A misty morning in L4 saw us assemble and chew over Tuesday's game and the outcome of that was that Robles could be unlucky to lose his place today. Also the fact that eight changes were made to the team we did well to sneak into the next round via good fortune and good penalty taking. A win is a win and into the next round we go.
The team was beamed to electronic devices and we noted that Howard had been relieved of some pressure by Barry being named captain. Oviedo was including in the starting line-up and many were surprised that after his stint on Tuesday he wasn’t a sub to allow for gradual integration considering the severity and length of his injury time out. As it turned out the Room of Nonsense members had a point. We then joined 36,000 odd on the walk up and as usual the route was awash with Blue and white with just a hint of Red and White stripes.
The sound of Z-Cars heralded the gladiators who received a great ovation, so no fan hangover from Tuesday. A minute's silence was observed as part of the club's ‘Everton Remembers’ for those with Everton connections who fell in WW1. There is a good article on this by Pete Jones of the EFC heritage society in today’s match day magazine (Proey) I must say it was observed faultlessly.
We kicked off toward the Park End and the early sparring was taking place when we got quite a shock and some good luck when on just 4 minutes Sunderland broke and with some good football got the right wingback into our box and his shot hit the post and came out to be cleared in scrambled fashion. I was really glad that didn’t go in as the timing coincided with the minute that was set aside to have applause for our dear departed hero who began his great career with the blues in that No4 shirt. It was thunderous and the players just seemed to knock the ball about until is subsided.
On with the action and Sunderland get a free kick that was put in high and Howard ran out to catch and receive plenty of cheers. We were playing some neat one touch quick stuff but anywhere near the business end a poor touch seemed to allow the visitors to intercept and break. Barkley tried to alter this by running at them with the ball and they did back off him but as got a sight of goal his shot was wayward. He was next involved when he tried a crossfield ball that only found their wingback and he set off like a robbers dog directly at our ‘keeper who proved his shot stopping abilities by deflecting the ball away with his feet but within minutes Adam Johnson was in our box, shot and hit the same post in almost the same place but we cleared the rebound. I turned to my mate and said sometimes it’s not you day and by the look of it this is not Sunderland’s. They could have been at least 2 or maybe 3 up.
On 20 minutes we rubbed salt into their wounds when Kone who had started brightly with pace and purpose got one over the top for Deulofeu to run on to and into their area. He drew the keeper sashayed inside him and as two tackles came in rolled the ball home and received hero worship such were the celebrations. It wasn’t a super finish but they all count and it was the Blues in the lead. Barry had now got a grip of the midfield and along with the engine that is McCarthy were pulling strings. Barry repeated the Kone ball over the top for Deulofeu to run onto but this time defenders were quicker to get near him so he crossed bur a resultant shot was wide.
With Barry leading by example we were gaining the upper hand when, wouldn’t you know it, another ‘Hammy’ came along and it just had to be that man Oviedo who copped it, as if that man has not had enough. As he was led away and Galloway readied my mind went back to the room of nonsense when we pondered whether his return was a little too soon after Tuesdays long stint.
We were bemoaning some tippy-tappy at the back leading nowhere when the half was up and suddenly a super session of joined up footy took place at some controlled pace at the end of which Kone did a ‘one two’ with Lukaku on edge of box and the big Ivorian thundered a left foot shot that left the keeper wondering where it had gone, we knew, it was the net. Oh the joy, the chants and the songs. 2-0 up and seemingly coasting. More good luck for us and bad luck for them was when we saw Cattermole coming off injured and before he had chance to leave any of our lads ‘Cattermoled’ He was replaced by Jack Rodwell who got a great reception from the faithful.
With Barry in dominant mood and McCarthy covering every blade of grass they were allowing expansive short and long passing to break out trying to open them up for another goal but always just breaking down either to a wayward pass or scuffed shot at the end of moves. It all looked too easy but just before the break Fletcher got clear and hit one luckily straight at Howard but it made me think ’for god’s sake don’t let them get anything before half time’ but hell, right on 45 minutes Mori dived in where he shouldn’t and allowed a bouncing ball to come across toward Stones but that evergreen predator Defoe reacted twice as quickly as our rookie centre back and found the top corner. We only had time to tap the ball from the centre spot when our Ref Mr Marriner blew up. A bit of a downer that.
H/T 2-1 from a half we started half asleep and ended well on top until that 45th minute. During the break we had a junior age group presented showing us the trophy they had one in a prestigious completion. Unfortunately they were chased off by a water sprinkler that seemed to have a mind of its own. Next we had a presentation of flowers to the family of Howard Kendall and as you can imagine the reception they got was of the royal true blue variety.
