Everton 2 - 1 West Ham United

The room of nonsense filled up and everyone appeared to be a manager as the methods required to overcome both WHU and our injury list was discussed. Everyone had a take on what the line-up should be, few seemed to agree and when the teams were electronically received it appeared most assembled were not in agreement with the actual Everton manager. ‘Hibbert at left back’!! bellowed many yet considering we are facing fourth in the league who are in a good moment of form plus a team who take no prisoners surly it is better to have a battle hardened experienced defender than a punt on a yet untried player who may or may not make the grade. I found myself with the manager on this one.

The walk up reflected the sell- out status as all approach roads were awash with match-goers, many operating cameras whilst trying to eat their choice of fast food from the many outlets. I wonder if the fat van has any bacon today I mused. Into the ground and the teams were announced amid many mutterings from those of a Blue persuasion as well as enthusiastic cheers. Ossie was making his 400th appearance so I gave him an extra decibel or two. He does divide opinion but to my mind any player who racks up that many games in the top division in England whether for one club or many can’t be regarded as a poor player especially given the cut throat nature of a results at all costs business as the very many deposed managers and discarded players would testify. Well done Ossie.

The game started and I thought well if we have a fair injury list and were no doubt weakened by that then so were our opponents who had five first team regulars out all of which were also rather good players. We seem to have a good record against the Hammers so my hunch was for a win in a feisty game. I was not to be disappointed.

The game started with us keeping the ball well with patience and we soon had Mirallas in on goal but from an offside position. It was good to see Kev back and his pace would be noticeable until his puff ran out. With the Hammers having their better players side-lined big Sam reverted to his trusty Big men front and back fed by a gritty midfield that saw Nolan in his element and crosses into our box starting to cause the odd scramble. We did our own share of getting forward and Naismith set Lukaku on his way and sprinted for the return but the big forward either didn’t look or ignored him and shot but scuffed the ball and the chance gone and Naismith left to wave his arms at him.

We soon attacked again and Osman threaded a beaut of a pass to Coleman who reached the by-line and pulled back for Naismith who skied the ball well over. He was not happy with himself this time. Barkley took a dive when Nolen was close to him and got a free-kick this incensed Nolan who red faced jumped and twirled whilst gesticulating to the ref. You just can’t beat these comedy moments.

Another good move saw Osman play in Naismith who from the by-line fired across goal but no takers in a blue shirt, the ball was cleared but fell to Hibbert, ’SHOOT’ we yelled, he did, it went to high. West Ham were causing some trouble to our defence but it was a little to agricultural and the back four dealt with crosses and McCarthy seemingly single handed at times broke up anything attempted through the mid-field.

Our very next move saw the mercurial Osman fashion a chance for Barkley who hit a shot powerfully but straight at defenders, luckily it cannoned of two of them and ended up in Lukaku’s path and he hammered home to the great delight and relief of the thousands gathered. The opponents claimed offside but no flag so no whistle so one nil down for them. Strangely though after the celebrations petered out the ground went back into soporific mode and stayed that way until McCarthy let a WHU player he was about and put him and the ball into touch by the dugouts.

Cue the usual pushing and shoving until handbags could be thrown on for the players to posture with before settling down again after ring a ring a roses had been completed. McCarthy and Reid saw yellow and we got a throw in as those gathered chanted ‘Everton – Everton loudly in a short show of solidarity and then back to normal as though the snooze button pressed.

The half ended with boo’s aimed at the Ref, well it was Clattenberg, and the WHU players and that episode was as loud as we got first half. The Hammers fans had entertained us with their one and only song informing us that ‘There gonna win the league’ and that was only until we scored and do you know what? We never even responded with ‘We only sing when we’re winning’

Half-time: 1-0. The chat centred on how well Osman and Hibbert were playing whilst bemoaning the fact that Barkley and Lukaku were not.

Second half started as the first ended with WHU on top and us looking for a quick counter and with Mirallas back we had some added pace. Big Sam noticing this made two subs very early in the half and one of them Zarate less than 5mins after joining the fray raced with the ball across our box then shot and the ball hit one of our players (turns out it was Jags and looped over the USA’s male athlete of the year and nestled in our net. Stunned silence from us the others made a bit of a din and started singing that song about winning the league again.

We then had another flare up when Mirallas put in a tackle that was best described as a touch late leaving his opponent lying on the turf screaming. Handbags were quickly brought out again and when Tomkins had a sly kick at Kev the Everton man pushed him in the chest and the big Tomkins held his face and cried whilst lying on the pitch. After another round of ‘Ring a ring of roses’ the ref gave Kev a yellow, this I think surprised the Everton management team as Besic was ready to come on but as soon as the yellow reached hand high they ushered him back into the dug-out. They thought Kev was getting sent off for raised hands? Nah good old Clattenberg what a ref and it turned out he wasn’t finished yet in seeing things our way.

The crowd getting more anxious now as crosses were coming in from all angles and the pace of Jarvis plus good dead ball kicks. Some fans were vocal in yelling at players not to give fouls away near the edge of the box. Barkley must have been a touch deaf as he immediately did just that. All the big men in the area, a hush descended, the ball came in and out of an almighty melee there was Osman clearing with a diving header. He was cheered to the rafters.

McCarthy was putting fires out all over the park whilst showing no fear of being on a yellow but WHU were turning the screw a little and Jags did very well to track the speedy Jarvis into the box and force him to shoot onto the side netting. We were definitely deep now and looking for the quick break and as we passed 70mins Naismith picked one up from yet another clearance in our box and set Lukaku on his way. His journey started in our half and as he crossed half way and pushed the ball past James Collins and was about to easily out sprint in when the WHU yard-dog blatantly tripped him.

