Season 2013-14 Opinion Match Reports
Accounts from matches by our editorial team and featured correspondents
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.
Everton dominated possession from the start and James McCarthy gave Everton an early lead inside 10 mins. Lukaku struck just after the break to make it 2-0 in a very comfortable victory that underlined the tremendous changes wrought this season, Roberto Martinez leading his new club into Europe on the back of a Premier League record 72-point haul.
I was certainly in the bizarre situation of wanting Everton to lose the match. Tottenham losing their match and Manchester United’s also losing meant that 5th position was now a certainty and, as we headed on to the match, we were unanimous in our desire for Everton to lose the match. “Why put up with all that agony for the next 30 years just for the sake of one game which doesn’t mean anything?”
Everton contributed mightily to an entertaining contest but were undone by charitable defending against a team that exhibited all the purpose and drive their own supporters would have wanted to see given what was at stake for them.
3 May 2014 was a strange day in the history of Everton Football Club. With a Champions League place to play for and only two games to go, about a quarter of the fanbase wanted us to lose all because, if Manchester City won, Liverpool may not win the title.
A moment of magic from Ross Barkley fired Everton into a wonderful early lead, as he clipped a beautiful first-time shot way beyond Hart and into the top corner of the net from a difficult angle, a brilliant goal off Naismith's cross ball. Aguero then equalized with ease on Howard's near post. Dzeko then easily nodded in to put the visitors ahead and then made it 3-1 for City after Naismith had been denied. Everton looked out of ideas but a great Baines cross was powered in off the post by Lukaku to set up a high-tempo finish.
Two own goals and a lifeless response see the light all but go out on Everton's Champions League hopes
Antolin Alcaraz gave Southampton a shocking early lead when he headed a cross from Lambert past Howard to put a massive dent in Everton's fading Champions League hopes. The Blues huffed and puffed for half-an-hour before Coleman decided he could do it too, stooping to head a cross past Howard for the second unbelievable own-goal! Game over, apart from a few denied penalty calls and a wrong offside decision on a day nothing went Everton's way.
Everton were fantastic, Manchester United were anything but.
"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."
Moyes, like Wenger before him, was played like a fiddle by Martinez, the Scot given the illusion that his team were in control of this contest before two rapier jabs dealt the fatal blows that had the visitors on their knees by half time.
Everton rather struggled for possession but a Lukaku shot drew handball and a penalty, nicely converted by Baines. More Man Utd pressure, but a deceptively simple move saw Coleman play in Mirallas for a superb finish from a very narrow angle to end a very pleasing half were Everton had not played well but done more than enough. Everton grew in confidence during a solid second half and gave Moyes the bloody nose he fully deserved.
With four games left and just one point in it, the chase for a place in the top four is far from over but this defeat to Palace was a body blow to Everton's chances.
Hopefully that’s not season end and the manager can rouse the players to give us a record points total and see where that leaves us table wise. To fold now would be a disaster after such displays to this point.
"When all is said and done Crystal Palace deserved their win and Everton deserved to lose."
Crystal Palace went into a shock lead on 22 mins after holding off some spirited Everton attacks. Puncheon slotting home after Howard was forced to parry a wicked Bolaise cross to Chamahk. After the break, Naismith on but Palace poured forward and Scott Dann scored a second goal from a corner. It was scrappy when it finally came, but a decent cross to the far post by Mirallas stood up nicely for Baines to head back in and there was Naismith to bundle it across the line. Fighting for the equalizer, Everton were stunned when Jerome scored to put the game out of reach despite a clever goal from Mirallas.
Not an impressive display from Everton by any means but getting the three points was absolutely paramount.
A visit to the home of the Mackems is never the best of away trips but, in our present league position, one that engendered both excitement and dread. Could we make it seven wins on the bounce? Could we go 4th? Could Barry survive a 10th yellow card? Well... 'Yes' was the ultimate answer — but not without a rollercoaster of emotions.
Still no Phil Jagielka for Everton but Gerard Deulofeu gets a starting place, with McGeady, Mirallas and Barkley starting the game against Sunderland on the bench. Naismith blasted over a super chance in the first half, which ended goalless. Naismith missed a gift through poor execution. With the game heading for a draw, Deulofeu's magic earned a rather lucky own-goal off Wes Brown.
on to the Dixie Dean Suite and what a fantastic day we had. The match itself obviously made it all the more sweeter but it was a privilege to be treated to the rather stellar service of the Everton staff. Immediately upon entrance into Goodison Park, we were met by the ever-friendly Graeme Sharpe.
