Back from a wedding on Saturday and into the pub before the match, hungover to Hell, I slowly felt better with the thought of an Everton win at forefront of my mind. We were, after all, playing at home to the worst team in the league. An easy three points coming our way, then.

Not the case, however, as gutsy Leicester City put up a fight against pitiful Everton. So rancid was Evertonís game that the first half seemed to take an age to pass by. Both teams could, and should, easily have scored come the interval with Barkley, Lukaku, Kramaric and Schlupp all finding the stands rather than the net. At half time it HAD to get better.

The half time break didnít seem to do a lot to improve Evertonís display and Leicester City really should have taken the lead when Schlupp again missed the target with a great chance. Martinez had to change something as it certainly wasnít working though the substitutions baffled the Goodison faithful when Gibson and Atsu were introduced at the expense of Barkley and Besic. Ross Barkley just appeared to be getting into the game and may have been worth persevering with for longer, though it was the withdrawal of Mohammed Besic which was met with groans from the crowd.

Still the substitution worked somehow when Naismith bundled the ball in once he had been put up front. Everton extremely fortunate to be a goal ahead but we were glad to take it.

Earlier in the game we were discussing how David Nugent had never quite made it as a Premier League player. I just knew all that talk would come back to haunt us somehow and the boyhood Blue pounced to level the scores with I think his first touch. It was difficult to tell from the other end of the pitch but Tim Howard was at fault for the goal apparently.

If there was any doubt about whether Howard was at fault for the first Leicester City goal, there was no doubt about the second one when he got well under the flight of the ball from a deep Leicester City cross. The ball eventually fell to Cambiaso who, as expected, made no error in putting the Foxes ahead. Even in the twilight of his career the Argentinian is still a joy to watch.

Leicester Cityís mistake was in clinging on to what they had for too long. So bad were we playing that I was worried Leicester City would have scored a third at one point though eventually they sat too deep for too long and Everton managed to scramble an equaliser when Atsuís cross towards Lukaku was put into his own net by Matthew Upson.

We almost stole an undeserved winner from a corner after that but the ball just wouldnít go in, though following a bazaar decision by Phil Dowd to award Leicester City a free kick for an apparition Foul by Leighton Baines, we ended up defending for our lives in the dying minutes to preserve the point.

It was a disappointing display from Everton, very much so in fact. After probably our best performance of the season on Thursday night in Switzerland you hoped we would hit the ground running and carry on in the same manor but this wasnít the case. Instead it was the slow passing game which has haunted our season and we never did enough to beat the worst team in the league.

Fine margins define games however and had Lukaku put at least one of his great chances away we may have won. The fault lies with the manager however. I am not convinced Joel Robles is really our future when it comes to the goalkeeper position, though dropping him for Tim Howard when Robles has just kept three clean sheets in a row was not a good decision.

Tim Howard has been culpable for all four goals we have conceded since he was back between the sticks and he should not have been brought back into the team. I respect Tim Howard. Heís been generally excellent for us over the years and I would suggest he still has a future at the club but his performances have been poor and he should have to fight for his place...not walk straight back into it.

I donít expect Martinez to change the goalkeeper but I wish he would. I would put Robles straight back in on Thursday and at Arsenal on Sunday. We need to get solid again at the back. It seems Joel Robles is integral to that.

Howard: Needs to be taken out of the team. Robles was in much better form. 4
Baines: Solid if not spectacular. 6
Jagielka: Coped pretty well at the back and was trying to get forward to influence the game as much as anyone in the second half. 7
Stones: Comfortable on the ball and always looking for a forward opportunity. I hope we can keep hold of him as he has all the qualities to become an important player for us for a number of years. 7
Coleman: Got forward pretty well in the second half though doesnít quite seem at full pelt. 6
Besic: Was doing OK until he was substituted. 6
McCarthy: Did well. Huge player for us and great to have him back. 7
Naismith: Got himself a goal and full of running as ever. I donít really like he and Barkley in the same team however. Itís either/or for me. 6
Lennon: My man of the match. Seems to have settled quickly. Was in and out of the game a fair bit but did cause problems with his pace and directness when he got on the ball. I can see him making a reasonable impact for the rest of the season. 7
Barkley: Didnít really get into the game before he was substituted on 55 minutes. 5
Lukaku: Missed far too many opportunities and we need a lot more from our £28m striker. 5

Substitutes:
Gibson (for Barkley): Had a positive impact on the game with his passing and running. May be well worth giving him a game on Thursday night. 6
Atsu (for Besic): OK he set up the equaliser but Iím yet to see what he brings to the party. I certainly wouldnít be making the loan move a permanent one. 5
Mirallas (for Naismith): Not on long and didnít get into the game. 5

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Mike Price
1 Posted 23/02/2015 at 05:59:57
I like you're posts, but I have to disagree.

