What a satisfying day that was! Gaz generously picked us up extra-early so we could watch the Arsenal vs Liverpool match in the pub and what a great decision that turned out to be with Arsenal pulverising Liverpoolís Champions League chase in an entertaining game at the Emirates. The first job done then, now over to Everton to make the day more enjoyable.

Enjoyable it wasnít though we did plunder home to grab a third successive league win. The second half was so forgettably dire, though we did play quite well in patches in the first half and the goal came on the backdrop of a succession of corners and extended pressure, all of which started with Ross Barkley skipping past a few challenges and launching an Everton attack. This got the crowd (and in turn the players) going and we built from there with Phil Jagielka deftly stroking home from our third successive corner as we built pressure...and yes you read that right folks - we scored from a corner.

Things could have been different of course had Tim Howard not denied Graziano Pelle with a miracle save right underneath his own crossbar. It looked from where we sit that Howard might have come and claimed the ball in the first instance though having not done that he did remarkably well to recover and make the save.

The second half was quite the slog. Everton just about got over the line in what was quite a poor display. Southampton were no better and probably could have played all day and all night and not scored but we dug out the win, our third in a row and went home with smiles on our faces after quite a satisfying day.

So on we trundle and we now somehow sit in 11th position which is quite remarkable given how poorly we have performed this season, and with winnable games ahead, who knows, maybe we can mask the cracks of this season and drag ourselves to a somewhat respectable eighth or ninth position in the Premier League come what May.

Player ratings:
Howard: Made two crucial saves which kept us alive in the first half. Generally untroubled second half but did what he had to. 7
Baines: Gave the ball away a few times but got through the game. 5
Jagielka: Easily man of the match with solid defending and showed fantastic leadership...oh and scored the winning goal too. Comfortably player of the season for me. 9
Stones: Had a few hairy moments but got through the game OK. 6
Coleman: We didnít see a lot of him in an attacking sense but he did what he had to at the back. 5
McCarthy: Showed more of a willingness to get forward than normal and was busy as ever. 6
Barry: Pretty poor generally. 5
Lennon: Had a busy and effective game on the right. The end product is often lacking but his work rate is quite excellent and he had a positive impact on the game today. 7
Osman: Poor first half but picked up in the second half. 5
Barkley: Had a good game and I was astonished that he was substituted. Seemed to really have a spring in his step in the first half. A strong finish to the season would do him wonders going into the next campaign. 7
Kone: Woeful. 4
Substitutes: Naismith: Showed more in his first 30 seconds than Kone offered all game. He put himself about and got involved. 7 Besic: Nothing special really. 5

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Reader Comments (12)

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Andy Crooks
1 Posted 05/04/2015 at 11:53:23
Good report, Paul. This season is the first I can recall were we have won so many games we didn't deserve to. For many years it has seemed to be the other way round. Still, fortunate wins have saved us from relegation. We will have Martinez next season which is very disappointing because I believe this is going to be a close season of rebuilding.

Tough decisions must be made and neither Kenwright or Martinez seem capable of them.

Steve Hogan
2 Posted 05/04/2015 at 15:38:39
It's all about opinions I guess, but I honestly thought Barry had one of his better games and nullified most of the Southampton attack, particularly in the second half.

I thought he deserved more than a miserly 5.

Harold Matthews
3 Posted 05/04/2015 at 17:00:10
Agree Steve. Barry had a decent game and Coleman snuffed out their flying left winger.
Mike Childs
4 Posted 05/04/2015 at 17:37:28
For me, Barry was the most improved player on the pitch yesterday. It was his best game since October.

I have no problem with Jags for MotM with a 2nd place ribbon for my favorite whipping boy, Mr USA.

Peter Roberts
5 Posted 05/04/2015 at 18:22:13
Barry was better than usual. Baines was awful and deserves a 4. Kone huffed and puffed but is not nor will ever be of Everton calibre. Jags was excellent. Him and Stones should now be first choice centre halves.
Victor Jones
6 Posted 05/04/2015 at 18:12:54
Barry did okay yesterday, as did Howard. But where were these players earlier on in the season? In fact, where was everyone earlier on in the season? It's all too late, as usual with Everton. Good to see the team win matches. But how on earth were we so poor for the best part of this season?

Did Martinez throw everything at the Europa League, and neglect everything else? Not much of a manager then, if that was the case. Let's concentrate on one competition, and ignore everything else... That happens at other clubs, and I fear that it happens at Everton also.

