Everton 2 - 3 West Ham UnitedWe all gather in the Room of Nonsense for a couple of bevies and a footy chat. This focused on the man who has invested in our club and how things might pan out. We had some wild chat of how things are going to change for the better and some fanciful names of players that will now be attracted toward us. This conversation was the focus of the day plus the delight of the news that season tickets had been decreased in price... with only the arrival of the team via the electronic wizardry of the mobile phone to interrupt it. Stones in and Barry out caused some wild guesses regarding formations.With all this to take in we hardly noticed Spurs and Arsenal drawing 2-2.
Time for the walk up on a chilly day but all roads led to Goodison and conversations with those we found ourselves walking along with made us soon forget the chill. Most were expecting a tight game with 2-1 to the Blues being the favourite score. The fan zone was belting out the music and the fat van dishing up the fast food. Goodison road was awash with expectant fans taking photos.
Z-Cars rang out and the handshakes of goodwill took place and we were to attack the Park End first half with the Hammers having the kick off. It was soon apparent that we were playing three at the back with Stones to the right, Jags central and Funes Mori left. Coleman and Oviedo were our wing backs with Barkley and McCarthy our midfield two leaving Mirallas, Lukaku and Lennon our primary attackers.
We started well enough and with WHU winning only one of their last nine away matches I felt reasonably confident. This confidence was bolstered when from a well taken corner by Barkley the ball came out to McCarthy on the edge whose shot was both spectacular and true had the keeper tipped over at the last second, in the same passage of play Stones was hauled to the deck for a clear penalty but such is today's refereeing there is no such thing as a foul in the box from a corner or other set piece.
We were having the better of the exchanges and just before the quarter hour mark Lukaku got onto a good ball from Barkley and rolled his marker cut inside and shot across the keeper hit a post and this time rebounded into the net. Rom lapped up the adulation sweeping down from the terraces with waves and hand claps. Next it was Barkley who took a ball on his chest and in a seamless movement swivelled in mid -air, connected well and the ball flew toward top corner unfortunately for him and us the keeper got a hand to it and diverted the ball over the bar. That brought a gasp of awe from those assembled.
I was enjoying the game and with Lennon and Lukaku causing all sorts of problems for WHU makeshift back line the expectation of another goal was on everyone’s mind but then on 35 mins Mirallas who had been previously booked for a dive foolishly as well as unprofessionally cleaned out Cresswell in a tackle and our Ref Mr Taylor of Cheshire showed yellow quickly followed by red.
I did wonder if he may have given him his last warning if it had not been for the odious Noble in his face Gerrard and Terry style. Come on the ten men was what we were left with. Stones went to right back as our present manager went 4-4-1 and we saw out the first half with just scares from a Payet free kick given away by Jags on the edge, a WHU penalty shout and a sharp save from Joel to deny Emenike.
The chat centred on how well we played in that half but the sending off had put all in nervous mode. I heard a few saying ‘I hope Bobby does not cock this up’ I wonder what those fans felt on the final whistle?
The teams re-appeared after the break and Stones had been sacrificed in favour of Besic presumably to assist McCarthy in the mid-field hunt and destroy department. Although it looked 4-4-1 Lennon had license to maraud with Rom which was a good ploy as they certainly needing watching as was demonstrated just ten mins into the half. Lennon popped up on the left and exchanged passes with Rom at some speed which got him between two defenders, in on goal and coolly slotted home to set the ground alight.
A two nil lead — erm we have been here before with eleven men now it’s with ten. We were sort of celebrating going two ahead with a dose of apprehension. Ah the mind and world of the Evertonian eh. We were seeing a Rampant Rom though. He was like a charging bull with some finesse as bullied and harried their rearguard aided and abetted by the livewire Lennon. Their performance was helping the defence too as they could not go gung-Ho for fear of a swift counter from the deadly duo.
I thought we were coping well with a man short and from one of our attacks Besic drove for the box and was tripped, outside said the WHU players, inside said the Ref and duly awarded a pen. Oh joy! 3-0 and surely all over as Rom never misses.
Ah he did and players and crowd look and sound deflated but this only lasted a few minutes and we got back to how we were playing which was working for us as the players had settled to a rhythm that was holding WHU at arm’s length. Then with some fifteen mins to go the manager took centre stage by taking off Lennon and sending on Niasse. Now that did not go down well with the faithful especially as he did not looked distressed in any way.
I was a bit non-plussed as by swapping the hard working Lennon with a striker that hardly knows the club or his team-mates and given the situation we were in made little or no sense, well not to me anyway. The players seemed unsure with this change as the out balls were not where they were before and our new man seemed to give no clue as to where he was supposed to be playing or for that matter what he might do, it didn’t look right and I was worried along with about 36,000 others.
That worry was not misplaced as in the final twelve mins we shipped three goals and this after Rom after his penalty miss had kept his head up and got through one on one with the keeper and as he slotted past him the keeper’s leg diverted the ball away, just think that could have been four.
The subbing of Lennon had been music to Bilic’s ears as he made a double sub of his own and sent on attackers now that the Rom Lennon partnership was gone and Niasse showing nothing of a threat. WHU now sent in cross after cross for the heads of Carroll and Co three of which were fruitful. Firstly Antonio won header by out jumping Funes Mori then heading home. WHU get a corner and Sakho was in between Coleman and Funes Mori and netted. 2-2...
The manager took off Rom and sent on the ailing Barry as a few thousand fans left the ground and they missed the final misery when a ball was merely floated into our box and seemed to elude all our players and leave Payet free to despatch. Hey Ho... lost at home again – how many more of these games can the matchgoing fan take?
MotM ----- Lennon / Lukaku
Goodison was not a happy place at the end with voices of anger raised. Out of the ground and down Spellow lane the anger and animosity toward our present manager reached levels I have not heard before and it seemed unanimous. This is not a good situation with the FA Cup game at home looming. The faithful are turning.
Still as fans all we can do is let feelings be known and let the club owners whoever they are make a decision.
The atmosphere is getting toxic and that is not good news for anyone – especially the players who can’t be unaware of the unrest.
I have hated writing this as it is not the Everton I want to be writing about. Still I will be back next week and giving my support to the team and just hope that things have been sorted in one way or another to give us a little look at Wembley again.
Whatever happens – UP THE BLUES