For Everton's first ever trip to Dean Court in the League, Martinez started with his winning line-up once again, Baines still not being risked. Former Everton players, Distin and Gosling were in the home side.
Everton kicked off but played a longer ball forward giving The Cherries an early sight of the ball. Everton attacked but it was former Blue Dan Gosling who had the first scuffed attempt at goal. Lukaku and Deulofeu both dummied a Galloway pass and that saw the Cherries go forward again, Ritchie firing straight at Howard.
Deulofeu had a couple of chances to advance down the right but his crosses were not reaching Blue shirts, while Funes Mori playing long balls forward or crossfield in the blustery wind became guaranteed turnovers. Everton were struggling to take control of the game and King strode in to fire a good shot that required an even better save from Howard. Second warning.
Deulofeu could not get past Daniels but won a corner that Barry curled in, Federici going down when he landed awkwardly and Ref Friend eventually stopped the play, sub Allsop readying but, after a long stoppage, he stayed on.
Everton were still having trouble playing forward, with Bournemouth marking well and pressing their visitors back in determined fashion. Daniels gave away another corner that was played back and ended up almost with Howard. Back-line tippy-tappy appeared briefly before Deulofeu curled one in over Lukaku with Kone firing in and, off the corner, Lukaku forced another save from the possibly injured keeper.
Much better from the Blues and they piled forward in the next attack, Barkley's shot blocked, McCarthy's drive saved, and a fourth corner powered in by Funes Mori, an excellent header from the Argentine defender to give the travelling Blues the lead they needed, and Everton's first League goal from a set-piece this season.
It was a little scrappy after that and the Cherries won their first series of corners, both defended away by the Blues. Barkley was being man-marked and finding it hard to get time on the ball but he did play Deulofeu in down the left. However, the Spaniard took too long to make the cross and lost the ball.
But from the back, Stones picked out Deulofeu, back on the right, and a quick ball on the outside of Lukaku gave him the chance to half-control the ball before firing in an excellent strike from a narrow angle between keeper and post, a superbly taken strike to give the Blues a commanding lead.
Howard came out for a cross but misjudged it and Stones had to get back and clear the bouncing ball off the line. Bournemouth tried tenaciously to get back into the game, giving the Blues something of a test before the break. McCarthy did well to give Deulofeu a great ball to run onto but he slipped as he crossed to Kone.
The home side came out in determined fashion after the break, despite having to swap out their keeper, and it needed a good intervention from Stones as the Cherries committed themselves forward. But Everton countered through Deulofeu and there seemed to be a worrying lack of conviction as the move just fizzled out. Barkley was still maddeningly playing the ball backwards on too many occasions, while Funes Mori's floated balls forward inevitably gave away possession. But they were containing the adventurous Bournemouth attacks effectively without really taking a stranglehold on the game.
Smith looked to round Galloway, but clipped him and the ref called it late after the linesman did not flag, much to the annoyance of the local yokels. It inspired another feisty attack, Daniels lashing in on Howard from wide left but Howard stood firm. At the other end, Coleman whipped in a cross for Lukaku but it was just too far ahead of the big man.
Most of the play, however, was in the Everton half, Richie's attempt deflected away for a corner, claimed by Howard as McCarthy, who had been a tiger all game, went down heavily. Martinez was happy with proceedings, however: no subs as the hour-mark passed.
Ominously, Bournemouth did get behind the Everton defence, Smith lashing an inviting ball across the face of goal, and another corner defended away, but the counter led by Lukaku and Kone was not fruitful. Barkley forced a forward run but Lukaku's return ball was off, as Tom Cleverley replaced McCarthy.
Ritchie, again in a very threatening position, lashed another shot straight at Howard. Another counter was wasted when Deulofeu played a weird lofted ball way too early, and Bournemouth won another corner but it was poorly executed.
