Everton 1 - 1 West Ham United

The FA Cup 3rd Round and a game I always look forward to as the cup still means something to me, even though it seems to have been belittled by Sky only wanting to promote the Premier League and Champions League with any commitment. After our woeful festive attempts at football I wondered how many might turn up tonight and sadly it was a poor turn out.

The room of nonsense was down to the hard core and the walk up to the ground was, with just 15mins to kick-off, almost a Sunday stroll. No one to push and shove with, the Fat van had shrunk in size and the badge and scarf doorway emporium was missing all together. Only the Blue Dragon chippy looked to have bucked the trend and had a healthy queue. Into the ground, no queuing at the turnstiles and on entering the Goodison theatre row upon row of empty seats greeted us. It turned out the crowd was just over 20,000 so the club was in sync with the room of nonsense in only attracting the hard core for this one.

The team as announced was a strong one, if not a confident one and the first half was to be one of mostly West Ham domination with the Blues having the better chances and, indeed, could have and maybe should have gone in at half time in front. WHU had Downing creating from midfield and our rookie keeper had to be alert in making saves first at his near post where he got down in quick time to turn away a near post thunderbolt and then to make a fine tip over from a powerful shot from Downing. Two other chances went begging when Downing crosses flashed across goal, luckily for us without a Hammer getting a touch.

However, despite this Everton had the best chances as Lukaku, who has been rightly chastised of late, seemed to have been fired up and was putting himself about with purpose and did manage two shots that had the crowd interested. I thought that the first half, without being spectacular, was a notch up from previous performances in terms of commitment and effort. We still frustrated, with some of the defensive play leading to a touch of anxiety for those present but it was better with only Jags, Distin and Barkley looking a touch off the pace the others without being great were definitely putting in the effort to find some form even if it didn’t work out all of the time.

The crowd seemed to appreciate this to a point, with only the backward movements bringing chastisement. 0-0 at the break and not as much hostility toward manager and players as in previous games yet that feeling of ‘we will cock this up’ was always present.

We started strongly in the second half and the willingness of Lukaku and Naismith to run the channels as well as closing down WHU defenders and keeper was a welcome sign of intent which always pleases our crowd. From a good start we were to be undone just ten mins into the half when West Ham gained a corner. I read on ToffeeWeb this week someone saying we don’t practice defending set pieces so I took note tonight and from my seat I reckon we do have a method of defending whether its practised or not.

Oviedo who was easily picked out by his bright orange boots always took up the same position, as did Mirallas and the way the others were positioned across the box it looked to be zonal marking which on this particular corner it didn’t work as the cross just cleared our first man Besic in the Carsley position to be met firmly by Collins, who was on the move and powered home. So we do have a method of defending but on this occasion it did not prevent a goal so maybe back to the drawing board or just maybe the practice pitch. That goal brought silence from the home faithful and after our poor run of results the comment ‘Looks like it’s all over’ was heard from many lips.

The half trundled on and our man Robles won over a few fans with a couple of fine interventions while Besic added to his growing fan club with a whole-hearted display that included giving Nolan the Serbian stare and a bit of a coming together that saw Nolan keep his distance in the time that remained. The ref was making some odd decisions and disallowed what looked like a good goal by Lukaku which prompted a fan to tell me with some conviction that Mr Taylor is a big RS fan and he knows because he is also a referee locally.

The half continued in open fashion and chances were almost created at both ends but loose final balls did for both teams. More bad luck on the injury front as Distin limped off holding the back of his thigh to be replaced by the now fit again Stones on 70 minutes. We were pressing hard but that lack of penetration into the box was not evident and the short passing between players who were looking for an opening was not going down well with the faithful as they wanted them to stick it in the mixer and get after it and see what happens and that is as far away as you can get from the Martinez philosophy but in the end it was to pay off so maybe just maybe we can get a middle way between the two.

A last throw of the dice on 85 mins sees McGeady replace Besic who came off to a very good reception. McGeady threw himself into the fray with the fury of a man so recently severely criticised and was indeed to be part of the move that saw our injury time equaliser. We certainly didn’t lie down today or look leggy as we went hell for leather right to the death and the goal that Lukaku got was just reward and it was a good fast move that did the trick.