I have always thought Howard a very, very below average keeper, I can't stand him and can't wait for him to be gone from our club.

He is an absolute joke of a keeper, and as somebody else already said on another thread, I can't believe its taken so long for people to realize this.

I also get the sense that a lot of our players don't really like him, and see him as the utter clown that he truly is.

David Milner
2 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:16:39
You are wrong Mike, Howard has not always been a joke. He was at fault yesterday & cost us the win, although our strikers could not hit a barn door. So different from Thursday, if we had played that style we would have won, but back to the slow buildup that does not work for us.
It makes you wonder if certain players have the 'if fit must play' clause written into their contracts. Remember Phil Neville being played in any position available just to give him a game, & he WAS A JOKE.
If the shite can drop Mignolet after he had a few bad games why can't we with Howard, over to you El Bob.
Tony Draper
3 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:15:57
Mike @ 1
I entirely accept that we all have the right to choose which players we like or don't like.
You think TH is "an absolute joke of a keeper", OK got that.

However,
"I also get the sense that a lot of our players don't really like him, and see him as the utter clown that he truly is."

You supply absolutely no supporting evidence for this deep "insight" to explain how you have seen into the other players minds/opinions. For the benefit of the far less intuitively gifted (ie, the likes of me) could you please identify or explain what "signs and signals" or "vibrations" you are reading ?

Christopher Timmins
4 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:33:54
Paul, we were lucky to take a point from the game and I have to agree that we should only be playing one number 10 every week.
Tony Hill
5 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:41:17
I think Howard has been a good servant to Everton and I agree with Paul that he could yet have much to offer us in the future, though in my view that should be largely in an off-field role.

The danger is that Martinez's insistence on selecting him - despite poor form throughout this season and in truth for a portion of last season - will tarnish his reputation with the fans and cause bad feeling. That would be a shame.

Steve Pugh
6 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:45:48
Personally I only hold Howard partially at fault for the first goal. John Stones got in his way.

Second goal was all his.

How can a man who kept more clean sheets in a single season than the Great Neville Southall have always been useless?

James Hughes
7 Posted 23/02/2015 at 07:47:37
While goals win you games, every manager apart from Roberto knows a solid defence and keeper stops you losing them.
We gave Joel dog√ā’s abuse and just as he settles down and is proving us all wrong Howard is recalled. I can√ā’t fathom that.

The goals we conceded yesterday, well if your local pub team played like that it would still be poor, for professionals is was abysmal.

Paul Gladwell
8 Posted 23/02/2015 at 08:15:24
As silly as it sounds we would be still in the hunt for top four If it wasn't for Howard's blunders, yesterday, Spurs,Hull & Palace at home the list goes on his poor positioning for free kicks against Sunderland and the shite etc, his kicking yet again was woeful yesterday and cost us away at Man Utd too.
Things were starting to fit into place and he drops Robles after three clean sheets which everyone bar the manager thought was wrong.
I've gone from hanging off every word our manager says to keeping away from his utter drivel week after week, it's my six year old lads first full season, he's still young for match going so it's hard to keep him focused and get into Everton as it is without witnessing dross boring crap week after week, it's only the sweets that are keeping him going and he's going to end up with no bloody teeth left with this crap on offer.
The scary thing is we are going to lose a good few players next year and I'm thinking can we trust this fella if we give him another season?
Matt Traynor
9 Posted 23/02/2015 at 05:40:20
Thing is, he probably was planning to put Robles in on Thursday with us being almost a certainty for the next round of EL. We could lose 0-3 and still go through on away goals...

RM, like his predecessor, won't drop his favourites - even when woefully out of form. Howard has had his worst season in memory this season - either partly as a result of a ponderous defence, or possibly causing that nervousness. Brenda across the park had no hesitation dropping Mignolet earlier in the season.

Mark Andersson
10 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:36:25
Good report. Fair marks out of 10 to. It, s too late for this team to turn the corner, they are just not confident enough. If we survive relagation I would still like to see the back of Martinez. None of the wins in Europe have been convincing we have rode our luck and it will soon equal its self out.

If we meet any Premier teams in the last 16 we will of course bottle it. This season and this manager has turned me into a negitive thinking man when ii use to be optimistic. Fed up after watching the game for the 2nd time.