The crowd yelled "Off!!!" but the ball had cannoned off Lukaku and onto Collins and in a billiards cannon shot, fed the motoring Eto’o the ref waved play on (what a ref this fella is) and Eto’o accelerated down the right channel, he looked up and saw the greyhound Osman hurtling toward the goal and with a pass delivered as fast as a shot saw the sliding Osman turn the ball home. The whole ground erupted then Ossie was mobbed, what a move, what good reffing, what a cross, what a finish and what a way to celebrate 400 games for the mighty Blues. For the first time today Allez-Allez O was loud and proud.

We still had a few loose ends to tie up before the whistle which the board would show we would have to play 5mins more for time lost when Gucci handbags were modelled. In that time the yard dog Collins had a chance to make amends but Howard saved well and then when a WHU players shot hit his own man and ricocheted into goal Howard made a great instinctive save or was it a bit of luck with him being in the right place at the right time as a yard either side and it would have been all square again.

Just before the end the day was marred a little by the sight of Naismith signalling to the dug- out and sitting on the ground to be taken off on a stretcher, the last Everton player I saw do exactly that was Deulofeu now how long was he out, let us hope it’s just a coincidence. He got a hell of a reception on his stretcher journey around the pitch as the game resumed and Atsu in his place. Final whistle and a sort of muted reaction to it all as we did join in with ‘Grand old team’

MotM — Osman/McCarthy

Overall a win with a depleted team and some good performances and a couple not so good, some good joined up moves and some not so good, No matter what is said about games of footy if you get a win and do it often enough you will have success so here’s hoping we get these good runs in all the competitions left open to us starting Thursday evening.

A full house today; leaving the ground, I was on Goodison Road and it was swamped with people all seemingly going in different directions at a reasonable speed, some walking with crutches others with sticks and a few wheel-chairs some with headlights, yet none of us seem to walk into each other or crash with each other. In such circumstances it never ceases to amaze me how we all end where we are going in one piece. Marvellous init. Back into the room of nonsense for the inquest and not a scratch on any of us.

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (11)

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Trevor Lynes
1 Posted 23/11/2014 at 17:32:13
Witty report as usual and I have to agree with you about the Hibbert selection. It was anticipated that West Ham would play a physical game and it was not the right time to Ă‚’bloodĂ‚’ young Garbutt as he is great going forward but needs improvement defensively.

Osman was my MotM scoring a winning goal after running half the length of the pitch plus making some great subtle passes. He may have found his best position for creativity as he has more space when played deeper.

Great win, now seven games without defeat and Wolfsburg to come. They will be very difficult and are the biggest threat to us keeping our place at the top of the group.

Peter Mills
2 Posted 23/11/2014 at 17:39:55
Wonderful stuff Ken. I'm glad you mentioned Osman's ball to Coleman in the first half, it was the pass of the season so far.
Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 23/11/2014 at 18:37:18
Good report, Ken, as usual. For any fan who doesnĂ‚’t go to the game, they must look forward to your view of the match. I can promise them it is always spot on but at least itĂ‚’s nearly always the same as I see the game.
Brent Stephens
4 Posted 23/11/2014 at 19:09:12
Nice report, Ken. "After another round of 'Ring a Ring of Roses' the ref gave Kev a yellow"! Classic. A plague on all their houses!

Hope that Seat is still motoring well. You've been to a few matches in that by now.

Mike Childs
5 Posted 23/11/2014 at 20:35:45
Thanks, Ken. I so look forward to your game analysis every week. Insightful, bias-free and totally entertaining.
Dick Fearon
6 Posted 23/11/2014 at 21:55:41
Ah... how good is it to wake up on this warm 30°C morning with 3 well deserved points under our belt.

Congratulations to players on both sides for their contribution toward a good, fast thoroughly entertaining game.

I was tempted to have a dig at our dear red neighbours but I guess the poor sods are hurting enough.

Ajay Gopal
7 Posted 24/11/2014 at 03:43:17
Thanks, Ken. Another lovely report. Good to see that our Ossie seems to be getting better with age, whereas Stevie Me is going rapidly downhill.
Trevor Lynes
8 Posted 24/11/2014 at 12:11:25
Yes Ajay! Osman played well playing deep and, as I said earlier, it suits him as he has more time on the ball. He could develop into our playmaker if played in the same way IMO. Having a settled defence is paramount in our league and we have one of the best when everyone is fully fit.

I really am not over keen on playing two defensive midfielders and prefer just one with the other having a more flexible role. I think that whilst Barry is unfit Osman should be kept in the role as we already have six defenders counting Howard and the back four along with McCarthy.

I would like to see Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Osman in place with Mirallas and Pienaar on the flanks and Barkley and Lukaku up front whilst Naismith is unavailable. Barkley needs to start scoring goals if he is to make the grade otherwise it is Naismith for me with Barkley on the bench.

Eto'o off the bench could slot in anywhere as he showed against West Ham. Hibbert has showed he has plenty left to give and should be on the bench.

Lee Whitehead
9 Posted 24/11/2014 at 16:28:34
WHAT A WEEKEND !!!

1) Blues Win
2) Tony Bellew Win
3) Southport Win

PLUS

RS & Tranmere Lose

Don’t get much better than that!!!!

Bill Gall
10 Posted 24/11/2014 at 17:39:16
Another great report Ken and as I watched the game on TV and echo a number of your comments, after listening to Allardyce I wondered what game he was watching.

A couple of weeks back a number of supporters (myself included) were questioning the strength of the squad but, with all the injuries we have at present, everyone seems to roll up their sleeves and get on with it without any excuses.

Anto Byrne
11 Posted 24/11/2014 at 05:59:34
In such circumstances, it never ceases to amaze me how we all end where we are going in one piece.

Yes and safely and in good humour – but then again, it is the Everton way, is it not?

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