Barry headed forward and the ball came back and was worked out to the left where McGeady and Oviedo tangled with a defender. McGeady was to squirt the ball out of the melee for Oviedo to pounce and hit one low and hard across the box which Lukaku seemed to have it bounce off him only for him to show great reflexes and somehow become airborne to volley home to rapturous applause. The remaining few minutes were played out to the sound of a real Goodison bear pit finale, the like of which has not been heard this season. The winner didn’t come but a replay does; probably neither manager wanted it but both will take it.

MotM – Besic

Overall a frustrating night out with the last 8 minutes being the highlight. The belting out of the Lukaku song will not be lost on him and neither will the never-say-die spirit right to the end being wildly supported on the players in general. My gut feeling was that those last minutes and the equaliser may just have had a positive ring with manager and players and somehow the upcoming game against Man City is not quite as daunting.

I think the accusation that some fitness staff have left because of managerial interference may have been put to bed tonight as the Blues looked strong and fought hard right up to that 95th minute. So maybe – just maybe – we can get off the roundabout and turn Jags corner and have a reasonable second half to the season or maybe I read the green shoots of recovery wrong tonight.

Soon be Saturday so see you there and who knows what this crazy world of footy will throw up.

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (36)

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James Kirrane
1 Posted 07/01/2015 at 05:16:23
Another great report Ken. If McCarthy is fit for Saturday who will be dropped? The manger's favourite Barry or impressive but seemingly dispensable Besic? I think we all know the answer to that question. Would love to see McCarthy, Besic and Barkley playing in midfield together.
Laurie Hartley
2 Posted 07/01/2015 at 05:51:41
Thanks Ken for the report. I havenĂ‚’t see this game (in Oz) but I always get the sense that you give an unbiased account of proceedings.

The thing in your report that really gives me heart is your comments about Besic. (Love that "Sebian Stare" reference - you do have way with words).

I am getting a little bit long in the tooth now and perhaps because of that I reckon I can pick a hard case when I see one and reckon is as hard as nails. That is Barton and Nolan he has put back in their boxes in the last few weeks - not many could do that.

He needs to start every game from now on - when your in a dogfight (which we are for the foreseeable future) you need bull terriers not pomeranians.

I know that is not exactly in keeping with School of Science principals but we havenĂ‚’t got time for that at the moment.

Great to see the team come from behind - that also gives me hope. Might be a turning point. I hope so.

Up the Blues!!!

Mick Wrende
3 Posted 07/01/2015 at 06:15:32
There was nothing in that game to suggest any "green shoots of recovery" and the author seems to have watched a different game to me. Yes there was a bit more effort but that's all - we just don't have the quality of player in the side which is epitomized by the author naming Besic as his man of the match. He is purely a destructive player with no forward passing skills.
The same frailties still exist - conceding from a corner as Collins scored unmarked and unchallenged. Everybody back but no-one on the post. And another hamstring injury - our 19th according to the medical staff.
I know strange things can happen in football but can anyone see us really getting anything out of City's visit on Saturday or the replay at West Ham? No, That equalizer may have saved Martinez but only for 7 days. This shambles cannot continue.
Derek Thomas
4 Posted 07/01/2015 at 06:20:41
Good report as ever Ken; Possible greeny/blue shoots of recovery. Now all we have to do is sack off the Zonal Marking.

Not so long ago we and many others were and deservedly so, giving Benitez heaps for the same system and they were leaking goals all over the place.

Marking space ffs, I ask you when was the last time 'space' scored a goal...It's a pretentious affectation from coaches too clever by half and a cop-out for defenders too timid to attack the ball... you don't even have to practice it...if you have the guts to put your head in, you attack the ball and put your head in...IF??.

This could even be one of the few times that the Keeper punching the ball is the right thing to do...Robles and Howard are biggish units...all you have to do is have the guts to attack the ball ( it's pretty simple Roberto )... oh and somebody on the post just in case you do miss it...but you have to have the guts to attack the ball...did I mention attack the ball??

Philosophy my arse.

* gets off hobby horse

Phil Walling
5 Posted 07/01/2015 at 06:52:01
Transfer tonight's form to the league programme and we might just make 40 points for the season.

Green shoots, indeed.

