Niasse brace gets Koeman out of jail

By Paul Traill 24/09/2017 20comments  |  Jump to last

I began the day in Torremolinos, finishing off a nice week away with the family. I was initially supposed to travel elsewhere in Spain to meet some work colleagues, but with that trip cancelled I had to arrange a flight home and with a home game at 3pm Saturday, I managed to get on an un-cancelled Ryanair flight from Malaga at 11:10am. The rest of the family already scheduled on a later flight.

Arriving at 13:25pm, I was sat on the very back row so was allowed off the flight very quickly, too quickly for the airline’s liking in fact as they allowed about a dozen of us off the plane before realising we weren't supposed to be out. Luckily, rather than send us back on the plane, they let us go straight to passport control, and with only hand luggage with me, I was able to scoot through very quickly and meet my Dad on the other side who kindly took me straight to Goodison Park. Quite a nice feeling, jetting in straight to the game. I even had time to meet the guys in the pub for a quick pint before we were onwards to Goodison Park.

We were all agreed that a win was vital and that the team needs to start delivering. Personally, I'm giving Ronald the benefit of the doubt for now. We really could have done with an easier start than what we had, but if similar results follow in the few games you have to ask questions. Others are less forgiving, one of the fellas comparing out style to the Doomsday work of Walter Smith.

After an impressive return of two goals mid-week, Dominic Calvert-Lewin retained his place in attack. Given it was a must-win game I was surprised to see Tom Davies relegated to the substitutes bench, with the struggling Davy Klaassen retained. Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Cuco Martina and Morgan Schniederlin were all back in, and with Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane both injured, Mason Holgate was given an opportunity alongside Ashley Williams at centre back, though perhaps the biggest cheer was for Oumar Niasse, when his name was read out as substitute. Ex-blue Dan Gosling, veteran Jermaine Defoe and Norwegian Joshua King, a player I'd liked us to have made a move for, all featured for The Cherries. Everyone's favourite referee Martin Atkinson officiated.

Bournemouth probably shaded the opening few minutes but Everton managed to stabilise into the game albeit without creating an awful lot. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney were probably the most effective players in orchestrating the few attacks we had, though a Dominic Calvert-Lewin header which was well-wide, and an Ashley Williams effort which had the sting taken out of it en-route to Asmir Begovic, where the fruit of our labours.

The first half flashpoint came when Simon Francis caught Wayne Rooney with a stray elbow when challenging for a ball in the penalty area. Rooney went down clutching his face and got up to give Martin Atkinson a barrage of abuse before leaving the field for treatment. We couldn't see the damage done to Rooney's eye from our seats, but having seen it since on TV, it didn't look pretty. That said, i don't think it was a penalty either. Simon Francis didn't elbow him intentionally.

I wouldn't say we were quite "on the ropes" for the remainder of the half, but we had to hang on in there as Bournemouth got in and amongst us in the final third, but we got to half time unscathed at 0-0 and needed to improve second half.

It was nice to see Daniel Amokachi take to the field at the break to the sound of 'All Together Now' by The Farm - our 1995 FA Cup Final song of course. He famously came off the substitutes bench to score twice at Elland Road of course in the semi-final on the road to Wembley that year in what Joe Royle described as "the best substitution I never made". Ironic then that another African Everton player would make the headlines this afternoon in similar circumstances.

We began the second half sluggishly, and Bournemouth quickly capitalised. I thought that Cuco Martina had done well to squeeze up on Junior Stanislas to try to apply pressure up the pitch, but with him doing so, nobody pressed with him or covered his defensive position so when Charlie Daniels found himself in the vacant space, the break was on. Daniels fed Joshua King who ran at us, evading Mason Holgate's desperate challenge and finished with aplomb into the corner, in off the post with Jordan Pickford no chance.

Goodison Park turned very hostile towards Koeman and the team, and when Wayne Rooney gave the ball away in midfield, Joshua King fed Jermaine Defoe who was thwarted by his ex-Sunderland team mate Jordan Pickford in goal, the latter saving well with his leg. The natives were getting restless and Ronald had to change it. That he did, with Davy Klassen and Wayne Rooney replaced by Tom Davies and Oumar Niasse. "Here's your chance Oumar" we all thought/willed. "Go take it".