We started the second half with purpose suggesting things had been said in the dressing room. Barkley got on the ball, spotted a killer pass for Deulofeu to run onto but he put too much boot into his pass leaving the jet heeled one with no chance of catching it. It was a shame that as just five minutes in the inevitable happened when from being 2-0 up and looking good we are pegged back to 2-2 and to make things worse it was from a cross that was no more than regulation across the box but Howard stayed rooted to the spot and Fletcher was in front of Mori and he headed down passed a flat footed Howard. It was another of those crosses that he seems unable to deal with but I was mightily pleased when no booing or catcalling was loud enough to be heard as that can only make him worse and if Roberto is intent on playing him no matter what then we don’t want him any worse.
We now had to start all over again and our first dangerous effort was when Deulofeu got himself clear of his marker and headed for the box. His shirt was pulled a bit but he got away but instead of going on goal and maybe shooting he threw himself to the ground, the ref just signalled get up but instead he waved his arms about like a petulant child then sprang up and gave the lino a mouthful, the lino told the ref and Deulofeu got a yellow card. What a plonker! However within minutes he started to make amends when on the 55min mark he got a cross in that allowed Lukaku to stoop and conquer. Well I thought he had anyway and so did the game announcer but since I have learned it was an own goal but no matter still we lead 3-2.
Just 5 minutes later and Lukaku gets a legit one. Deulofeu again the provider when a measured ball put Lukaku on his way and the big man took it up to the keeper went passed him as if he was not there and rolled home. Cue pandemonium and the Rom song well sung as the beaming Belgian took the plaudits. Just two minutes later and from a Sunderland attack Barkley gets on the ball and feeds McCarthy who sped forward to the edge of their box fed Kone who with a shimmy to his left hammered home another left footer. 5-2 Hell that was 3goals in about five minutes. Were we that good or were they that bad—who cares?
It was party time now. On 65 minutes Mirallas replaces Deulofeu who comes of quite slowly milking all the adulation he was getting as it spilled down from the stands. Mirallas started as he meant to go on, where he was a little below par in effort and thought on Tuesday he was full of vim and vigour today. If only he could be consistent as I think he is one of our most dangerous forwards when in the mood. With an unassailable lead we put on a show of joined up footy with series of passing movements each containing many passes The crowd were lapping it up as Mirallas got to the by-line with a fine run but his cross had no takers. We were now spending time in trying to get Kone in to enable him to take the ball home. In between Mirallas was certainly wanting a goal and the nearest he came was when he just failed to round the keeper before being crowded out.
Would we see a hat trick? Well the clock was ticking and we just could not get the Ivorian in. Then with 15 minutes to go Lukaku got on the ball midway between half way and goal. He used his power, strength and determination to shrug off all-comers and on reaching the box produced the king of a cross with the outside of his trusty left boot and there was Aruona with the perfect powerful header that left the keeper with little to do but find the ball in the net and fish it out. 6-2 I will type that again 6-2 I never knew our scoreboard went beyond 3. What a feeling, what a celebration with mates or strangers. There is something about being in Goodison on these occasions, something that will draw you back as you will want to feel it again even if it takes time and at times looks impossible.
Before the end Osman came on for Lukaku who took the slow walk off to take in the adulation shown toward him. Sunderland put a sub on for Fletcher in Watmore who looked more than handy when he tuned Stones inside out but before Watmore could perform a set up the Chelsea target got back and slid the ball out for a corner. I do believe that was there first corner. At the other end Mirallas had come over to the right and twisting and turning at pace made room for a shot which he hit sweetly with right hand side but it curled a gnat’s whisker the wrong side of the post. Just as we were winding down Watmore had a shot cum chip that Howard dealt with. With Barry calming things down the added time was spent and whistle blew 6-2 will do. If ‘yer know yer ‘Istery was belted out and it was a treat to wait just a little while and watch Arouna walk off with the ball. There walks one proud man I thought.
MotM – Arouna Kone
After Tuesday this was a much better performance and although there were some excellent bits other bits need working on especially in the back four. It was a good job we had Barry and McCarthy to help out both physically and verbally. The big plus for me today was to see two big lads in Lukaku and Kone getting to grips with the hard stuff and producing a display of understanding between the two of them that has not been there before. If they can both keep fit and well what a bonus for us and a nightmare for opponents.
West Ham next and no reason to fear them, however I would hope that Roberto knows they have Andy Carrol and might put a bit more emphasis on the defending of set pieces down Finch Farm way this coming week in their training sessions. Bilic will have had us watched today.
UP THE BLUES