Cometh the hour, cometh the men. All of them, including Roberto Martinez
We drank, laughed and hoped that we could take the Arsenal scalp which would be no mean feat considering the history of this game over the years. My take was that, if we could do it at Fulham against the history, well then... why not today?
A tremendous domineering performance by the Blues that totally destroyed Arsenal, their biggest win over the Gunners in 25 years, and fine revenge for that galling FA Cup Quarterfinal defeat.
Five straight Premier League wins, two away from home in potentially tricky fixtures at St James' Park and Craven Cottage, and Everton genuinely have the look of a team that can sneak into the Champions League qualification places this season
While the performance first half was poor the fighting spirit was not in question so getting the three points satisfied most.
Roberto Martinez selected the same starting line-up for today's early kick-off at Craven Cottage. But Everton struggled against a spirited Fulham side who spurned a lot of well-created chances in a difficult first half. Naismith came on for Barkley and scored within 5 mins, although it will be given as an own-goal by Stockdale. Fulham equalized with a tremendous shot from Dejagah but Naismith inspired Everton, then McGeady came on and played in Mirallas for a fine finish. Then Naismith scored himself before hitting the post to seal a very important win for Everton.
"If you could bottle that performance and bring it out each game, who knows what could be achieved."
Pace. Goals. Killer instinct. Tonight, Everton exhibited all three in spades to notch a fourth-successive League win and reclaim 5th place.
Everton's Champions League flame is still flickering after their eighth home win on the bounce in all competitions but at a time of the campaign when they need to be kicking into high gear, this was arguably a case of winning despite not performing at your best.
"It was a game I expected to see as both teams have big bucks to play for and I expect many a game to season end will be just as fraught."
Everton had enough to get over the line for another welcome three points – our third league win in a row and our eighth consecutive home win (including the FA Cup win over QPR).
The start to the game was poor and it looked like a stalemate could ensue until Barkley was tripped by Chico and Baines scored from the spot. But a simple move saw Bony equalize just after the half-hour and Swansea dominated the rest of the half. Everton were still poor after the break until Lukaku finally powered home a good low cross from Mirallas. Then Barkley nodded a corner in from close range to finally give Everton a decent margin until Williams powered in a header off the bar in added time.
" If we are to qualify for European football next season however we’ll need to start doing a lot more than sneaking these home wins."
As always a good day out and whatever is made of the performance a good three points gained. After our game v WHU I said then I thought we would have games very tight until season end and I still stand by that and the fact being the team to get the points no matter the performance will determine the final table.
Everton furthered their European ambitions with an important win over Cardiff City but it took a stoppage-time strike from Seamus Coleman to claim the points
I somehow expected more from Mikel Arteta than badge-kissing when celebrating his goal, pretending to be injured because his boot fell off and stopping our attack in doing so, and then moaning to try and get our players booked.
The Wembley dream is dead for another year and Everton's painful stretch without a major trophy extends to 20 years thanks to a heavy, if somewhat harsh, 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
It would be an understatement to say the performance left us less than pleased.
The game got off to a strange start for Everton playing well until Arsenal worked their way forward, McCarthy slipped, Carzola played in Ozil, and the first goal was scored. Far, far too easily. Everton struggled to get back into it until a good long run from Barkley ended with an excellent ball to Mirallas at the far post but it hit his heel and spun nicely for Lukaku to tap in from close range and put Everton on the scoreboard. In the second half, a penalty called against Barry put Arsenal ahead again. Everton struggled to reassert themselves but ended up conceding two more and the dream was well and truly over.
Everton notched their first Premier League win in a month and their first clean sheet since 11th January thanks to Romelu Lukaku's 10th goal of the season
Overall, a good day out. Not a lot to write home about. We were grateful for the points and hope that this can be the start of points gathering for us...
Everton 1-0 West Ham United: Premier League wins have been difficult to come by of late but it’s been some time since we won a game comfortably. Regardless, I came expecting a draw and was relieved to leave with a win against a rugged West Ham side boasting four clean sheets in a row.