As we re-adjusted we had a very painful five minutes or so when we just couldn't get on the ball as Bournemouth popped it around nicely in our half of the pitch, much to our frustration. We just couldn't get a hold of it at all. When we did finally, briefly, get going again, Martin Atkinson stopped the game for a non-existent injury, to I think Junior Stanislas. It all seemed so premeditated by Bournemouth who were already playing their time-wasting tricks as all their players instantly ran to the touchline for a pep-talk with boss Eddie Howe. Needless to say, Stanislas was absolutely fine and didn't even require treatment. That's my chief gripe with Martin Atkinson. The bet referees, you don't tend to notice in a game whereas Martin Atkinson has to be centre of attention throughout and the game is often so stop-start.

This didn't half irk the supporters and the tide seemed to turn. All of a sudden our players seemed more daring and more willing to gamble and we were nearly level when the lionhearted Dominic Calvert-Lewin's header was cleared onto the inside of the post and away by Andrew Surman.

That was unlucky but we were getting closer, and the Gwladys Street sensed it, Oumar Niasse's efforts endearing to the crowd, and if a script was written, it had to be for Oumar. He worked a one-two with I think Leighton Baines and manafged to get himself inside as the ball was given to the excellent, innovative, Tom Davies. He threaded it through. Oumar mis-controlled but persevered, and smashed the ball past Asmir Begavic to the crowd's delight. It was also brilliant to see that he knew the draw wasn't enough for us, and he was quick to grab the ball to get the game re-started. With 77 minutes played we still had time to force what 15 minutes earlier would have seemed a very unlikely win.

Win we did. It still wasn't especially pretty up until the winning goal just five minutes later, but we persevered. Jonjoe Kenny's under-hit cross was collected by Tom Davies who drove at goal from inside the penalty area. It was blocked but the ball looped high up into the air for what seemed like an eternity, and who else was under it but Oumar Niasse who's header at goal was desperately blocked/saved on the goalline. That may have been in anyway but it mattered not, as Oumar was quickly on hand to volley in the rebound. The crowd went wild as Oumar went off celebrating. My eyes, for some reason, were drawn to Martin Atkinson who first began pointing at his watch before standing there, seemingly gutted that we had scored.

Including the four minutes of injury time we still had 12 minutes to navigate, but we got through it. Dominic Calvert-Lewin probably should have made the game safe when he volleyed over from close range following a cross from impressive young substitute Jonjo Kenny. The miss nearly cost us also, when Bournemouth substitute Lys Mousset flashed a header narrowly wide from a corner kick. I thought he'd scored for a moment.

The game finished in satisfying fashion when Junior Stanislas, probably Bournemouth's chief culprit of time-wasting earlier in the game lost his rag and earned himself a caution as Dominic Calvert-Lewin won a succession of throw ins and then a corner kick to tick down the clock. It was a nice moment, particularly for the young players and Oumar Niasse as we celebrated our win. After the game I got the train back home with Ste, and by the time I arrived home I only had about 15 minutes to have a quick coffee before heading on to Manchester Airport to pick up the family. It was nice to see them again, and nice to crash out for the night with a takeaway, and Match of the Day following an important win.

Player ratings:

Pickford: Made an important save to deny Jermaine Defoe. Had that have gone in, at 0-2 you struggled to see a way back. Otherwise, he claimed and dealt with crosses when he had to. He's yet to find his range with his kicking at Goodison Park but he keeps on trying. That's the only way he'll get it right. 7

Baines: Has seemed somewhat out of sorts these last few games I think. 5

Williams: He did OK at the back. Nothing more or less than OK though. 6

Holgate: Had a tough afternoon and will be relieved to come through with the three points. All part of the learning curve. 5

Martina: He kept on coming forward and joining in the attacks, even if he crossing wasn't quite up to scratch. Didn't do badly but it was a good substitute by Ronald Koeman and Jonjo Kenny did offer a fresh attacking impetus plus more tenacious defending. 6

Schneiderlin: Was our best player in the first half, constantly making tackles and trying to get us moving forward. Not quite as effective second half but he did put the graft in. 6

Gueye: Also a bit out of sorts but, even when playing poorly, his presence throughout the pitch is probably felt by the opposition. 5

Klaassen: Though he worked hard in the first half, as usual he hardly saw the ball and the game seemed to pass him by. It was no surprise to anyone that he was hooked when Koeman made his substitutions. He's struggling and may need the whole season to get up to speed in this league. 3

Sigurdsson: Probably his best game for us yet and I think he's getting there. He worked hard at both ends of the pitch and showed a few nice touches of class on the ball. I think he'll become a good player for us, and game by game, he's slowly getting there. 6

Rooney: Was doing OK but then his injury really disabled him and he couldn't effect the game after that. Was rightly substituted. 5

