Sunday soon came around after Wednesday night, and playing Man Utd at home certainly concentrated minds. The result v Palace was put down to manager error and the team, as relayed by social media, seemed to suggest lessons had been learned. All around L4, Blue was the colour and Moyes chants were the sound.

Our Room of Nonsense soon filled to overflowing as the mood reflected the atmosphere every time we entertain the Mancs – but this time with the added edge of our falling out with one David Moyes – and that edge was cutting to say the least. Even before entering the ground, I heard a new one to me. It went along the lines of "Stuck with Moyes, Man Utd, Stuck with Moyes, playing football in a negative way."

Every now and then we pick up little gems in our very own Theatre of Dreams and the fella who is mates with one of our main physios said all the lads were fit and raring to go and very upbeat. Scepticism is also our middle name after years of tips and tall tales but today the display certainly backed his statement up. It was bedlam as fans left for the ground and the walk-up was a treat for those of a musical disposition. Goodison Road was chocca and you could not tell who was queuing at outlets and who was making their way to turnstiles. Groups of fans marched singing anti-Moyes songs whilst heading for the Street End. It reminded me of how this club really need some success so that again we can see these scenes as common place as we did in those glorious sixties and eighties.

Into the ground and, from the first bar of Z-Cars, the ‘Goodison Roar’ was heard and set the scene for the rest of the afternoon. Don’t know who won the toss but we were attacking the Park End. The way Man Utd started belied the fact that, by the end, the Blues would have a relatively easy win to celebrate, and Moyes’s rough ride from the off would get no better as soon it became clear Martinez had a game plan that could have been garnered from some of our defeats rather than successes as we were happy to allow Man Utd the ball – but only up to a point –and then we funnelled, pounced and broke up their play and countered quickly.

From the antics of Moyes and Neville, from time to time racing out to bawl instructions from the technical area, they too had noticed. Martinez meanwhile ignored such antics and stood imperious, resplendent in brown shoes as overseer in chief, as his charges, although behind on possession, were by far the more dangerous side; this was demonstrated when a Lukaku knockdown found the ever willing Naismith with the whole goal to shoot at but he rather hurried the shot and the ball found Row N in the Park End.

It was a great atmosphere but only to a point as the fans, although boisterous and loud, seemed to be waiting for us to get our noses in front before really letting rip. We came close when a Naismith shot hit a Man Utd defender in the box and an appeal from our players and an almighty ‘Hand-Ball!!!’ cry from the terraces left our Ref Clattenberg to wave such appeals away.

As the half-hour mark approached, the possession and pretty play from Man Utd was easy on the eye until 20 yards from goal, then our Rottweiler middle line and defenders rendered them impotent. Then, on the half hour, another good joined-up break got Lukaku in and his goal-bound shot was clearly handled; even as reluctant as all refs are in giving pens, Clattenberg really had no choice. Up stepped Baines and all the delaying tactics were redundant as our ace penalty taker strode forth, waited for the keeper to guess and go, and hit it down the middle. 1-0, thank you very much, and the Blue army celebrated in some style all around the ground.

Fifteen minutes to the break and the last thing we wanted was to leak one and bring them back into the game. It could be argued that Man Utd went for us and players had to be vigilant and fans patient as we mopped up their efforts and continued to break at pace to unsettle their rearguard. Although they attacked, I always felt we were in control of that and indeed welcomed them coming forward so that we could hit hard and fast the other way.

From such a scenario, just two minutes shy of the break, the ever dangerous Coleman was involved as he sped past defenders, found Mirallas who was also having a good game and he cut in from the right and hit one just inside the far post leaving De Gea beaten. The joy was unbridled and Moyes was not seen until the half time whistle went.

Half-time and everyone upbeat yet, in many a conversation, the match v Palace was brought up in a sort of ‘What If’ way...

The players appeared for the second half along with the fourth official with his electronic board to announce that Distin had been replaced by Alcaraz. Many a ‘Phew’ was heard as Distin had played well, and his pace was always welcome as well as Man Utd still had the speedy Welbeck to enter the fray, if they so wished. We need not have worried as we seemed to sense we had the measure of the team of ‘The Chosen One’ as long as we stayed focused. To this end, many a player shone, and none more than McCarthy with his non-stop running and aggressive fights for the ball, one of which saw the ‘Croxteth Kid’ give him a kick that needed lengthy attention; no free kick though, so on we went with Coleman scaring the hell out of them with his pacey bursts and link-ups with Mirallas who was definitely having one of his very good games.