Another huge uphill struggle for the Blues to penetrate a resolute West Ham defence seemed headed for a 0-0 draw but the simplest of moves, the easiest of plays, a low cross in from Baines, a perfect supply ball for substitute striker Everton have missed so badly, and Wham Bam! Thank you, West Ham!! A very well taken goal by Romelu Lukaku, finally breaking the interminable deadlock with less than 10 mins left.
Everton fell to their third consecutive away defeat
to a rival for the Champions League qualification slots and slipped out of the top six
for the first time since November.
A hamstring problem forced Lacina Traore to be withdrawn from the starting line-up selected by Roberto Martinez after he announced a side that featured one change, with Leon Osman in for Ross Barkley. Everton played very well in the first half but could not create a goal for all their efforts. The game carried on with Everton edging possession buyt ended in added time when Terry lunged in on Howard, forcing a stupid error as good free kick flew in to the Everton net off his foot.
The scoreline may have been slightly flattering but Everton advanced to the FA Cup Sixth Round with a 3-1 victory over Swansea City.
Although today’s game was less than enthralling — in fact, we were downright poor in long stretches — I read nothing into it as, after years of Blue cup ties, none of them seem to go to form or plan. The important thing is get a win and in the hat.
Everton had stumbled through somewhat unconvincingly to the last eight of the venerable old competition
Goals win points and strikers score goals. Sometimes it's that simple.
Anyone fancy a guess at why, when we desperately need an out-and-out striker, we have none on the pitch but one on the bench — and don’t use him? The manager will probably have a simple answer for that but chances are he ain’t going to tell us...
After four chances for Osman in the first 7 mins, the game turned in the second half on a crucial free-kick taken quickly by Spurs as Everton slept, Adebyaor smashing the ball past Howard. Martinez tried to rescue the game but his substitutions were way too late and if anything disrupted any rhythm Everton had. A miserable defeat that surely ends Everton's challenge.
We are back in it. It will be great to see how we go about staying in it.
Kevin Mirallas served up another slice of precision artistry to turn on its head a contest that, for long stretches, had looked as though it was going to end in utter frustration.
Everton dominated play but Villa scored on the break after dispossessing Barkley, Bacuna driving the ball through Howard's legs. It had been one-way traffic and that continued until the disciplined Villa defence was finally punctured by Naismith on as a sub with a fine finish to level the game. Kevin Mirallas then pulled something out of the textbook with an absolutely superb free-kick executed to perfection from a very long way out to give the Blues a massive one-goal victory.
Overall one to forget but you just don’t, do you?
A sickener for the Blues that starkly illustrated the gulf in resources between these two old foes
Everton did their best to match an impressively urgent Liverpool start that eventually saw them take the lead off a quality Suarez corner powered in at the near post by Gerrard. Sturridge made it two with frightening ease, then minutes later scooped a clever lob over Howard to make it three as Everton looked lost at sea in the pouring rain. Osman replaced Pienaar and almost scored just before Jagielka gifted the ball to Suarez and the fourth goal was inevitable. Sturridge missed his hat-trick, firing a penalty over the bar, and Liverpool relaxed a little leaving Everton to play out the half, pride heavily bruised.
A 4-0 victory earned on a heavy pitch saw Everton into the FA Cup Fifth Round but Martinez will go into Tuesday's Merseyside derby counting fit bodies and ruing more bad luck in the form of another long-term injury.
Everton suffered an early fright when Robles dropped the ball but the Blues went up the other end and scored through Naismith in their first attack. But Oviedo in a heavy clash with Heslop appeared to break his ankle! Osman on in his place, set up Naismith for the second goal off a nice through-ball. Heitinga, on as sub for Jagielka, scored the third. Gueye came on and scored the fourth after Naismith was denied his hat-trick by the officials.
Let’s hope it was a one off. We are still right in the mix for fourth spot but any higher might be a tall order after so many draws.
A ninth draw for the season and the kind of display for which only a derby win at Anfield can atone.
Everton struggled to really impose their superiority on a determined if limited WBA side in the first half, until some direct football from Distin up to Lukaku played in Mirallas who fired home well to give Everton a very welcome half-time lead. West Brom responded after the break, Anichebe coming on, and Everton failing completely to press any advantage, with Martinez guilty of not making changes until far too late, after the home side got the equalizer their determined play had long threatened. Two more points lost.
Everton 2 - 0 Norwich City
The football played did l at times resembled the flow of the ‘Royal Blue Mersey’ However, with that free flowing dominance, it must concern the manager that we don’t score more goals from such joined-up play.