Calvert-Lewin: He has the heart of a lion and doesn't let himself get bullied or intimidated. I loved the way he kept on getting up, winning headers and putting hid body on the line. Perhaps the bravest player we've had since Tim Cahill. From being pretty sceptical of his ability last season, I've gone full circle and feel we have a player with great potential on our hands. Surely he'll get a good run of games now until our next attempt to try and sign a striker in January. Well done Dominic. Keep on going. 8


Davies (for Klassen): I thought he was outstanding and should have started the game. The composure, intelligence and flair he shows for his age is quite phenomenal. While Niasse rightly wins the headlines given his Everton plight to date, Tom Davies' impact shouldn't be overlooked given he set up both of the goals. Well done Tom, I hope Ronald takes head and keeps him in the team, particularly as we are currently in no position to experiment, we need the wins. My man of the match. 8

Niasse (for Rooney): You've got to be delighted for the man who has had a torrid time at Everton and got on with it without even a murmur. His play and touch remains clumsy (maybe with games that will improve), but he has a big heart and keeps on going. He likes to play off the shoulder of the defender, and always looks for the pass. It's great to see he's worked his way in and, until January at the very least, he'll get opportunities. Here's your big chance Oumar, make yourself irreplaceable. Congratulations. 8

Kenny (for Martina): While we were saying Vlasic or Lookman should have been introduced, credit to Koeman for instead turning to our young full back as he, like his fellow aforementioned substitutes, came on, made a telling impact, and suggested to me that he should be in the team for our next game. Well done Jonjoe, another one that has waited patiently for his opportunity. Fantastic. 7

Reader Comments (20)

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Andy Crooks
1 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:16:07
Good stuff, Paul.
Tony Ateman
2 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:28:59
Thanks Paul. Two things:

Calvert-Lewin looks as thought he has been learning how to compete in the air from Duncan Ferguson. He has learnt a few tricks.

Martin Atkinson is a cheat who does not like EFC. He has form.

Will Mabon
3 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:33:30
Paul, Niasse did not mis-control at all! He took it away from the player in close attendance to make room for the shot. Watch this below, taken from behind the goal. Also shows how good the pass from Davies was.


Steve Hogan
4 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:36:39
Never one for knee-jerk reactions after more than 45 years of supporting Everton, but I'm deeply concerned, even after a small amount of Premier League games, that our manager is unable to see what his best starting eleven is?

There is absolutely no way, given the lack of creative ability in the side, that Tom Davies should have started on the bench against Bournemouth.

I don't like to see player's pilloried, but Klaassen is so out of form at the moment, that it is criminal he started that game, for the team and the player himself. I don't know if he will come good; I sincerely hope so, but at the moment, there is simply no value in him starting a league game.

We were very near, the sort of toxic atmosphere at Goodison on Saturday, that reflected the latter days of Walter Smith and Martinez, before they were eventually dismissed.

Koeman's 'last throw of the dice', with the introduction of Niasse, might only mean a stay of execution, when we meet more resilient sides than Bournemouth.

Packing the side with so many similar players, maybe to justify their purchase in the beginning, simply does not make sense. We desperately need pace and more pace, both in midfield and up front.

Lookman, after an average display recently, has seemingly been cast aside, the manager isn't prepared to tolerate younger players having an 'off' day, despite the player being one of the few players in the current squad, who can leave defenders on their heels, but, as with all out and out wingers, you need to accept some inconsistency for flashes of brilliance.

I fear for Koeman's future, I really do, a sheer lack of vision in the selection of the players at his disposal and the 'stifling' way the team is set up to play is leaving the fans totally underwhelmed.

There is an alarming lack of goal threat in the team, and more worryingly, a very low level of goalscoring chances being created as a result. The question is, does he have the intelligence to drop, or leave out, the players he signed in the summer, for the greater good of the team?

Unless there is a massive improvement or turnaround, I feel we are in for a long season.

Paul Kossoff
5 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:45:00
"Simon Francis didn't elbow him intentionally."?

Yes he did. I've watched the incident over and over, slowed down, normal speed, he intentionally elbowed Rooney, he knew where Rooney was, and knew what he was doing.

I don't believe this bull that to jump you have to raise your arms, what, and then throw back your elbow with force? He raised his arm and threw back his elbow into Rooney's face: a penalty and a straight red all day long.

Mark Andrews
6 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:58:19
@ Will Mahon #3. Thats a really good clip, thanks for posting. I've been as vocal as anyone with my criticism of Niasse but that was an impressive bit of play from the lad.

His movement off his defenders, leaving them unsure and creating space, his willingness to go wide to receive the ball, his tenacity to win the ball back after receiving a poor pass, his link play to get back in position then creating space before taking his goal with aplomb, all very impressive.