Jeff Hughes
6 Posted 07/01/2015 at 06:59:15
Some great points Ken and the real positive tonight was the belated return of some sort of spirit within the side, even if only in the dying embers of the game. What still worries me most is the balance in midfield. I don't see a unit; I don't see players who play well together; and there seems to be a total inability to pick up players as West Ham passed it through us in the first half with ease. You cannot have Naismith, Barkley and Eto for that matter on the same pitch. If you play Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley you get individuals with the pace and power to worry defences but you are not going to get, as Ken and I wish, high pressure in closing other teams down and the other players had better put in a shift to compensate. We need, despite his obvious faults, an Osman, who can knit together our passing game. Oh for a Peter Reid or an Alan Ball in this team! Still, we can only hope things may start to get better
Tony Burke
7 Posted 07/01/2015 at 07:11:26
Ken. If you addressed Besic as "Serbian", the very least youĂ‚’d get in reply would be the Bosnian stare.
Paul Gladwell
8 Posted 07/01/2015 at 07:26:48
Mick, a few months back we had a full squad of quality players you claim we don't have, we were all screaming from the roof tops about it, players like Barkley and Coleman rated how much? Players who cost 㿈M and players like Mirallas who is wanting Champs League football. The thing is most of them players have been hiding and Mirallas didn't want to be on that pitch last night, he was a disgrace in my eyes.

We have a quality squad, it's just that something is wrong somewhere, from manager to players and lastly the fan base – those players were petrified stepping out onto that pitch at Goodison, you could see it from where I was sitting as soon as they entered the field.

Ian Bennett
9 Posted 07/01/2015 at 07:44:02
Positives

We played it a little bit longer, which made for a change at least, getting much more out of Lukaku.
Robles looked a lot better.
Besic had a really good game.
We looked a better team.

Negatives

Injury to Distin.
Jags was scary at times.
Another set piece concede.
Barkley wasted on the left. Gives the ball away too much, but has to play in the middle ahead of Naismith.

We still need to sign 3 players to turn this around. Gk, cb, and left mid. Three big holes in the side that need to fixed somehow. Oh for another 30m...

David Ellis
10 Posted 07/01/2015 at 07:41:46
Yes 100% agree with you Paul and disagree with Mick (#3). We have problems for sure. But lack of quality of players is surely not one of them. This is probably the finest squad we have had in 25 years (actually probably the best ever - but I don't need to make that claim to make my point). The manager is trying new things; its not working at the moment and confidence is low. We also have the wrong personnel in central defence and are short of a decent wide player. These things can and will be fixed.
Keep the faith.
Time to twist not fold. Continuity is our competitive advantage.
Paul Thompson
11 Posted 07/01/2015 at 08:13:10
Much better effort and spirit, Lukaku was superb and Robles improved. Whilst it's tempting to focus on the scary defence, agree with other posters that the main problem is with the cluttered and shapeless midfield. We lack both width and players to knit the game together. We should be better with McCarthy and Osman back and will have to play McGeady more for all his limitations.
Peter Laing
12 Posted 07/01/2015 at 08:37:22
Great report Ken, although Besic would probably treat you to one of his crunching tackles regarding the Serbian stare reference as he's Bosnian !
Ken Buckley
13 Posted 07/01/2015 at 08:43:43
Peter @ 12.

Yes but that was deffo a Serbian stare. Ha. Well spotted Laa.

Andy Meighan
14 Posted 07/01/2015 at 08:53:42
Mick (#3), I couldnĂ‚’t have put it better myself: they scored on 55 mins and we didnĂ‚’t start chasing it until 30 mins later. I feel a bit short changed there...
Xavier Spencer
15 Posted 07/01/2015 at 09:08:51
Hmmm... I thought we stunk the gaff out again. Besic, Naismith and Lukaku put a good shift in - but shouldn't that always be the case? And shouldn't that apply to the other eight players. Barkley is out of position and out of form. His brain seems to have seized up and he seems incapable of making the right decision with the ball at his feet. He either holds on it to it for too long or turns into trouble, He is at his most effective when running forward from a central midfield position and the two times he did this it almost led to an opening.

I actually felt sorry for Jagielka last night. His confidence is clearly shot and it was one calamity after the other. I take Distin's injury as a blessing. Time to get Stones bedded back in - but having said that his first pass was a mis-hit one over ten yards which I think sums up the general malaise which seems to be affecting the team and the club.

I jumped out of my seat when Lukaku equalised and my first thought was we've got out of jail. But for how long? We were second best all night. West Ham were better organised, moved the ball around neatly, found more space and were more of a threat in front of goal. Okay, they've had a decent season but they really did play us off the park. From my seat in the Upper Gladys Roberto cut a forlorn figure on the touchline. I like him (although his post match utterances are now driving me mad) but under him we really have become a soft touch. Goodison was always a fortress - teams hated coming here. Man U, Chelsea, City, Arsenal, they all dreaded it because they knew that they'd have to work their bollocks off to take anything from the game. Not anymore. We're as soft as shite.