Rick Tarleton
11 Posted 23/02/2015 at 10:01:05
Howard has always been a risk. He can make great saves, but has always been in a panic in a crowded box or at set pieces.
Don't see Lennon as an answer, he's so one-footed you know every time which way he is going to go and therefore a pacy fullback will read him and block him. At times he and Coleman got in each other's way.
Kevin Tully
12 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:53:59
Martinez said the no.1 shirt was Howard's to lose. Well, if he doesn't get Robles back in after that performance, he never will.

Beaten far too easily at Bern for their goal through poor positioning ( a sin for any top 'keeper) then he does his usual against Leicester for their second - completely misjudges the flight of the ball. How many times have we seen that?

Remember Gerrard's free-kick in the Merseyside derby? Poor again. Palace at home and Chelsea at home, another two stinkers.

Sorry Tim, you have decent at times and average for 90% of your time with us. Far too hesitant when coming off your line. Distribution and starting attacks - again, too hesitant.

For the money he is earning, we could do far better. Let's give Robles the rest of the season to prove he is worthy, if not, we need a new 'keeper.

Jim Hourigan
13 Posted 23/02/2015 at 09:58:59
Howard has, for me, only ever been a decent shot stopper and a good reaction goalie. His kicking has always been poor and his positional sense questionable. He does not command his area and very rarely comes out to take a ball when there are players around. Perhaps all these failings are common with most modern goalies? One other thing that disturbs me is the frequency with which he ends up behind his own line. Daft as it may seem, but for corners and free kicks that are whipped in, he often takes step back and is behind the line as the ball is delivered - how can that be good goalkeeping? Equally how many of us start to panic when the ball is heading to his feet - is there actually anyone who is confident of Howard when defenders start rolling the ball to him? Put all these together and you get an average premiership goalie, good at somethings and bloody awful at others but someone who is clearly having his worst season for us - I suspect Ferguson saw this very early !!
Kjetil Moen
14 Posted 23/02/2015 at 11:29:00
Lennon was your MotM?! Dear me.
Dean Adams
15 Posted 23/02/2015 at 11:31:09
We have conceded 13 goals from defensive errors this season, more than any other team. 25 defensive errors. That is when our players mess up and gift the opposition a goal. The only person to blame for that is the one who orchestrates the whole calamity. When I find him.......................
Harold Matthews
16 Posted 23/02/2015 at 10:28:20
Terrific shot-stopper but panics with time to think. All keepers make mistakes but Howard makes more than most. Hard to justify the dropping of Joel Robles after three clean sheets and a series of solid performances. The lad had cut out the punching and was starting to look the real deal. Have we now put him back to square one?

Never like to see Besic brought off but Gibbo was a revelation. Coached from a boy at Man U to think in an attacking manner, he'll never be a great defender but he pushes us forward at a quicker tempo.

Baines was less effective than Oviedo because he continually refuses to use his right foot. When turning inside the fullback, instead of crossing the ball or getting it forward to a team-mate, he passed it 20 yards back to Jags. Left foot, left foot, left foot.

Unlike several others, I am delighted with Lennon and Atsu.

Felt very sorry for young Stones during the last 10 minutes when he looked absolutely knackered and was running on auto. The result of having to cover for too many team-mates too many times.

Not sure which is worse. A keeper conceding goals or a striker missing sitters. I guess they both make the difference between winning and losing. Lukaku drives me crackers but we're stuck with him and I have to believe he's working hard on his right foot technique. At least he is not afraid to use it. Always a goal threat and a handful, he has time on his side and will hopefully improve. After the Chelski, Leicester games I wanted to kick him out but he did get himself into scoring positions and caused much chaos in the opposition defence.

Not a good time to be a blue but if we find a decent keeper we'll be okay.

Liam Reilly
17 Posted 23/02/2015 at 13:28:17
Kjetil #14
You beat me too it; I thought Lennon was awful, not in the game at all and poor decisions when he was.

Atsu looked like he has something about him and if Mirallas stopped believing his own hype; he'd be a starter for me.

Don't understand the Barkley substitutions either. The last time we won was against QPR at home wher he played deeper (with Besic I think); so why not put him there again; as Gibson is not the future.

Tony J Williams
18 Posted 23/02/2015 at 13:54:57
Lennon man of the match?

What game were you watching Paul?

He was awful, a couple of times bearing down on goal after a quick break away, not once did he try and have a dig at goal, just looked for a pass and ultimately ballsed it up.

I was one of the fans mystified by the Besic sub (he did acknowledge the groans) but to be fair, Gibson changed the game with his forward passes, won’t say accurate, as he hit quite a few straight into touch behind Baines.

