A last game of the season in Hull in weather that was best described as changeable may not be your first choice of venues but I tell you what, for terrace parties it was great.
On the pitch it was a game that hardly produced a worthwhile tackle, which sort of ensured that Everton would emerge by far the more cultured team, though in Hull’s defence they were men with a Cup final on their minds.
Stones and Barkley not being in the squad led to some wild guesses as to why; my ten penneth was that with senior players back the manager rested them as it seems certain they will be with England either at the World Cup or the U21 competition.
The game started as it would finish with the Blues having most of the possession and it was no surprise when we took the lead within ten minutes. A fine move ended with Naismith cleverly playing in McCarthy who was racing as ever goal-wards and he hit a strong left footer that from my seat I thought the keeper had got a good hand on but, no, the shot looped and went in. It was McCarthy’s first goal of the season and he and the players went wild along with the travelling party-goers.
We continued to keep possession for good stretches but without quickening the pace in the last third to scare them. It also led to little concentration lapses at times, none more so than when Jags tried to find Howard and under hit it allowing our old boy Jelavic to almost beat Howard in the race for the ball. Jags was probably still getting some of the rust off after his lengthy lay off.
On twenty minutes a load roar went up. Newcastle had scored, cue anti-red songs and chants.
By the half hour mark we had great approach play that ended frustratingly, Barry sent Naismith in but he dragged his shot wide. Lukaku was looking well up for it – did he want to leave on a high, as he terrorised their defence with pace and power as well as holding up the ball better than ever?
Coleman then had a turn had giving us a fright when he miss-kicked horrible leaving a Hull player with a free shot at goal but Howard saved the day.
Around five minutes from half time McGeady won a corner after some persistent play and took it himself, the ball was cleared to the edge of the box and fell invitingly to our goal hero McCarthy and he hit it first time. Now, without describing his effort too closely let’s just say his effort missed the target by a fair distance.
Then just on half time our marathon man McCarthy with another lung busting run went through the penalty area to the by line and cut a daisy cutter back that the sliding Lukaku got decent contact but the keeper got down fast at his post to gather.
Half time and we had seen a passing performance from the team and a party performance from the fans.
Everton were out well before Hull for the second half and no changes made. With many fans still in bogs or bars the ref blew his whistle and within that first minute we went two up.
Some delightful patient joined up stuff saw about a dozen or more passes made to get to the business end and culminated in Osman exchanging passes with Naismith and then threading a delightfully weighted through pass for Lukaku to shrug off a challenge and home in on the keeper before hitting the ball over and past the 'keeper and into the far netting.
All hell broke loose and from then on. I think all assembled both fans and players knew that was it and in settling for it the rest of the half would be no more than a training exercise with the odd serious foray thrown in. The travelling Goodison choir were in fine form now and sung every song they knew and every chant.
By far the most popular seemed to be the Gerrard song that was belted out with enthusiasm and outright glee especially as the Man City score had been taken into account.
Jelavic was subbed and the appreciative roar from the Evertonians outdid the home fans, he waved and clapped.
The half wore on with Everton the pass-masters but now Hull were giving their own version of it so little was happening by way of serious goalmouth action. We did get the odd bit of action at both ends and for us our playmaker Osman who was having a good game played in McGeady on the edge but alas his shot was a back-pass.
Then Baines got in lumber and gave the ball away deep in our half and Hull got a dangerous ball into our box and but for the alert Howard racing out and gathering just a split second before an onrushing forward we may have conceded.
We had a bizarre moment when Distin got his foot up high to clear a ball but a Hull player was there and he almost took his head off but the upshot was that ref Howard Webb decided no penalty and gave a goal kick. Now if that at been against us...!
We then had another moment of much passing in our own last third then made our way over half way and the ball was fed to the inexhaustible McCarthy who raced to their box with the ball and on looking up laid into the path of Coleman whose effort on goal proved he is after all a full back at heart.
On 70 minutes the manager swapped McGeady for Gerard Deulofeu and he was soon running at pace at their defence but on each occasion he lost control of the ball at vital moments. Then Osman was subbed to give Pienaar a run out and he looked to have recovered well as he was soon busy and buzzing about in what is now called the number ten role.
Both teams were playing out time now but did raise themselves occasionally, if only for the fans' sake, especially the Evertonians who never let up all game. We gained a free kick in what is known as Baines range and he duly set it up but then on the ref’s whistle a training ground routine took place as Baines merely touched it and Lukaku hit it. Let’s say it probably worked on the training ground.
About five to go and I thought another clean sheet to go with a record points haul in Premier League terms represents damned good value for my ticket outlay. At that very moment Naismith carelessly gave the ball away and presented Hull with a chance that was deflected for a corner and from that corner a Hull player got his head to it first and the ball flashed past the post; many thought it had gone in.
With the clock ticking down we seemed to go right off the boil probably thinking we had done enough and some sloppy passing across our box gave a Hull player a free shot and hit the target but Howard was down quickly and saved at full length palming it away for a corner then he got up and rollicked anyone within hearing distance. Clean sheets mean a lot to keepers.
Two minutes of added time went up on the board and the manager sent on the lesser-seen Traore for Lukaku to allow him to receive a fine ovation from the travelling faithful. Final whistle and then the players after handshakes, etc made their way to our end and shirts were thrown and much waving and many felt that this season’s loanees said goodbye. Maybe, but you never know what might happen in football so I will wait and see.
