Last game of the season and we were all set for our usual routine...that being a lift to the game from Gaz. As he set off he had a problem with his car and couldn’t make it. Katja thankfully gave us a lift to Hamilton Square and Mike and me got the train over to the game. We just missed our connection for the Northern Line so had a quick pint in The Crown, just opposite Central Station before jumping on the train to Kirkdale. We bumped into Gary and Sue at Kirkdale before eventually getting to The Brick...were Ste had been waiting patiently.

It was good fun in the pub. A shame we will be without it for a few months now. However if ever a game was to encapsulate why we are not sorry to see the back of the season it was the drab defeat to Tottenham Hotspurs. As we arrived into Goodison Park the clouds seemed to break to release quite a lovely day. I managed to go down the wrong row trying to find my seat so hoped over the seats down to the next row, landing with a wobble at my seat. “Did you parachute in?” asked the gent who sits next to us.

Wearing our new kit we played towards the Park End in the first half with a lot of attacking players in the starting line up with Lukaku, Barkley, Mirallas and Osman all featuring. Sylvain Distin allowed a farewell cameo and ws named on the substitutes bench. Harry Kane featured for the visitors and the impressive Chadli and Eriksen also involved. Jonathan Moss refereed the game - surely one of the poorer referees in the league.

We started badly, Barkley seemingly injuring himself trying to prevent giving the ball away straight from kick off. This contributed towards a terrible half of football for Barkley who was hooked off at the break...what a poor season he has had.

Tottenham on the other hand started brilliant. They were roared on by their noisy supporters and seemed superior to us in every department. They appeared fitter and technically better and were good value for their lead when ex-Everton trainee Eric Dier centred for Kane to head in. A good goal it has to be said. Prior to that Eric Lamela had come close to scoring, thwarted by a good Tim Howard save.

Though Everton were poor throughout, it could have been quite different had Mirallas not missed a pretty good chance at 0-0, in the end his shot was comfortably saved by Lloris. Though playing rather selfishly, Mirallas was our most likely player to score in the first half. He again came close with an audacious attempt when he juggled the ball before hitting a volley narrowly over the crossbar. That was pretty much all we offered in the half however with Tottenham easily superior and the players were booed off at the break.

The highlight of the half was actually when I tuned into the radio to try and find out how Hull City were getting on. I tuned in at the right time as just when I did the radio station switched to the Britannia Stadium to inform of “another goal”. The last we heard Liverpool were losing 2-0 so imagine my surprise, and joy I brought to others, when I announced Liverpool were losing 5-0! Nice to see Steven Gerrard go out with his career heaviest defeat.

Anyhow, back to more important matters, and Everton never really improved in the second half. The referee seemed as though he really didn’t want to book anybody. It didn’t take Tottenham long to figure this out and so as the game went on they would often kick our player down. Jonathan Moss never had a grip of the game (he never does) and he really didn’t help the flow of the game.

Chances? Extremely few and far between. Brendan Gallaway made a determined surge forward though was thwarted at the last by Lloris. Substitute Muhamed Besic screwed an effort just wide of the post from distance and substitute Naismith also came close with an outstanding effort from an overhead volley - albeit from an offside position. It was a poor way to end a poor season and we can only hope for better in the next campaign.

It was nice to see Sylvain Distin getting a few minutes on the pitch. I was a little against it as I felt it was important to try and win the game and Kone might have been a useful addition, however when he did take to the field it was good to see Sylvain play. He has been excellent for us for most of six years so it was nice for him to get one last game. He didn’t do badly from left back in his short time on the pitch also. Oh what might have been had he have played in Kiev instead of Alcaraz.

For the first time in as long as I can remember we didn’t stay around for the lap of honour. We just felt a bit flat after the game and I instead joined Gary, Sue and Katja for a few end of season drinks in the Ship & Mitre.

So a flat end to a flat season. Let’s hope that whatever reinforcements we bring in this summer are the right ones, that we can learn from the mistakes of this season and get back up that table in the next campaign.

After the success of the 2013/14 season, I think Roberto deserves another opportunity to get us back up there. Let’s hope he takes it.

Player ratings:

Howard: Good save from Lamela though was helpless for Harry Kane’s goal. Not a lot to do otherwise. 7

Galloway: A few nervy moments in the first half aside, I thought the young lad did well. He is full of enthusiasm. He reminds me a bit of Matteo Ferrari who we had for a short time in the 2005/06 season, in that he can play as a largely unorthodox left back though is primarily a centre back. I like the look of him. It’s good to see we have good, young defensive cover in Galloway, Browning and Stones...particularly if, as expected, Luke Garbutt leaves this summer. 7

Stones: Excellent. Made some vital tackles and blocks in the first half and showed his usual composure on the ball. We will do well to keep hold of him this summer. 8

Jagielka: Might perhaps have done better with the goal though it was a good delivery. Kept things steady at the back. Steve even almost cheered when he dived in on a player to collect his only yellow card of the season as at least somebody was finally getting stuck in. Has had a good season and rightly won player of the season. 7

Coleman: Had a shocker. Seems a shell of his former self. Hopefully he’ll be back to his best next season. 3

Barry: Did his usual tidy job. 6

McCarthy: A lot of running around and huffing and puffing but not enough quality on show from McCarthy yesterday. 4