The lad deserves a run in the team.

Will Mabon
7 Posted 24/09/2017 at 23:05:51
Steve (#4):

I agree with all of that, with the exception that I don't fear for Koeman's future. I fear him staying.

Dick Fearon
8 Posted 25/09/2017 at 01:45:13
Paul K @5, I have said many times that in heading duels, any part of the arm raised above shoulder height is dangerous and should be banned. If that law was applied then players would need to rely solely upon timing and leaping ability.
Nicholas Ryan
9 Posted 25/09/2017 at 12:55:08
Coming out of the ground on Saturday, I heard the following:

Dad to sons: 'Right lads, we're off to B & Q...
Sons: 'Why Dad'?
Dad: 'To buy that Niasse a fucking locker'!!


Steavey Buckley
10 Posted 25/09/2017 at 13:03:36
The same thing happened to Rocky when the boxing manager took away his locker, but Rocky would have none of it, and broke back into it.
Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 25/09/2017 at 13:10:43
Will (3), thanks for the link. I sit in The Upper Bullens and from there on Saturday, I thought Oumar's goal was a good 'un, from your link it was a fuckin' cracker.

Thanks for your report, Paul.

Paul Traill
12 Posted 25/09/2017 at 13:17:38
Will (#3), thanks for the link. While I still think he mis-controlled it .Another thing I noticed on there which I hadn't during the game was how well he did to win the ball back in the first place to start the attack. Fantastic Niasse. Well done!
Paul Kossoff
13 Posted 25/09/2017 at 14:17:00
Regarding raising arms to head a ball, here's a link to Mark Hateley of Rangers – all headed goals. Not once does he raise his arms or put his elbow into the face of a defender.
As Dick said, this habit of raised arms should be banned.

Danny Broderick
14 Posted 25/09/2017 at 14:55:39
A touch harsh there, Paul, when stating that Niasse mis-controlled it. No offence mate, but you must be the only person who thought that!

That apart, I agree with most of your report, although I think a score of 3 for Davy Klaassen is a tad harsh also. The lad is trying but he is clearly not up to speed. He might need a season to adapt physically to the Premier League – he seems to be struggling for stamina. Has he finished a game yet?

While I am writing this, I can't help thinking that most of our central midfielders seem to be struggling this season.

Tom Davies bucked the trend with his pass for the first goal, but to be honest I even think he has struggled for us in one or two games this season. I can only think that centre-mid is not a great position to play in our team currently – little width and movement up front is no doubt the cause of this.

I am hoping Koeman saves Klaassen for the Europa League, as he is struggling in the Premier League. Davies has surely played his way in to our first choice team now, and hopefully Jonjoe Kenny is there or thereabouts also.

Brian Porter
15 Posted 26/09/2017 at 08:36:31
Excellent piece as always Paul, but I have to agree with Will (#3).

Niasse's first touch for the goal wasn't a miscontrol, but was a great piece of skill, showing excellent close control to take him away from the defender to give himself the space to make the shot. Even the commentators saw it as such, unusually for them whenever Everton are concerned. Let's hope Koeman gives the lad more opportunities to repeat Saturday's performance.

Andy McNabb
16 Posted 26/09/2017 at 23:47:17
Thanks Paul. Always a good read. Loved your journey to the game mate – make the most of that one. That sort of convenience doesn't always happen for me at airports!

Will, thanks for the clip. I get to Goodison about every 3 years these days but what I love most is hearing the comments as the ball is moved around – takes me back. The goal wasn't bad either!

Björn Kausemann
17 Posted 27/09/2017 at 14:44:00
Hello mates. The match vs Bournemouth was not amazing. But the result was okay.

After I visited some pubs like The Spellow and The Winslet (great atmosphere) I entered the Grand Old Lady. But the atmosphere inside the stadium is a little bit quiet. I think it is about the all-seater. But the eruption after the goals was absolutely incredible.

After the game, I went to The Elm Tree and The Royal Oak where the crowd was very friendly and the atmosphere great again. So I'll be happy to come back in December or latest January.

Bye from a German Evertonian.

Martin Mason
18 Posted 27/09/2017 at 15:08:37
You're really welcome, Bjorn.
Will Mabon
19 Posted 28/09/2017 at 15:08:31
Bjorn, sadly it is a little subdued in Goodison nowadays. It didn't used to be that way, it was one of the best. The spirit is still there but everyone's gone a little shy – it's all too cultured nowadays! Bring some standing back, I say.
Will Mabon
20 Posted 28/09/2017 at 15:10:02
Andy @ 16:

Some of the background "Comments" on that one were interesting...

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