Lukaku obviously had his "Premiership" boots on, maybe the kit man can replace them with his "European" boots and maybe he will actually start slotting again.

Norman Merrill
19 Posted 23/02/2015 at 14:20:45
One things for sure Howard should never be mentioned in the breath as NEVILLE SOUTHALL
Harold Matthews
20 Posted 23/02/2015 at 16:57:23
Or the same sentence.
Ajay Gopal
21 Posted 23/02/2015 at 17:41:22
Martinez should be bold and try something new against Young Boys:

Robles
Coleman Jagielka Alcaraz Garbutt
Besic Gibson Barkley Barry
Atsu Lukaku

SUBS: Howard Browning McCarthy Baines Mirallas Kone Naismith

Lee Gorre
22 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:02:15
Tony #18, I thought Gibson made a big difference and the misplaced ball to baines I remember, but I think that was the only blip. He zipped the ball forward and wide quickly and with pace and that made a huge difference to our attacks. I'm struggling with Besic, at the moment he is overhyped, the boos when he was subbed were mystifying. He needs to learn to release the ball quicker.
Mike Dolan
23 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:39:12
Paul could not agree more. Tim is a total reaction goalie who always has fallen short on the technical aspects of his play. His distribution which was always dismal is now absolutely pathetic. I cannot help but wonder if the medication that he takes for his Turrets Syndrome is interfering with his concentration.

Based on his performances this year he is no longer viable as a goalie at this level. If the defenders do not trust their keeper then it leads to all sorts of problems, he effects more than what happens between the sticks

David Hallwood
24 Posted 23/02/2015 at 18:42:36
Good report Paul; missed the game and only saw the, ahem, highlights on MOTD2. Can't agree with a 4 for Howard; how about -2. If you went to see your lad in the under 11's or a mate who plays for the Dog & Duck 2nd XI, and the GK gets done with two bread and butter crosses (what is it about his near post that Howard doesn't like), i't be a case of "goalie's shite".

But this is a GK getting god knows how much a week and playing in what is supposed to be the best league in the world. So how many more times have we got to see him flap at crosses, get done at his near post, push a ball out back into open play, punch a ball(weakly) instead of catching it.

Harold Matthews(#16) posed the question what's worse "a keeper conceding goals or a striker missing sitters". No contest, the keeper wins by a country mile and mistake a game Howard or if we're in front 2 mistakes a game has costs us at least 15 points.

A fucking liability get shut. It's also a test of Martinez management skills, because the Mourinho's of the world correct their mistakes in double-quick time, rather than persisting with players or systems that need replacing. That could be the end of him

Paul Tran
25 Posted 23/02/2015 at 20:24:20
Good point David. It's the good defence and keeper that ultimately wins you more points. Martinez persists in playing a keeper that makes mistakes and costs us goals. We can see it, he won't. He bought Robles, he told us he was good, Robles proved him right and he still dropped him for a guy who has under-performed and cost us points all season.

Leicester barely troubled us yesterday. Without Howard's mistakes, we would have won. Ditto for many occasions this season.

Martinez has made many poor decisions this season and we have suffered. He can't see what we all can see. He keeps dropping players in form for players out of form. A good keeper wins you points, gives confidence to the back four and can cause doubt in strikers. Howard does none of this. He shouldn't play for us again, he isn't good enough.

Derek Thomas
26 Posted 23/02/2015 at 23:11:06
We made a gang of poor but honest triers look good, or was it the other way round

To be honest, the uncommitted TV-viewing neutral would've been hard put to say which team was actually bottom and, given this hypothetical neutral's limited knowledge, and shaky grasp of geography, he might've read somewhere Leicester were bottom and didn't he have half a dim memory harking back to Gordon Banks that they also played in blue... and there you have it

We have given them more that 10% of their total points 2 games 2 pts. the other 24 games gave them 16. This says much more about us than them.

I don't think we will get relegated, we will ( should ) be clear with plenty of games to go, if we maintain our average of fractionally just over 1 pt. per game.

I fear that Bill and Bob ( more like Bill and 'kin Ben at times ) aided and abetting each other, have put all their potential season saving kudos into CL entrance via the Thursday League.

I also fear that the first really decent technical foreign side... or heaven forbid, you know who or spurs if they get through...and the odds are on us drawing one or the other, will do us over to finish off that pipe dream.

At this stage in the proceedings I see no good reason to take the extra strong bike clips off my brown trousers.

If we stutter along doing our point-ish a game average by May and there ISN'T a trip to Warsaw. I will be very disappointed, but not too surprised if Martinez is still in the job by July.

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