Such was the occasion, the time was racing by, and all looking good for the Blues with Howard rarely troubled, if at all... the swift breaks looking goal-worthy with every sortie forward. Naismith almost made it a perfect 4-0 when first from a great run from Coleman and an intelligent cross from Mirallas saw him fire over as he raced in. Then, not long after, he made room for himself and from the edge of the box curled one to the far post with pace that De Gea did well to push for a corner from a fine diving save.

On 70 minutes, Barkley, who had got through a tremendous amount of work without being eye-catching but invaluable to the team, was replaced by Osman. He gave us an injection of craft and guile and experience yet it was he who gave the underworked Howard a job to do late on when his pass back to Baines was woefully short, a bit like that cock-up with Howard that saw Sunderland beat us on Boxing day. Him conceding possession saw Rooney played in and Howard did well to react with speed and block at Rooney’s feet and away for a corner which was wasted.

We cheered that. In fact, we would cheer anything at that moment. That was the end of their pathetic efforts for today and the clock ticked down and on to the 90; then 4 more were added. More of the same and we ended the match in cruise control. It may well be recorded that Man Utd had the lion’s share of possession but it was Everton who had the tactics and the will to see them through that led to a pretty straight-forward victory that, in some ways, reminded me of the Ali rope-a-dope fights. We sucked them in, saw them off and hit them hard.

Beating Man Utd has happened before, accompanied with some "backs to the walls" and "a little luck" descriptions but this season beating them home and away and to nil (Agg. Score 3-0) should fend off any hard-luck stories from even the most biased of onlookers.

For those interested in such things, many an anthem was sung out, including: "You’re getting sacked in the morning" and all with venomous conviction. There was no need to sing "You’re not singing any more" to the Mancs as they had already left or were sulking.

MotM. – So many to choose but for me it was McCarthy, only just, but I will stick with it.

The walk back for the inquest was all light-hearted and jolly yet a definite undercurrent of ‘That bloody Palace result’... but hey, we are still one point behind the Gunners and this is football, which is almost unpredictable, so you just never know and doesn’t that result today almost seal our passage to one Euro competition? Let’s just get as many points as we can and the league table will tell us how well we have done over 38 games.

This will be as good a season as we have had for many a year and should be celebrated as such. Yet, it could turn out to be a most disappointing one after threatening so much, so let’s hope for three more wins and then hope even harder — you never know.

Southampton next and, with all personnel fit, let’s hope our manager is as cute as he was today with the tactics.


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Patrick Murphy
832 Posted 20/04/2014 at 23:45:20
Nice report once again Ken and I believe with the proper investment in the Summer we could do as well again next season. But no reflection on your report by the way I am getting mightily sick of the BBC et al pointing out how all our better players are players that David Moyes bought to the club, wasn't that what we paid the guy so much money to do? Or was the dour one doing us a favour by being here for so long?

I also read a report or blog in one of the newspapers where Ian Ross was supposed to have slagged OFM by stating that he rejected a list of players who according to Ross would have made quite a team.

Bill Kenwright this is your last chance mate - give Roberto the necessary funding so that he can add to the squad, if you can't then get out of the way as we now have a team and a manager who understand what the fans want and we want more of the same next season.

Keith Glazzard
838 Posted 21/04/2014 at 00:18:50
McCarthy is amazing and getting better. Good choice.
Mike Gaynes
841 Posted 21/04/2014 at 00:32:32
Thought Mirallas shaded MOTM. Great goal and created mutliple chances.
Jamie Barlow
842 Posted 21/04/2014 at 00:30:30
Great report Ken and I agree it's so hard to pick a Motm.

I'd go for Seamus but only just ahead of McCarthy and Mirallas who I thought had his best game for us. He was non stop all game topped off with a quality taken goal.

McCarthy was an animal. Some of his tackles were a throw back to when you COULD tackle.

Seamus was just on another level again though. Every club in Europe are going to be after this lad if he carries on like this. When he is on his game, there's no stopping him.

I thought Clattenberg had a good game too.

Andy McNabb
844 Posted 21/04/2014 at 00:56:16
No better way to arrive back in Oz from Canada to a host of COYB texts!!

We were over the Pacific when it happened. Would have LOVED to be there.

Well done lads.

