With the weather fine and sunny and Sky TV demanding a 13.30 kick-off, brunch was taken courtsey of fast food outlets and ale houses various. We met up and among other subjects the season ticket renewal system came up. Most were not happy and thought of it as a kind of blackmail. Great of the club to extend the early bird period to 24th of May giving us that bit extra time to sort out how we might pay. What a thoughtful club we thought as they said they were listening to fans forums only to find stickers on your seat saying ‘We might have extended the early bird period but if you want your own longstanding seat then pay up by Friday or we will flog it to someone else’ Wow! Thanks, Everton.
As we entered the stadium, well over three quarters of seats had stickers on them so either fans are not renewing, or as is more likely, you can wait till the last moment. Still, having got that off our chests we resumed today’s game chat by agreeing it looked a fair side that had been chosen with a strong-ish bench. Opinions differed wildly in trying to predict the score but I can reveal no one came near to the actual outcome.
Time for the walk up and soon we were a snake of humanity slithering our way to the citadel sweeping all before us with the only dropouts being those craving a late lunch and availing themselves of the many eateries on offer.
Into the ground and, after Z-Cars the absurd handshake of something or other, the players assembled on periphery of centre circle to observe a minutes silence for both Sir Phillip Carter and the Bradford fire tragedy. Sad to report a minority of the united fans were unable to observe it in silence.
The game started in bright sunshine and we were attacking the park end and right from the off we were looking up for it. As you might expect Fellaini, who had been given a nice Goodison welcome, was putting himself about a bit. The snag for him was that he was being marked by Barry who was to prove to be too clever, too strong and savvy for the Belgian whose fouling antics would see him replaced for the second half as he had been booked for persistent infractions.
In the fifth minute we broke up a United attack and quickly countered with a good run from Coleman who had received a McCarthy pass. McCarthy bust a gut to get up with him and although Coleman’s effort to find his countryman again was not of the highest quality, action man McCarthy got on to it, surged into the box with the ball seeming to bounce off two United defenders back to McCarthy who stumbled on and planted the ball across the keeper and into the net. The joy of the faithful and players needed to be both heard and seen. My mate then observed that we needed to keep cool heads and see out ten to fifteen minutes of expected post goal pressure.
We actually got no more than a minute when a clash between Barry and Fellaini left the Everton man on the turf but no foul called leaving the Belgian with a great chance which he excitedly aimed high into the Gwladys Street upper tier and was afforded a loud cheer from those assembled. This rattled him into retaliation mode and when he took down Barkley he was booked and now game for some good wind up from our lads. He sailed close to the wind a few times and we didn’t see him second half. He ’ain’t changed much.
United did have most of the attacking play but without much conviction, plus some assured defending from the Blues. As we passed the half hour mark we were starting to put sustained forward moves ourselves and from one of them gained a corner, from that corner we gained another one and then another one all hit in deliciously by Baines. From the last one I had a great view as Stones came off his marker, rose and thumped a beaut pasr the keeper and into the net. I believe this was his first Premier League goal and the celebrations with team-mates were a thing of frolicsome beauty. This was better than any of us thought, not only were we playing proper responsible footy but adding goals as well.
A check of the clock and ten to go. We need to keep the sheet clean and leave ourselves in a strong second half position. We did with some comfort and although United had the most of the attacking play Howard had been rarely troubled.
H/T duly arrived and chance to catch our breath as we mulled over those opening goals yet typical of Evertonians even at two up caution was the by-word. It’s probably a hangover from many a game that has been snatched away in cruel fashion seemingly from the very jaws of victory. We need not have worried but you just do don’t you.
The gladiators appeared, United Fellaini-less after he was replaced by Falcao and it was soon clear that he was Stones’ man with Jags seeing to the pushed up Rooney. As expected United were fired up and the last thing we wanted was for them to get an early one. To this end we defended with care by blocking of the channels and avenues and making them play mostly in front of us.
They did get an early corner that ricocheted in the box and fell to Rooney but Howard was off his line like a robber’s dog and blocked his shot. We were looking to break quickly with long through balls as our manager had spotted a lack of real pace in their rearguard. From this tactic Barkley was away but in desperation Shaw threw himself into some sort of tackle and the clash left both players needing attention. From another such through ball from Barkley Lukaku would have been in one on one but for his poor first touch which allowed defenders to smuggle the ball away.
McCarthy seemed to be everywhere, closing down, blocking shots and setting up moves and to be fair Everton players were doing this all over the park. I took the time to look away from the ball to see what was going on that was making us such a force. Lennon was covering for Coleman and vice versa as was Baines and Osman plus if all four got caught up-field after an attack either Barry or McCarthy would take their respective positions. Barkley was between defence and attack and willing to either race forward or find a pass that might undo them. Stones and Jags covered each other and anything that got passed those in front of them. It was a team effort carrying out a well thought out game plan.