Sorry to piss on everyone's parade but I remain as depressed as ever. It feels to me that we have nothing to build on. No discernible style of play, no passion, no commitment. I just can't see where we're heading at the moment.

Sid Logan
16 Posted 07/01/2015 at 10:00:30
Good report Ken.

Good point about fitness levels we did look like we were sustaining the fight to the end. Besides Lukaku I also thought good performances from Besic and Oviedo.

I heard the RS connection about Taylor. Whither way as so may this days he's a poor ref.

Slightly looking forward to Saturday more than I was.
Optimistic or foolish? We'll see.

Iain Love
17 Posted 07/01/2015 at 10:41:23
Points I took from the game , Robles is a strange one , there was a number of times I thought " Whats he doing ?" but after we'd equalized he collected a ball and lay on it seemingly time wasting, until the Goodison crowd screamed at him to get it forward at which he flew up and pumped it long, odd. Has Coleman lost the will to go on a run, or is he saving himself for another team ?.
Why do our centre backs a/ let the ball bounce, and b/ Head the ball skywards rather than forwards.
Why does our most experienced player Barry commit silly fouls .Besic can tackle. Naismith uses Duracell batteries. Lukaku played well and has a great song.The bloke behind me doesn't like the ref.
I've always thought that to create a decent team you need a good spine. That's GK ,Centre back ,Centre mid and Centre forward, that wasn't apparent last night and there was a clear lack of leadership and communication , I would have took Jags off at half time as he was having a poor game and wasn't doing a captains job either and replaced him with Stones, I know Distin got injured later but it would have been a clear statement from the manager that this isn't good enough. The Captains armband I would have given to Barkley to see if he would /could respond in the right way.
Hugh A Ross
18 Posted 07/01/2015 at 10:30:01
Yet another great report, Ken. Thanks! As a blue blood on loan to my grandchildren in Tooting, I really appreciate the quality of your report!

Our midfield situation is desperate, our ball winning and distribution are abysmal!!! Gone are the defence splitting passes.

Have Baines and Coleman slipped on red shirts over Christmas? Has Barkley started to believe over-hyped reports on his ability, and is EtoĂ‚’o filling his pension pot? We need a Plan B. We are Everton – not a facsimile of Wigan.

I still think Joey Barton could do a job; as well as the Bosnian stare we could have a real Scouser stare.

Derek Thomas
19 Posted 07/01/2015 at 11:57:58
According to 1 WHU website; Reid ( aged 26 ) can go now for not much money. WHU fans don't fancy the replay and how they didn't beat us when they had the chance...I suppose it's all relative. but for me, rightly or wrongly Martinez, having used up all his kudos from last season, is, for the near future, only one game from the sack.

At the moment I'm NEA'd. either way.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 07/01/2015 at 12:10:20
We are West Ham's bogey team. Scraping a draw at home felt like relief at the time but does not feel quite so good today.

I fear for the weekend, though at least we won't have as much of the ball to inflict the usual self-punishment.

Denis Richardson
21 Posted 07/01/2015 at 12:15:22
Sam - just to add to that fear, not only Dzeko but also apparantly Agureo might be available this weekend.

If Jags was bricking it against a Carrolless West Ham, he's not going to get much sleep over the next few days!

Dave Harrison
22 Posted 07/01/2015 at 12:52:27
I noticed 3 things about the game last night:
1) we were moving ball forward more direct, and maybe countered the lack of plan B - this also brought Lukaku into game much more which benefitted him!
2) the central defenders didn't pass it between themselves and GK as much and were able to boot it forward (see point 1!)
3) Mirallas (and Coleman) was missing for most of game and didn't seem interested
Alan McGuffog
23 Posted 07/01/2015 at 13:21:55
Denis... yeah I saw that and it pissed me off. Typical of our luck, Aguero coming back in time to play against us. Without him we could have taken them no problem (he says in Frankie Abbot from Please Sir voice, circa 1970).
Les Fitzpatrick
24 Posted 07/01/2015 at 13:10:40
I was quite impressed with the lads tonight. More urgency and fight was shown and I was pleased to see Rom and Naisy showing a bit of form, but the stand out performer for me was Besic.