Two sublime strikes lifted Everton over Norwich on the back of another dominant performance.
Roberto Martinez was forced to make changes as injuries cut deep into the squad of players he had available for this fixture . Barkley and Alcaraz were out but Jagielka returned as Aiden McGeady made a surprise introduction to the crowd. Everton totally dominated and went ahead on 23 mins off an excellent strike form Gareth Barry. Mirallas scored the second in fine style with an excellent free-kick won by Baines; the football at times was just scintillating.
Everton quite effortlessly into the hat for the 4th Round and Oldham at home would do nicely.
"Many were wrestling with the notion of ‘Are we that good’ or is the second team in the championship ‘That bad’?"
It may be the case that we dropped two points but, at that moment Baines's penalty kick hit the net, one felt great and from the celebrations you thought it could have been the winner.
A lively first-half saw Mirallas smack fearsome shots into both the crossbar and the post as Stoke held out until the break. Stoke took the lead when Assaidi beat Howard with a crisp shot that meant Everton would need to be even more creative in attack. but they were blocked away countless times as they chased the game until sub Osman won a penalty in added time that Baines smacked home to rescue a point from a very difficult game that would see the Blues slip back into 5th place.
Paul's final report of 2013 from the 2-1 win over Southampton
A good day out and a game that was played in good spirit in the main between two footballing teams
Romelu Lukaku ended a run of five games with the winner against Southampton as the Blues end the year in fourth.
A great individual goal from Coleman after just 9 mins set the Blues off nicely but they could not find a path through a solid Saints defence before the break. The visitors made it tough in the second half and equalized through a long-distance strike by Ramirez that fooled Robles. But Lukaku restored the lead after great work from Pienaar and McCarthy to secure a very important 3 points that put Everton into the top 4.
Martinez was undone by a familiar Goodison script as a seemingly hopeless task for Sunderland turned into their first away win of the season.
Everton 0 - 1 Southampton
We assembled in our Room of Nonsense and the pre-match chat centred on many things — none of which anticipated a loss.
A massive and unbelievable cock-up by Osman and a red card for Howard. Everton down to 10 men. Penalty for Sunderland. Everton battled away against the odds, and came very close but for the defiance of Mannone in the Sunderland goal.
A road trip for the faithful eyewitness who calls it like it was...
Everton extend their unbeaten run to 10 games thanks to two stunning goals by Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley
The second half saw sumptuous football from Everton that finally delivered with a pile-driver from Coleman but Tiendalli somehow powered home a deflected goal off Oviedo as the rain poured down. It came down to Barkley and an absolutely brilliant free-kick curled over and around the wall, in off the bar.
It wasn’t pretty for most of that second half and you have to accept we can’t play brilliant every match, but what was pleasing was how we came back into the game and forced the victory when we had to.
Everton eventually rammed home their superiority over Fulham after Berbatov's penalty threatened to raise the spectre of more dropped points
Ken was in the stand to see it all unfold at Goodison Park.
Roberto Martinez made some interesting choices, starting both young stars Barkley and Deulofeu for the first time, while resting Mirallas, with McCarthy forced to sit this one out on his 5th yellow card of the season. Leon Osman made his 300th senior start for Everton, and scored the first goal inside 20 mins with an elegant curler after neat footwork. Everton were shockingly poor after the break and Fulham equalized off a strange penalty, but Coleman thankfully smashed home after great work by Lukaku and Pienaar. Then Barry nodded one in from close range, followed by an excellent low strike from Mirallas and suddenly it was an excellent result.
A performance that firmly establishes the Blues as contenders for the top four earns a well-deserved draw at Arsenal
The next big test for Roberto Martinez, after the fantastic performance and result at Old Trafford, was at leaders Arsenal.
With Leighton Baines still out, the manager has made no changes to the side that started against Man Utd. Everton put in a superb display for the first 40 mins, but lacked the killer final touch. Martinez dallied with his second-half subs while Wenger made three and eventually went ahead through Ozil. But Deulofeu finally figured out how to score one-on-on, scooping a brilliant strike over Szczesny.
21 years of pain and frustration was swept away in a glorious instant when Bryan Oviedo, who was only two years old the last time Everton beat United on their own turf, slotted past David de Gea with four minutes left on the clock.