Allez –Allez O was now ringing out with some gusto as we seemed to have the measure of our visitors and the clock was ticking down nicely. Shaw was booked for pulling back the fleet footed Lennon in most cynical manner and was booked. Osman was having a good reliable game and showing his experience in many situations and it was he and Coleman who combined yet again to put Lukaku in but alas his burst toward near post was defended for a corner that came to nought. On 70minutes Osman was replaced by Mirallas and Ossie got a fine applause for his shift.
You are never sure what you might get from Mirallas but there is no doubt he has talent and after just four minutes on the pitch a ball aimed for Lukaku set him on toward goal but realising (I think) he was offside he stopped but Mirallas came from deeper and as he got on the ball the lino kept his flag down and Kev strode on and sat the keeper down and passed the ball into the net with consummate ease much to the delight of all assembled. That is not an easy skill but Kev seems mustard at them. The chant Easy-Easy-Easy rang out to wind up the Mancs as well as Rooney-Rooney what’s the score? It was just a treat being there to witness the day.
Mirallas was not finished yet when with five to go he cut infield and from near the edge of the box let one fly toward top corner but the Spanish keeper made a good save.
Just two minutes to go and we swapped Lukaku and Barkley with Kone and Naismith and the crowd applauded the quartet in party fashion. During that stoppage Rooney left the field limping. Jags says he may yet come back to us—if he does I hope he plays better than he did today. Mind you he was well marshalled and frustrated.
Three minutes of added went up and it was played out without incident and on the whistle another full house departed the stadium with broad grins on their faces but not before a mighty ‘If yer’ know ‘yer ‘Istery’ was bellowed out when the DJ cut the sound at the exact point.
M.o.t.M. – Could be anyone but for me it was McCarthy
A good day out in good weather, good company and a good display from the team. It must be over 20 years now since we put three past our visitors without reply and this is their third loss to us on the trot at Goodison. Perhaps we should have sung ‘Can we play you every week’ Now if we can just put together play and form like this from August till May then that glass ceiling may be exploded. A lot of work to do to get to that point but hey we have got to start somewhere and as this was our fourth home game without conceding then this may be the point.
Villa away next week and one thing you can be sure of it will be different than today but a win would be nice from a cup final team. Talking of the Cup Final, did you see who has been appointed to referee it? Jon Moss – must be a reward for incompetence.
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (17)
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1 Posted 27/04/2015 at 08:06:49
2 Posted 27/04/2015 at 08:33:32
3 Posted 27/04/2015 at 08:26:04
4 Posted 27/04/2015 at 09:21:43
The report as always a most entertaining and accurate one! COYB
5 Posted 27/04/2015 at 09:31:37
6 Posted 27/04/2015 at 09:22:21
7 Posted 27/04/2015 at 09:52:49
Into the second half now trying to unbridle the horse and hear the car radio, disaffected Mirallas scores another! Amazed joy even shared by other horsey people around us who areĂ‚nt particularly football fans and not Toffees like me and my carriage driving mate Chris.
Home to see it all on MotD. Brilliant. ItĂ‚s hard to see who will beat us for the rest of this season isnĂ‚t it?
8 Posted 27/04/2015 at 10:08:31
He said of Man Utd "They play like Everton used to"... meanng how we played earlier in the season.
9 Posted 27/04/2015 at 11:20:52
A lot of work to do during the summer and but if the unbeaten run continues to the end of the season then Barry and Howard will survive the cut.
In the event that both of the above survive then we need to move Robles on and replace him with HowardĂ‚s eventual, sooner rather than later, successor. We need a centre-half to seamlessly replace Jags and Stones when one or the other is out. We also need better back up up top, if Rom is injured we are struggling!
10 Posted 27/04/2015 at 12:06:18
11 Posted 27/04/2015 at 12:30:33
It makes you wonder though why we can suddenly turn up!! guess thatĂ‚s why we love watching football and support the mighty Everton!
Thanks again Ken, your reports throughout the season have been great, even the wife reads them, she wants to do your walk to the match one day!!
12 Posted 27/04/2015 at 14:20:46
I didnĂ‚t understand how Shaw was unpunished when it looked like he ran straight through Barkley. And it was odd (nice odd) not to feel worried too much all afternoon really.
13 Posted 27/04/2015 at 16:41:53
When I finally make my dream pilgrimage to Goodison, I hope IĂ‚m sitting next to someone like you.
Matter of fact, I hope IĂ‚m sitting next to you! Tell your mate IĂ‚ll pay double for his seat.
14 Posted 27/04/2015 at 17:30:34
15 Posted 27/04/2015 at 18:02:05
16 Posted 27/04/2015 at 22:04:04
17 Posted 30/04/2015 at 15:25:47
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