And yes, Barry does play the odd good game. But is that the future of Everton? Surely we do not need him in the team every bloody game. And do we now need to also play Howard every bloody game.

And what is Alcaraz even doing on the bench? He should be looking for another club. And Baines should be now alternating with Garbutt. Naismith should be up top (in place of Kone) when Lukaku is out. And i'm not convinced yet with Lennon.

Also, let McGeady, Atsu and Distin move on. The summer should be interesting, but I suspect that nothing of any great significance will happen. Maybe just one or two bargain basement type players will be brought in, at the last minute. With Martinez telling us how phenomenal everything is. Oh the joys of being an Evertonian.

Let's see how Barry performs next week, before getting to carried away about him. I still say he shouldn't be considered for every game. I'll be at Goodison for the Man Utd game soon, and I hope Barry doesn't feature. We need younger legs in midfield for that game, to take the game to Man Utd. Barry won't be able to do that. Keep him for the likes of Burnley.

Good solid win yesterday. The performance for now is not important; the three points are. Performances will come (hopefully), with better players, and a better system. But sadly, we look to be stuck with Martinez. Can a leopard change its spots? I hope so, I really do.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 06/04/2015 at 08:20:30
The sad thing is that Kone looks so limited that when the often criticised Naismith replaced him, we looked much more lively.

A few on here had previously extolled the virtues of Kone, who could supposedly hold it up and had a bit of pace. The truth is plain to see, he has little pace can keep possession for a while but either then coughs it up, or misplaces a pass... awful. He can't play up top on his own and needs help either in a 4-4-2 or with wingers getting up there to help.

So often this season the front man ends up running the channels and blocking off the overlap for a marauding winger/wing-back, and rarely are the defensive-minded midfielders up early enough to offer any support.
We are playing poorly and these three fortuitous wins are papering over the cracks, which will reappear next season, if this very ordinary manager is allowed to continue.

Tony Hill
8 Posted 06/04/2015 at 12:41:54
I think Kone does have ability and his touch and hold-up play looked impressive in a couple of his earlier appearances. I was one who thought he could offer us more. The truth though is that he has never really been fit for us and/or he is just past his best. That calls into question the wisdom of bringing him here in the first place and for a reasonably substantial price.
Eddie Dunn
9 Posted 06/04/2015 at 15:52:48
Tony, this is just baffling, bringing in players in their 30s for five or 6 million, instead of taking a punt on younger lads from our own under 21s, or in the lower leagues.

I presume that Martinez prefers the "Devil you know", but unfortunately his choices Macca apart, have been dull. Kone, injured and unfit all season, Alcaraz, tries but isn't good enough, McGeady, not good enough.

I thought that Roberto would be scouting the young talent in Spain. I was in Barcelona some years back and went to watch Martinez's Swansea play Barca's 3rd team (mostly 17-year-olds). Swansea were playing a series of pre-season friendlies around that region. He did get a few good Spanish lads into his Swans team, but since Del-boy we have had none.

Is it the problem of not wanting to take a chance on youth? At least youth can improve. I can't see any of our elder statesmen getting any better!

Tony Hill
10 Posted 06/04/2015 at 16:17:57
Yes, Eddie, it's a real problem and it's baffling. Like so much else this season.
Jim Hardin
11 Posted 06/04/2015 at 16:00:40
I thought Kone did better than most on here do, especially in the first half. He actually had some nice touches and quick passes around the box and his pass to McCarthy on the square in the box was excellent. He made a nice back heel layoff to where he thought one of our players should have been running into the edge of the 18 but didn't and actually yelled at either Barkley or Osman to make the run. I don't think he was worth the fee paid but if he is teamed in a 4-4-2 he could actually be an asset up top ( Who else do we have beside Lukaku and Naismith, Barkley's opinion on himself notwithstanding?).

Second half he looked gassed and his passing and touches showed it. Not sure how a physio as a manager can have a team so out of shape.

On a lighter note, Stones is well on his way to having a Steve Bruce nose if he keeps taking knocks like he has been getting.

Martin Mason
12 Posted 06/04/2015 at 22:45:34
Have no doubt though, the last three wins have been top drawer and today put the result at Palace into context. The win against Saints was as good and was at a canter.

It's easy to knock the side but perhaps we should give some credit where it's due. Man Utd are grinding out wins like us now and getting praised for it. My take is that we're recovering brilliantly from not only a bad spell of form but a disaster in tactics which shows that RM is capable of change.

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