' Barkley); Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Hibbert, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Mirallas.
Referee: Lee Probert
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545 Posted 12/04/2014 at 14:40:18
549 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:03:34
I'm in Africa so not seen anything of the game today - how did the team play; did Stones play well again??
Bit of paybacks for the Mackems for the defeat at Goodison — we look great sitting in fourth spot.........COYB's
550 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:02:02
We really should have wrapped the game up with two excellent counter-attacking opportunities near the end. I'm not complaining. COYB.
551 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:10:30
552 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:09:26
553 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:10:37
555 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:14:05
557 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:22:02
558 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:24:29
559 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:23:56
66 points is now a PL record for us with 5 to play, and we have matched the record of 19 wins in a PL season.
The bookies don’t think there’s much in it now - after today we are 11/10 with Arsenal just odds-on at 5/6.
Can’t wait for the next two games.
560 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:39:00
561 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:23:57
Though I think The Arse are still favourites, we still have everything to play for. If we get 4th... Great! If not, I’m sure we will finish in the top 4 next season.
I’m 63 yearrs old and supported Everton all my life and am lucky in that I have seen us win League titles and trophies but as far as I am concerned that is not the be all and end all. I love Everton and will do until I die. I have lots of memories about the Blues and it’s impossible to compare teams of different generations. My idols are Ball, Kendall and Harvey, but I am really exited about what we can achieve under Roberto.
562 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:40:37
564 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:39:12
Lukaku and Naismith nowhere near as effective as last week. I thought Gerard looked terrible first half and needed taking off, but just goes to show what can be achieved with perseverance.
Looking forward to the season decider tomorrow between the RS and Man City, just thinking it could go either way when I saw the name of the ref: Clattenberg
Does Brian Barwick (red neck) still have a say in such matters at the FA???
565 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:40:47
Said to myself "I'd take a 1-0 win with an own goal off a Sunderland backside." Who knew?
566 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:43:49
568 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:43:24
He was spot on.
Had Nais buried his chance in the first half, we might have opened them up a bit in the second, but while it was 0-0, it was never easy (that's no criticism of Nais, yes he should have buried it, but again he put in a shift and never let their backs settle).
Loved that Deulofeu kept 'trying to win the lottery' and eventually did.
By the way, Stones's Jags-style save was fantastic and showed great thinking.
Other than that, hope City win 6-0 and... Up the Toffees!
569 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:54:51
Only 6 points off Chelsea.
570 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:54:47
Games are coming thick and fast. Rest and recovery are crucial.
571 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:59:53
That was exactly my thoughts, how long have we watched the other crowds (by this I mean Man Utd, Chelsea etc, not just the kopites) win spawnily in the last five minutes?
If we can do this, then we are in there
572 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:01:26
573 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:02:19
574 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:51:59
575 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:05:03
576 Posted 12/04/2014 at 17:59:32
But what is increasingly impressive is our ability to win matches even when not at our best. I think it says a lot about the character of the side, and the addition of Barry and McCarthy to provide that solid defensive and ball winning base is the absolute foundation of the style that Martinez is creating.
I'd be certainly worried to lose Barry and I would expect him to be our number one priority on a two year deal. Gibson gives you different options but I don't really see him in that ball winning role.
Great news he didn't pick a card up today as there is now an amnesty on previously acquired yellows. However he will need replacing for the City game. Hopefully Pienaar is fit and one of Ross or Ossie can play a little deeper.
577 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:18:43
578 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:05:44
580 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:18:29
Now if the national media would even temporarily suspend their collective gushing/ cynical obsession with the top-four/ Spurs-Man.Utd, for just a moment, that would be just great..
Serious question: Does an unfit, out of practice Jagielka actually get into this side when he comes back? I'm genuinely concerned that he might fuck-up in a key game.
581 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:19:06
We've had our disappointing spells this season, like at the start before the deadline day (understandable) and Dec/Jan, but ultimately we have, with FIVE to play secured Everton's highest points total in the Premier League era, and winning seven on the bounce (so far).
A good season of transition for Martinez I'd say!
582 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:20:45
589 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:42:18
591 Posted 12/04/2014 at 18:56:53
That last 10 minutes was like watching amateurs. Couldn’t keep hold of the ball.
Del Boy was atrocious the first half, not much better the second but he can take a man on.
I thought it would have been easy after Naismith scored...... what do you mean he missed? Absolutely brilliant turn, piss poor finish. I was already celebrating and telling him how good a goal it was...then BALLOON!!
Winning ugly gets as many points as the Arsenal walk over, so that’ll do for me!
593 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:02:40
Is the headline apt? I though Del was poor in the first half.
595 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:04:31
597 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:03:48
599 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:05:28
COYB - keep it going lads.
603 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:19:18
Arsenal playing extra time in the semi does us a favour too, their energy levels will be sapped. Come on Wigan, smash their confidence even more!