More good attacking play from the home side saw Coleman and then Funes Mori making vital interceptions as Everton defended another clean sheet but seemed too lethargic going forward whenever they did reclaim possession. Another corner for the home side, defended away, it seemed, but Smith steadied himself and fired in a tremendous shot off the far post to give them hope of pulling back a 2-goal deficit again. Everton had only themselves to blame as they failed to press Smith.
Smith broke into the area but tripped himself as he ran across Galloway for a big penalty shout, denied by Friend who had to book Gosling for his protests. Lukaku had less of a shout at the other end as the last 10 minutes needed a change of plan from Everton, with Mirallas still languishing on the bench but it was Lennon who replaced Deulofeu.
Bournemouth attacked again off a free-kick and this time King cut in a ball that Stanislas smashed home to deny a lethargic Blues side two vital points. Everton finally woke up a little, but it was too little, too late, and a massive indictment of poor game management by Martinez.
Five minutes of added time meant hope and nervousness in equal measure, but the Blues had been too relaxed throughout the second half and were incapable of upping their game, Bournemouth coming close off yet another corner. Everton were scrambling at times and just so painfully slow when they did get the ball. But the counter finally paid off when after good work from Kone, Barkley spun on a loose ball from Coleman and drove it home for an undeserved but hugely welcome Everton win. Everton fans went crazy, invading the pitch in their jubilation.
Only this is football, this is Everton, and that's not quite how it ended, as Martinez bizarrely chose this moment to switch out Kone for Gibson, thus giving the ref justification for adding at least another minute when the game finally restarted, well beyond the minimum 5 mins. Bournemouth stormed the Everton goal from the restart, a pinpoint cross by that man Smith and Stanislas powered home a stunning header past Starman to deny the Blues a win. It had been a shocking second half from Everton under the circumstances, and probably those celebrations on the pitch costing Everton dear.
Scorers: Smith (82'), Stanislas (87', 90+8'); Funes Mori (25'), Lukaku (36'), Barkley (90+5')
Bournemouth: Federici (46' Allsop), Francis, Distin, Cook (46' Smith) , Daniels, Stanislas, Surman, Arter (75' Murray), Gosling [Y:], Ritchie, King.
Subs not Used: Cargill, MacDonald, O'Kane, Kermorgant.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Galloway, Stones, Mori, McCarthy (67' Cleverley), Barry, Deulofeu (86' Lennon), Barkley, Kone (90+5' Gibson), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Osman, Mirallas, Naismith.
Referee: Kevin Friend
From My Seat: Bournemouth (A)
A trip to a very windy seaside resort to see the Blues take on a bottom three side and on receiving news of the team confidence abounded amongst fans. Apart from being able to buy a crystal ball on the seafront nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to receive.
From the off there was no doubt the strong gusts of wind would make it difficult for both sets of players. The hosts had the first shot on target which was gathered by Howard. The first 15 minutes was a settling-in period as both teams attacked but in most cases half-heartedly. King did find himself unmarked and hit one on target for our keeper to block away and Stones to complete the clearance then on the fifteen minute mark we did put some football together and forced our first corner which came to nought but from that moment until the twenty fifth we battered them.
We had goal line blocks, keeper’s spectacular saves and quite a few corners. From one of these the keeper got injured and needed treatment but recovered to limp on as we took another corner but instead of testing that limp we played it short and away from goal but we did recycle things via the half way line and attack and force yet another corner on our left. This time the ball was delivered in true corner kick fashion and there leaping above other defenders was our man Mori to meet it and score. The breakthrough at last and the fans celebrated. Did I hear a Mori song or chant?
Anyway, I wondered did scoring from a set piece resonate with our present manager. One up and going well with McCarthy covering every blade of grass. Deulofeu was overplaying a bit and consequently not as dangerous as in previous games as he lost the ball carelessly on a few occasions causing groans from the faithful but then with ten minutes to go to the break he took the ball in his stride and looked up and sent a trade mark laser guided passes that allows Lukaku to run across his man one touch, one stride and, hey-ho, 2-0 up and Rom's song fills the air. That move and the finish was worth the admission money.