HeĂ‚’s a bit of a rough diamond at the moment but I can see improvement in his play, from when he first joined us.

The team looked nervous when they came out onto the pitch; however, they stepped up to the plate and gave their all, except for Mirallas and, to a lesser extent, Coleman.

Tom Bowers
25 Posted 07/01/2015 at 13:24:26
ItĂ‚’s true that last nightĂ‚’s game could not be termed a Ă‚’Ă‚’turning pointĂ‚’Ă‚’ but there were a few positives. The team did show spirit and grit so often missing in recent games but it may have been down to being a cup-tie with a smallish crowd making a lot of noise.

Whilst it was an open game there was a lot of poor passing and in the first half EvertonĂ‚’s forward passing often seemed to hurried when a calmer head was needed. They are missing that type of player.

Defensively there are problems and it starts with Jagielka who made a few mistakes in that first half that could have proved costly. He is not the calm assured player we have come to know and we all know Distin is past it.

Oviedo took time to find his feet especially against the marauding Jenkinson but got better as the game wore on. His fitness will be a boost to the Blues in the coming weeks.

Man City will not be unbeatable and if the Blues can keep the lid on Silva and YaYa they will have a chance. If McCarthy is fully fit then I would include him at the expense of Barry or Naismith.

Clive Rogers
26 Posted 07/01/2015 at 16:30:29
Xavier #15,

Personally I thought Naismith was terrible and has been ever since he signed his new contract.

Steve Carse
27 Posted 07/01/2015 at 16:36:13
Clive (26), I wouldn't say he was terrible, but he certainly lacks composure in his final pass, particular when he's seen an opening and is trying to thread the ball through. He does though add a certain energy to the side, something to be valued amongst the pedestrian stuff we play these days.
Brent Stephens
28 Posted 07/01/2015 at 16:59:26
Another nice report, Ken. Totally agree re Besic MoM (or Lukaku - fag paper between them) and the green shoots (no more than that but defo some positives).
Mike Childs
29 Posted 07/01/2015 at 18:09:56
Like Linda way backin #2 you are a master at turning a phrase. As always thanks. I now leave this website hoping to find a book written by you.
James Joseph
30 Posted 07/01/2015 at 18:28:08
No need to worry about YaYa, Tom - he's away in Africa. Aguero, though might be back, probably on the bench.

I can't see Roberto leaving Barry out for this one - surely he would have done it last night rather than against his former team. Why not play Barry and McCarthy (if fully fit), with Besic doing a marking job on Silva? It would be similar to the roles he had marking Messi and Bale when playing for Bosnia. Bit too defensive for El Roberto I suspect.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 07/01/2015 at 18:34:11
Ken, another good report, as usual, just one point when you said the crowd went silent when West Ham scored, well they did initially but as the ball came down for the restart they really got behind the team with roars of Everton, Everton ringing around the ground letting the players know they where still right behind them. Just a small point but I think important that the crowd be acknowledged.
Clive Rogers
32 Posted 07/01/2015 at 20:14:39
Steve #27,

His last PL goal was united away at beginning of October. He's a championship player.

Steavey Buckley
33 Posted 08/01/2015 at 00:53:51
With Everton there is no clear plan of attack. Passing the ball about is fine (the best teams always keep hold of the ball) but there is no clear path to the opposing penalty area. When Coleman supported Mirallas on the right and Baines supported Pienaar on the left, there was clear intent that a cross would come in from either side. Now the play gets bogged down in the middle with rows of opposing defenders blocking the route to goal, with referees allowing the opposition to get away with fouls, while wanting to book Barkley or Naismith for diving.
Harold Matthews
34 Posted 08/01/2015 at 01:52:14
Yes Dave @31.. I loved the way our fans got behind the lads when we went a goal down. Stirring stuff.
Rob Halligan
35 Posted 12/01/2015 at 18:57:05
Fat Sam saying he is more flexible than Martinez. Well that's a joke for a kick off!! What he actually means is that he has more than one style of play while Martinez only has the one style.

Well hopefully, after the game last week against West Ham, and certainly the game against Man City, Fat Sam will have to 're-think about how we are going to set up tomorrow night and what style we are going to play. Hopefully it will be a more direct approach. Plenty of attacking down the flanks and loads of service to Lukaku. I can see us turning West Ham over if we get the ball forward a lot quicker.

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