Oviedo: I remember him playing Stevenage earlier this season and he was awful, but credit to him, he’s waited for his chance for over a season now and has performed brilliantly. Two goals in two games and two clean sheets. He did very well against Januzaj and was solid defensively. A very impressive performance which makes you think we may just be able to cope without Baines after all. My Man of the Match. 9
There was singing on trains, coaches and cars as we descended on Sky’s darlings with loaded Kalashnikovs ready for a proper gunfight. As it turned-out, the homeward journey would be twice as nice and twice as loud.
With no fresh injury concerns, Roberto Martinez named an attacking midfield with Ross Barkley restored to the side, but electing to bench weekend stars Leon Osman and Gerard Deulofeu. Everton faded after a really bright start, ceding possession too easily and not making the most of some excellent counter-attacking moves. If ever a game was crying out for the magic of Gerard Deulofeu... but it was Bryan Oviedo who finally hammered the ball home past De Gea with just 5 mins left to produce a fantastic and eagerly anticipated victory for Blues fans everywhere.
A handsome 4-0 hammering of Stoke City was a fine way to relieve some of the pent-up energy and frustration from three consecutive draws.
A 4-0 win that saw a goal apiece by loan players and a goal apiece by our full backs, nothing like variety eh.
Paul reports from the 4-0 hammering of Stoke City at Goodison
With Barkley and Mirallas on the bench, Deulofeu, Osman and Oviedo started in a surprising squad rotation by Roberto Martinez. Everton dominated play but it required some sheer magic from Deulofeu dancing through the Stoke City defence, lovely exchanges with Pienaar and Barry, to finish brilliantly into the roof of the net. Fantastic skill. Coleman made it two after a great throw-out to Deulofeu, chipping Begovic. Oviedo then skipped beyond his marker and lashed a fantastic daisy-cutter in off the foot of Begovic's post. Another beautiful move initiated by a superb ball from Osman once more set Oviedo on his way down the left, he did brilliantly to check, turn and lay on an easy tap-in for Lukaku.
Everton 3 - 3 Liverpool
Eye-witness report from the man who was there...
An admittedly cracking game of football, albeit one whose thrills are dulled to a large degree by Evertonian frustration that we couldn't hold on at the end.
Ross Barkley started the first Merseyside derby of the Roberto Martinez era, with Deulofeu and Osman on the bench. The first corner for Liverpool was easily converted by Coutinho all alone at the far post to give Liverpool a shocking early lead. But Mirallas equalized very strongly inside 3 minutes, powering in at the far post. Then a foul by Distin on Suarez set up a free-kick that the Uruguayan curled brilliantly around the Everon wall and beyond Howard, just inside the post. After relentless Everton pressure in the second half, Lukaku, who had been poor, finally drove the ball past Mignolet. And 10 mins later, off a brilliant corner, Lukaku powered home an excellent Duncanesque header. It looked like this was the winner but Sturridge came on and glanced home another silly free-kick given away by Distin to level the scores in a tremendous game that Everton should have won.
Frustrating. There are other words for it, but frustrating is the one that keeps coming back to mind in the post mortem of Everton's second successive goalless draw.
"I suppose things could be a lot, lot worse. We sit 6th just three points of 2nd position and have kept three clean sheets in a row."
A really disappointing game that belied Everton's dominance in terms of possession coupled with a maddening inability to carve out a single worthwhile goalscoring chance.
On a day littered with international dimensions, the inspiration for Everton's win was all English.
Match summary from Everton's handsome win at Villa Park
Questions will continue to be raised about the uncertainty at the back and the continuing inability to really kill opponents off but the three points are all that matter.
A man amongst the many, Ken Buckley provides his unique eye-witness assessment of Everton's performance.
Match summary from Everton's 2-1 home win over Hull City.
Everton's unbeaten run comes to an end as City's class tells, albeit aided by highly charitable refereeing
Eye-witness report from the Etihad: "I don't like to criticise referees, but..."
Match summary of Everton's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Everton almost allowed complacency to wreck the work accomplished in a dream first half but held on to move into fourth in the table.
"Not bad Roberto. Not bad at all."
Impressions from a game that was a good deal closer at the end than a dominant first-half display suggested it would be
Match Summary of the 3-2 win over Newcastle
Ken Buckley's eyewitness match report from Upton Park: "I thought we played those 7 minutes of added time better than I have seen us do in many a year..."
Match Report: Everton 1 - 0 Chelsea