M.o.tM – McCarthy.
Well that’s it for this season. I wonder what the next one will bring. Well, European footy for one thing. 6.00pm kick offs on Thursdays and all that; will we get the players the manager says he needs to service three competitions, one of which we want to finish in a Champions League spot? I hope so. We can look forward to much speculation regarding signings and until they wave the shirt then that’s all it will be, speculation.
We will also have to go through that horrible period where the league season has started but the transfer window is still open and players can be unsettled leaving the team to become unsettled. I am firmly in favour of the window closing on the eve of the first match. It’s all only a matter of three months before we start again yet it seems and age away at the moment. We have World Cups and friendlies and testimonials to fit in, all fitted around annual holidays and fretting on having enough coin to do it all and have a plan to finance a European tour right up to the final.
Just think for us to have the season we crave for then it all boils down to the club being able to give the manager a budget he is happy with and then the manager using it wisely to get the best result possible from the wheeling and dealing that sees players bought, sold and loaned. I wish them well for their success will be our success.
So much to do, so much to plan so I am going to switch off, recharge the batteries with a holiday and see how things stand around Ossie’s testimonial time. Have a great summer. This time next year we could be Champions.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (19)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
3 Posted 12/05/2014 at 01:51:37
Especially for the bit about the loan players maybe 'saying goodbye' at the end.
Enjoy your holiday Ken!
4 Posted 12/05/2014 at 01:48:01
One disagreement mate.
Player of the match: yep Macca. Man/men/women of the match, those fantastic travelling blues. Thank you one and all from my Chicago perch for the pride and honour you have given me/us all the way through this season.
You are a true blue treasure!
5 Posted 12/05/2014 at 02:39:36
Coleman on the other hand was distinctly off colour - but the lad's had a great season.
Finally, what on earth has happened to Naismith? In the centre of a lot of good things yesterday. May not have the best skills in the world but seems to have a great footballing brain. Gets in good positions, and tries to make the right passes.
6 Posted 12/05/2014 at 04:28:05
Where Everton will have to improve next season, besides finding a couple of proven strikers, is out-and-out wingers, who can beat men and cross for someone to put the ball in the back of the net. Having Osman operating somewhere near the left-hand side yesterday, was a form of; if Martinez had someone else, he would have stuck him in there instead.
I am still not convinced that both Jags or Distin are the right combination, because both can be presurrised into making mistakes, that's if any opposition can be bothered to. It's OK moving the ball sideways all the time, to eventually make progress up the field, but when two men are not really comfortable with the ball, the ball then ends up with Howard, who does what Everton don't want to do anymore, and that is hoof it up the field.
7 Posted 12/05/2014 at 04:26:55
It's funny how people harp on about it, but does no-one recall the time before windows when it was a free for all until mid-March? That was before wall-to-wall coverage in the meejah though... would it be so different to go back to that? The speculation never ends, and it seems fans love it and hate it in equal measure!
Thanks for a great season of reports Ken. The fact that so few who've watched it ever disagree with your assessment speaks volumes!
8 Posted 12/05/2014 at 06:23:29
9 Posted 12/05/2014 at 07:48:08
10 Posted 12/05/2014 at 04:55:59
Most of your reports had McCarthy as MotM, so I assume you voted him for Player of the Season – I know I did.
So many wonderful things to cherish this season: the emergence of Barkley, Stones & Oviedo; a 15-goal striker after a long time (even though he will not be ours next season); a pugnacious, hard tackling, ball winning mid-fielder in McCarthy; the calmness and assurance of Barry in the middle; the unsung hero Tim Howard; the 2 best full backs in the league; a solid central defense; and above all – our new articulate, intelligent, tactically & strategically savvy Roberto. And, to top it all off, the RS did not win the league.. ha ha... always next year. ;-)
Enjoy the summer, fellow ToffeeWebbers. Looking forward to the new season already. Onwards & upwards...
11 Posted 12/05/2014 at 09:33:12
A season with so much to be delighted with, in view of future promise. There is just a hint of 'it could have been so much better' due to losses and draws against teams we should have put to the sword. Still, we came out the right side of a few we were under the cosh in too.
Will the extra European games prove a drag to our league form next season? If not, I believe it really is going to be even better next term.
In Bobby We Believe. Onward Evertonians. Here's to a great summer to one and all before the action starts again for real in Mid August.
12 Posted 12/05/2014 at 10:28:04
Go out and buy yer new pencils for the new season, Ken!
13 Posted 12/05/2014 at 12:39:59
14 Posted 12/05/2014 at 13:07:13
15 Posted 12/05/2014 at 18:12:14
As usual a great and incisive report from you Ken, looking forward to next seasons versions, while, the World Cup apart, we Evertonians here in Ontario can fill in the void with MLS games from all over north America which is closng the gap between their national sports big time, with some really impressive teams coming up
In closing let me congratulate all associated with EVERTON on a season of excitement drama and future promise which has been richly deserved,which proved. ONLY THE BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH.
16 Posted 13/05/2014 at 13:09:57
A question though: How the 'ell do all the pyros get in....???
17 Posted 13/05/2014 at 15:08:52
A great season for Blue supporters with a record point haul. The 70-point barrier broken and much to look forward to!
18 Posted 13/05/2014 at 19:49:32
I want to say that now because I did not always write after reading the previous reports: "Hey, good job, keep it up!"
But, thanks again. You do an excellent job of capturing the flavor of the matches.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.