Teams are always venerable just after scoring and we almost proved the point as the hosts came at us and the move ended in a cross that Howard charged into a ruck of players with no chance of getting near to it and the ball was propelled toward to empty goal but Stones had sensed this and had got back to hook away. Perhaps after scoring from a set piece at last our present manager can pay some attention to defending them. From then until the break we knocked the ball about a lot at the back as we definitely playing on the break by inviting them on and looking for that quick counter and but for the gusty wind we could well have been in on two occasions. As it was we easily passed out the three minutes of added time and went in two to the good.
H/T chat suggested that most were in good spirits but concerns were raised regarding Barkley and Kone’s contribution as both seemed sluggish and guilty of giving the ball away to easily, still I said we have enough on the bench for manoeuvre. Famous last words and all that as the second half started with no changes and almost immediately we were under the cosh as the hosts went for it as a team with little to lose does and they were causing some consternation. I thought we need to be concentrating and get some order in the ranks as we were being bombed from all quarters. McCarthy was putting fires out across our back line and a good job too.
The hour mark passed and still we seemed happy to draw them on which might have been OK if we had been breaking at a fast pace and all out for that killer third but, as it was, we didn’t seem that bothered about such things. To a spectator's eye, though, one slip and the lead would be halved and the opponent on the front foot.
Barkley was either anonymous or holding onto the ball too long and losing it thus setting our hosts on another attack, Kone had faded from the scene and I thought sure we may see Mirallas and Naismith but no-one appeared. We did pick up a bit after the hour mark and Coleman raided and his cross looked a certain tap in for Lukaku but the ball just eluded him. Was it the wind? Anyhow we should have been doing more of that sort of stuff. This second half was turning into the displays of last season.
Just before 70 minutes we suffered a cruel blow as the hosts got a corner which was cleared but as the players streamed out a Blue shirt was left lying on the turf. McCarthy got up after treatment and resumed without looking like he wanted to. He had been our outstanding player and to lose him was in my opinion a disaster as it was his work rate and effort in breaking up moves that was keeping us in front. He only lasted long enough for Cleverly to be readied and off he went. Hell, I hope that isn’t too bad of an injury.
They then had their man Arter go off holding his hammy and no wonder really as this game was a great fitness test – howling gale and break-neck pace started me wondering if our present manager might consider Osman for Barkley as Ossie can get his foot on the ball and pass to the same colour of shirt that he is wearing. But, no, that idea was down the pan.
As time ticked on you just sense that Bournemouth were up for one last hurrah and with no McCarthy hunting them down our back five was being tested more than is healthy. Coleman saved our bacon with one last ditch tackle with McCarthy gone and our defence tested no one seemed to take charge and stop the playing about at the back and inviting them on and looking for a quick pass to counter attack as it plainly wasn’t working.
Still we were two nil up with just ten to go and the faithful bellying out songs and chants to spur them on but in that moment, wouldn’t you know, we finally concede. From a half-cleared corner the ball went to the unmarked Smith who let fly and the ball hit the net via a post. Cue ‘Silence of the Fans’ with nerves in shreds, memories of those games where we have surrendered two goals come from somewhere deep in the brain with unnerving clarity.
Then with five minutes to go we got a sub on but it was Lennon for Deulofeu and it coincided with Kone giving the ball away yet again. You just have to wonder, don’t you?. Then with two minutes to go they get a free kick, take it quickly, we are switched off as King beats Galloway down the right and the pull back is well converted by Stanislas’.
It wasn’t all silence after that there were some well-chosen words and then a mighty ROAR of EVERTON-EVERTON-EVERTON for one last go for it push. We got it with about two minutes to play when probably our two most disappointing players combined – Kone won the ball in a melee and Barkley hit home. The scenes were of the winning goal in a cup final as some entered the pitch in pure joy, relief, and any other euphoric sense you care to think of. Eventually order was restored and I noted Gibson had replaced Kone with one minute plus crowd invasion to go so easy isn’t it.