Alan Humphreys
848 Posted 21/04/2014 at 01:08:08
Makes the Palace result even more hard to take... Hell, we'd be 3rd let alone 4th!

Good report as ever.

Anto Byrne
857 Posted 21/04/2014 at 01:10:16
I know that Rooney is on £300k a week but, in all honesty, would any of us want to pay to go and watch him play? I reckon Martinez would turn him back into a world class player that everyone fears.

According to Moyes, his Man Utd were the best team and only a couple of dodgy defending errors were the difference between the two sides. Really??? I must have been watching another game or perhaps when you are paid £5M to manage a football team you see it somewhat differently from the rest of us mere mortals.

The pundits on the BBC claim he will be looking for at least nine new players in the summer. Well, we need to issue a "hands off" for any of our players... although, if the price is right, would we let them go? He wants Barkley and Jags and will make another attempt for Baines but I can’t see any of them really wanting to go and play for Man Utd unless it’s for a decent paycheque.

It’s going to be an interesting summer and we need to keep our best players and add to them. With Wellbeck out of favour, does anyone else fancy he could do a job at Everton? Lukaku’s first touch is appalling and, unless he can improve his hold-up play, will he be a target in the summer for a permanent move?

Guy McEvoy
864 Posted 21/04/2014 at 02:14:56
Awesome report. Had to let my ticket go today and watch with family on the tellybox. Enjoyed every second but still missed being there! Your report helps complete the picture for me. A long time ago, I used to rush home after the match to write reports for ToffeeWeb. I know how much effort it takes. You need to know Ken, it is appreciated!
David Cornmell
877 Posted 21/04/2014 at 04:55:27
Moyes in doesn't know what he's doing shocker!
Darryl Ritchie
880 Posted 21/04/2014 at 05:26:47
Kudos to you, Ken, and all the other ToffeeWebbers who were at Goodison on Sunday. You had the Old Lady rocking! Were there any Manc supporters at the match? I couldn't hear'em; you lot drowned them out.
Dick Brady
907 Posted 21/04/2014 at 08:48:54
Moyes has many good traits as a manager (we have players like Baines, Stones, Coleman, Mirallas, Howard, Oviedo & Naismith to thank him for) but Moyes always had problems with big and important games.

Maybe its just his mentality but he rarely delivered on the big occasion and as such his 12-year Everton career ended up with a truly horrific record against the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Bobby Martinez is different. Bobby is a very positive person and he uses that to inspire the players into thinking they can beat anyone on their day. And its worked because this season alone we have enjoys wins against Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. Our only real disappointment against big teams this season has been Liverpool but hopefully Bobby can put that right in the following seasons.

I don’t think Moyes will last long at Man Utd. he just doesn’t have the positive winning mentality required. I do however expect Moyes to rebuild his career and do a really good job at a mid-level Premiership team.

Bobby Martinez meanwhile will continue to build upon the foundations Moyes left him and take Everton to the next level. I think Martinez has it in him to actually win something and after nearly 20 barren years that is something to celebrate.

Peter Mills
926 Posted 21/04/2014 at 09:38:41
Ken, the most significant anthem to be sung out was a new one, "The School of Science is on the way back", and there is a real sense of belief in that claim. I was lucky enough to be at both our matches against United this season, and both games when we last did the double against them 44 years ago, and this team would give that immortal one a very tough time.
Steven Telford
930 Posted 21/04/2014 at 09:31:06
Has to be my favourite ever "KB: from my seat"
even more than his own lacklustre performance, it must surely be our performances that have Moyes most questioning himself.

McCarthy, what a signing. I remember the price raising eye brows, my own included, but what a guy to have in the engine room, and at his age, the youth in our team is something special, him and, Coleman and Barkley, 3 of the young players in the league.

Brent Stephens
936 Posted 21/04/2014 at 10:04:09
Ken, do you never write a poor report?! Enjoyed it as usual. MotM for me also Macca. But I'm just drooling over Seamus and Stones, and dare I say Alcaraz?

Ian Bennett
938 Posted 21/04/2014 at 10:12:56
The starting XI really is our best current side, very well balanced in terms of skill and work rate.

Although not the best technical player, I love Naismith's work rate - didn't think I'd say that in 2014. Big performances from McCarthy, Coleman and Mirallas, whilst Stones had another good un.