604 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:25:43
I'm beginning to get excited. Getting 3 points when you're not playing well at desperate relegation battlers is a great sign. Perhaps an element of luck is involved but who cares.
Congrats to Martinez and his team. Onto the next one.
605 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:30:29
Fingers crossed Arse go out on penalties shortly, and are shattered for West Ham on Tuesday.
Speaking of penalties, any one up for a guess at what time in the game our lovable neighbours will get the first of their penalties from Clattenburg tomorrow? I’ll go for around the 40th minute.
Keep it going Blue boys.
607 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:32:45
What a season! Keep it going Blues!!!
611 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:53:48
612 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:58:35
613 Posted 12/04/2014 at 19:58:25
He looked dangerous all game despite sometimes being frustrating and he won us the game. Well done lad !
I think RM needs to shuffle the pack again on Wednesday as pace is the key against Palace. If we have a slow build up , which was often the case today, it will suit them down to the ground.
However, the result is all that matters so COYB !!!
614 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:03:59
615 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:08:40
Naismith said only this morning that Martinez has a different game-plan for each match and players expect to be dropped depending upon the opposition.
It’s easy to just name your best 11 every game, but that’s where fatigue will set in, exactly when we need a fresh squad. I don’t think there are many managers who would have dropped Barkley and Mirallas today after their displays against Arsenal - but that was precisely the right call.
As an aside, Barry cannot be suspended now for any yellow cards, today was the cut off point.
616 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:19:41
But we looked so lethargic at times and, whether that is that old mentality coming in to play where against the big-hitters we raise our game, I don't know... but we'll have to be at full throttle on Wednesday as Pulis's team will be relaxed and we will have to play our best to get the desired result.
620 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:37:05
This manager is a breath of fresh air and, regardless of where we finish, he’s done wonders! What a feeling he’s give us... I can’t believe it.
I honestly thought we’d have to take a couple of steps back this season but the way he’s brought us on is nothing short of miraculous. I even had the bitterest of reds in the pub last night waxing lyrical about him. I love Everton!
622 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:46:25
Both Spurs and Utd can reach a maximum of 72 points. Everton only need 7 more points (out of possible 15) to reach 73 points (in the case of Spurs, 72 points would be enough because of vastly superior goal difference).
There is no way that we will finish lower than 6th. 5th is highly likely and 4th is now a realistic possibility as Arsenal, unlike Everton, are not in a good run of form - and may be saving something for the Cup Final.
623 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:55:47
627 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:58:16
Perfect result to deflate Arsenal and put the pressure on them. Stones is just boss and there’s no way he can be dropped after seven in a row, no way.
631 Posted 12/04/2014 at 21:06:06
Robert 622, the FA Cup Semi went better than I thought. Arsenal through with penalties, I think the thought of cup final glory will keep them distracted. Schedule wise, it’s probably not going to matter much but the distraction should keep their poor form running. Who knows, maybe Hull will roll over to save some in the tank against them in the Final too!
633 Posted 12/04/2014 at 21:35:09
After reading both your comments I recall how dominant we are, say over the past few weeks and how meek we are during those tough matches in the late Jan to early March stretch.
There are pros and cons to both methods of team selection and results will always vary when players have bad games and matchups sometimes.
I trust RM to have learnt from that bad stretch in Feb though to have a more solid idea of how our players will matchup against our opponents and very excited for the ManU game. Not so much City especially if they lose tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll win out and improve upon the squad in before and after the WC.
Question though. Is Barry only going to miss ManC game after this? I read somewhere that if he avoids a yellow in the Sunderland game, his yellow cards count will be reset. Is that correct?
635 Posted 12/04/2014 at 20:14:19
I have seen a Roberto's Everton that are not so cavalier for the second week running. It shows NOW, in my opinion, we are the best side in the premier league.
We are not punching above our weight.
As Elvis sang, To dream the impossible dream.
Ally ally ally oooooo.
637 Posted 12/04/2014 at 21:57:52
I feel the crunch games for Arsenal will be West Brom (h) and Norwich (a) which is their last game of the season.
Roberto said it would go down to the last day, and it seems he got that right as well! I love the fact we are only 8 points off the top of the League with 5 to play. Absolutely incredible.
644 Posted 12/04/2014 at 22:27:20
I do enjoy the fact you mentioned that we're 8 points off summit. When was the last time we've been this close to the top at this stage of the season?!
663 Posted 13/04/2014 at 00:04:09
Talk of dropping players is ludicrous, we are rotating players to conserve energy and reduce the risk of injury.
Jagielka needs to be fit to play for England is being nursed but he is still our first choice centre back along with Distin.
Stones is becoming really good but is still learning.
682 Posted 13/04/2014 at 03:08:56
We pay his wages, Sod what's best for the England Team until the season is over
050 Posted 14/04/2014 at 02:55:56
So many reasons to be happy!
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