Osman: Busy and kept on going to try and get something out of the game. Is a big miss when he’s not there. Hopefully he can get a full season next campaign as it will likely be one of his last. 6

Mirallas: Seemed to be playing more for himself than the team but was at least creative in the first half. He fizzled out in the second half before being replaced by Naismith. 6

Barkley: Had a rancid half before he was subbed. He gave the ball away several times. The end of a poor campaign for Ross. Let’s hope for better next season. 3

Lukaku: I felt a bit sorry for Lukaku as he was so isolated up there. He won quite a few headers up against two juggernauts in Vertonghen and Fazio but there was seldom anybody there to support him. Will need a big season for him next time around. 6

Substitutes:
Besic (for Barkley): Despite only playing half the game he was my man of the match. Tackled well and tried to be positive with the ball, despite being continuously taken down by Tottenham players. I expect him to play a big role next season. 8

Naismith (for Mirallas): Tried to force play up the pitch more but couldn’t make an impact against the Tottenham defenders. 6

Distin (for Galloway): Nice for him to get some time on the pitch and he didn’t do badly at left back. Whatever has happened between Roberto Martinez and he, Distin certainly has the respect of his players...even some of the ones Martinez has signed. Besic made a big point of clapping him onto the pitch and the comments on Twitter from Joel Robles and David Henen suggest how highly he is regarded at the players. Good luck Sylvain. What a fantastic player he was for us in replacing Joleon Lescott and you never could have imagined getting such great service for six years from a 31-year-old. A shame the way the last season unfolded but I expect he will come back to haunt us somehow next season. 6

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Harold Matthews
1 Posted 26/05/2015 at 05:13:38
Wonderful report Paul. Took me back to old times when we either walked or jumped on the tram at the Pier Head.

For me, if you are giving Osman, Barry and Mirallis a 6, I could only give Lukaku a 5 and Naismith a 4. Barkley did show one or two brief touches of class including his control, run and reverse pass to set Mirallis up, but for most of the time he just wasnĂ‚’t at the races. As Sam pointed out yesterday, if only he and Lukaku showed the same movement, energy and commitment as Eriksen and Harry Kane. IĂ‚’m talking proper movement and energy. Not the yellow card super flyweight stuff of Naismith, although he may have been ordered to ruffle a few feathers.

Galloway showed lots of pace, character and ability but heĂ‚’s more one-footed than Distin and it got him into trouble. Come on lad, work on that right foot.

Not a very happy end to a wretched season and I look forward to the comings and goings in the Summer Window. Quality before quantity please.

Unfortunately weĂ‚’re stuck with a main striker who is totally unsuited to our style of play and would probably prefer to be elsewhere. Unfortunately, none of the big clubs want him. Judging by the reaction to his recent goal, quite a few of his team-mates donĂ‚’t want him either. Not a promising scenario but weĂ‚’ll have to deal with it. The lad has plenty to offer and has definitely improved on the ball. Hopefully he will take a leaf out of BentekeĂ‚’s book, shed a few pounds and start banging them in again. 4 penalties and a bunch of Euro goals disguise his very poor Premier League contribution.

As for Barkley? I honestly donĂ‚’t know. When England use him as an impact player he usually looks the best player on the pitch and maybe Wayne Rooney is right. Ross, like Oxlade and Townend, is a weapon to be brought on late.

Looking forward to next season. CanĂ‚’t help it. ThatĂ‚’s the way it is.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 26/05/2015 at 10:42:21
Very intelligent report and I agree with most of what you say.

Just what has happened to Seamus Coleman this season? Is it bad management or is it just a player woefully out of form? If it is bad form then itĂ‚’s lasted a whole season. I wasnĂ‚’t sure whether you voted him 3/10 for SundayĂ‚’s game or for the whole season in general, either way it would be about right.

Barkley is a massive problem for Everton now. I agree I wouldnĂ‚’t be starting him every week next season, if heĂ‚’s here, bring him off the bench more and see if that helps. If he hadnĂ‚’t already been hyped up to the high hills then IĂ‚’d even recommend a loan away for a couple of months if we got a top creative player in replacing him.

All said and done we keep heating about these top players at Everton but they just havenĂ‚’t done it all season and frankly they should be totally embarrassed that they have been outperformed by other sides such as Palace, Stoke, Swansea and Southampton.

You need to work hard first and foremost in the English Premier League and too often, way way too often we havenĂ‚’t seen Everton players bust a gut enough this season. The final two home games were completely appalling.

All-in-all, a woeful season and frankly, I would say not a single one of them really played like a top class player, Stones good on the ball, is not a great great commanding central defender and I totally hate his risks on the ball in defence.

Martin Mason
3 Posted 26/05/2015 at 10:25:34
Possibly the most disappointing performance and result of the season when you would have expected us to be up for it and to win against a side that was very much a peer and now seems to have taken strides ahead. The real question is are we really as poor as Spurs made us look or are we a potentially good side who are being let down by tactics imposed by the manager?

I think we are at best a top ten side now and many sides above us have taken a leap forward this year that weĂ‚’ve failed to match. Sadder perhaps is that many sides have figured out our limitations and how to nullify our strengths.

We have a very hard time ahead to improve this side and what we can afford to buy is unlikely to do so.

Andrew Ellams
4 Posted 26/05/2015 at 11:01:51
How was the end of season lap greeted on Sunday? Did most people hang around for it?

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