Paul Holden
941 Posted 21/04/2014 at 10:20:45
Got me ticket for Saints - yeahh!! Can't wait.
Bob Parrington
947 Posted 21/04/2014 at 10:35:41
Great report as usual Ken. Watched it on Foxtel here in Adelaide and, with it being MU, that 8 of the starting 11 were Moyes' boys. What a difference a positive thinker (RM) makes? was an early thought!

Great manager, team performance! MotM for me ...... difficult but shaded by Seamus.

Interesting to watch the Everton player interviews post game. You can clearly sense the difference RM has made

Great work and glad to witness the revitalisation of the Football School of Science

David Hallwood
957 Posted 21/04/2014 at 11:22:50
Great report as ever Ken; maybe you can do a 'from my deckchair' in close season to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Earlier in the season the question was asked does Martinez have a Plan B, well not only has he got a 'B' he can probably go through the alphabet.

I've never seen so many balls hit long since OFM (aka TGT) graced GP, but just like the Arsenal game, he was spot on and stretched an admittedly poor Utd defence. However what winds me up about the meejah is that it isn't us that's playing well, its because Man Utd (and Arsenal) were poor-so we're not that good just playing piss poor sides.

Hugely satisfying win; MotM? toss a coin, Mirallas, McCarthy, Baines or Coleman.

Danny Kewley
958 Posted 21/04/2014 at 10:33:04
Only one criticism KB — Stevie Naismith hit the ball in Row J !!

By the way, the one thing I liked after he missed that sitter was his reaction, he really had a go at himself and carried on trying to be positive and though he missed another good chance he came really close with a shot their keeper did well to stop later on.

Not that long ago I used to think "What the fuck is Naismith doing in an Everton shirt?" Not anymore though! Through Bobby's coaching, SN epitomizes the confidence and belief the players have throughout the squad.

On Wednesday night the balance was just not right and maybe Lukaku would do well to read above! We could well still finish 4th in the drama that is the PL, if not then it's only a matter of time imo. The fact that the game was televised in prime time yesterday done us no harm at all and I have had loads of calls from workmates complimenting the Toffees down here in the smoke!

Steavey Buckley
002 Posted 21/04/2014 at 14:53:25
I do believe Naismith's performances for Everton since he made it 1:1 against Aston Villa this season at Goodison have been awesome. His intelligent running off the ball is creating space for others to run into, as well as creating space for himself and scoring vital goals. My only regret that he and Jelavic were never allowed to play together up front before he was sold to Hull City. Jelavic and Naismith had a very good understanding together at Rangers and scored many goals.
Harold Matthews
031 Posted 21/04/2014 at 15:44:50
Wonderful report Ken. Thanks mate.

Brent. Glad you mentioned Alcaraz. To be suddenly thrust into the action after such a long layoff cannot be easy. Let's hope his legs hold up.

Patrick. Where is all this funding coming from? Does BK have a secret stash somewhere? According to economics ace, Matt Traynor, we're not exactly loaded.

Vinny Garstrokes
056 Posted 21/04/2014 at 17:06:12
By any stretch of the imagination that was a routine home win - we were completely untroubled despite having less of the possession than normal. Jamie Carragher's face after seeing what OFM said about them being the better team was a picture!

Just as an aside, I did politely clap as he came out of the tunnel but I was in the minority where I was. Given all the press speculation I am hearing in the past couple of hours it looks like he may well be on his way out of OT. I think he has a fantastic ability of spotting talent, he just maybe lacks the final cut the get the best out of them. Perhaps he would be better suited to a role as Director of Football somewhere.

Tim Greeley
074 Posted 21/04/2014 at 15:33:04
Awesome recap and insight to the matchday experience. Thanks!
Now I cant wait to read Paul Ferry's synopsis to be titled "(No) Fear and (plenty of) Loathing in Goodison Park"
Paul Tran
398 Posted 22/04/2014 at 10:19:43
A good solid performance against a very average team.

No method, random team selection, players bought and played with seemingly no method. Hmm, it was like watching the 'old' Everton in red playing the new Everton in blue. Still, a perfect antidote to those who were decrying the concept of 'filosophy' at the start of the season.

A good three points as there will be an inevitable improvement at OT now that Giggs is in charge.

I'm still waiting for someone to answer my question - if the squad Moyes inherited was so poor and the squad Moyes left was so good, why was the gap so big at the end of last season?

I just hope we have the same manager next season.

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