Get the ball pronto from the kick off keep it, go down injured, take a yellow for the team and there you are on the bus home beaming. Simples. Well it is in the mind but on the pitch this is Everton. We allow them to come on and from my seat I was horrified to see at least three players unmarked. One of these, Daniels, had all the time he needed to put a cross across goal and Stanislas had all the time he needed to powerfully head home. After the euphoria came the depression all in the space of a minute. It left me with a deep ache in the pit of the stomach plus a fried brain as I tried to make any sense of it all.
If I hear anyone else say ‘It was a great game for the neutral’ I will not be accountable for my actions. I am an Evertonian and they want their backsides kicked along with the manager for allowing that second half to progress without correcting the personnel to the change in the game.
MotM – McCarthy
A big disappointment today for me as it wasn’t so much the score as the lack of nous from players and manager for being unable to respond to the game plan of the home team in the second half. This also suggests we are not yet ready for Champions League. It’s the hope that kills...
Cup action next and a time to meet quite a few of our players we have not seen for a while—OR—will he go full wellie. That is quickly followed by MNF when we entertain our bogey team. Let’s hope we are quick learners and McCarthy is fit.
Still it’s a funny old game maybe it will turn out to be a good point away from home today. Well no good giving in, eh?
UP THE BLUES
Everton's quest to continue their unbeaten run and close the gap between themselves and the top four continues this weekend with the club's first ever trip to Dean Court for a League fixture.
The Toffees' last and only meeting with Bournemouth on the south coast was a little over 30 years ago when Howard Kendall's side completed a 5-2 aggregate win over the Cherries thanks to goals by Gary Lineker and Kevin Richardson in a 2-0 victory in the League Cup. A repeat of that result would hand Roberto Martinez his first victory on the road for almost two months.
Since beating West Bromwich Albion in thrilling fashion in late September, Everton have lost to Arsenal and, somewhat frustratingly, failed to beat an uninspiring West Ham away from home but with two emphatic home wins either side of that 1-1 draw at Upton Park, they will travel as favourites this weekend.
With no new injury concerns, Martinez suggested in his pre-match press conference that he will be choosing from the same squad as last weekend. Leighton Baines and Muhamed Besic both played a part in the Under-21s' defeat to Porto earlier in the week and are again in contention but are perhaps unlikely starters given their lack of match sharpness and the manager's desire not to rush them back.
Tom Cleverley, an unused substitute against Aston Villa last weekend is in a similar situation but is arguably that much closer to selection so it would not be a surprise to see him in the team should the manager decide to make some away-game adjustments and change a winning side by perhaps sacrificing Arouna Kone for the England midfielder. That would be harsh on the Ivorian given how well he played last weekend but he showed against West Ham that he can be ineffective in matches away from Goodison Park.
Unless Martinez does decide to pitch Baines into his first start, it's hard to see any other areas of the team where would tinker. As the wins over Sunderland and Villa demonstrated, the team seems to be beneftting enormously from continuity so it would be risky mixing things up now. A shuffing of the pack is more likely in the Capital One Cup at the Riverside next Tuesday.
Bouremouth, meanwhile, have been dealt a cruel hand in their first season in the top flight, with injuries to key players like Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings, and leading goalscorer Callum Wilson hobbling their chances of staying up early on. What they lack in squad depth they make up for in spirit under manager Eddie Howe and they some of that appeared to return at Swansea last weekend when they earned a 2-2 draw.
That followed a run of four consecutive defeats, however, and the Cherries haven't win in the Premier League for seven games now, a run that includes back-to-back 5-1 hammerings at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur at Dean Court.
And it's that latter result or Newcastle United's recent win on Bournemouth's turf in which Everton's visit this weekend should be framed – with the kind of attacking talent that Martinez boasts and the form that the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley are in right now, this is a game the Blues really must win.
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Kevin Friend
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku