Well I didn’t think it was too bad

By Dave Williams 09/01/2019 36comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 1 Lincoln City

Back from collecting Emily from a dubious looking nightclub in Exeter around 1 am, I had a maximum of 5 hours to grab some sleep before getting to Taunton for the West Country Blues coach pick-up. Ron (our chairman) failed a late fitness test on a sprained ankle so Mike took on the captaincy for the day.

A part of the M5 was closed and we were stuck in an awful traffic jam which added an hour to our journey and left a few of the guys freezing their nuts off for 1¼ hours waiting to be picked up — they’re a hardy bunch these West Country Blueboys!

Nevertheless, we made good time and pulled up at Stanley Park around 1:30 pm. A brisk walk followed by a cup of tea in the church hall (and a quiet prayer for the match) and I then had the honour of presenting Bill Kenwright with West Country Blues mugs for himself and Mr Moshiri — let’s hope they are lifting a cup come May rather than a mug! These were accepted with thanks for such long-distance support — the coach was full with 56 members — and it was on with the game.

The first 25 minutes was really good — some of the best football I have seen from us in quite a while, not least because of the sharp and precision passing of Baines. Lookman was in the mood and it was no surprise to see him score although celebrations were muted because it didn’t look like it was going in from my seat in the main stand. The second goal was lovely — the much maligned Calvert-Lewin playing an important part in setting up Bernard for a very classy finish. At this point, I was thinking in terms of six- or seven-nil but we took our foot off the gas and, from a silly free-kick, they pulled one back.

So many posters on this site reckoned it was like the Alamo after that but whilst they had most of the possession up to half time we defended well and Mina and Zouma headed everything away from goal. Marco showed that he does know when to change things around by bringing on Gomes to keep possession and this worked a treat. I can’t recall Lincoln getting close to a goal in the second half as Gomes, Baines and Bernard kept the ball pretty well and the defence was solid.

The Lincoln fans were brilliant — what a row they generated almost for the entire match and it was because of this that so many of our fans thought we were in trouble, in my opinion. The noise they created made you think they were giving us more trouble than they actually did; I thought we managed the second half well and were unlucky not to score again.

Many people near me criticised Pickford for not coming for crosses. Not me — he is too small to be competing with big centre-forwards — he will get knocked off the ball. Surely it’s better to make use of Mina and Zouma who are built to cope with this and leave Jordan on his line to make the save if necessary? I thought his distribution was excellent.

Kenny, like all of our youngsters gets totally unfair criticism and I thought he had a good game in both attack and defence. The centre-backs were solid if you ignore the free-kick given away which led to the goal and Zouma bravely stuck to his task despite getting roughed up by their huge striker.

Baines was superb – could he combine with Digne down the left flank? Gana was Gana — work rate and interceptions were fine but passing forward hit and miss. He is a good player but one who I would replace to improve us. Likewise Sigurdsson who had a quiet game. He is a funny player as he produces moments of great skill but never dominates the midfield — a luxury player for me, and I don’t see us breaking the top 6 with him in the side. The bloke next to me thought he was brilliant... which shows how differently we all see the game.

Bernard had his best game for us and, whilst you could say it was because it was Lincoln, I had expected them to bully him, but he was too quick for them and when he was caught he showed that he is tough enough too.

Lookman faded after a great first 25 minutes but was always a threat. This lad moves like a top-class player and I would give him a good run in the side now as I think he could be special. Calvert-Lewin is someone I have defended all season against the unjustified criticism and abuse and I thought he had a decent half. Tosun, by comparison, was pretty awful. He is a funny player as he has no pace, no power, not good with his head, can’t beat a man — I don’t really know what he is good at, to be honest... though he did, of course, score quite regularly for us last season. I think he will be on his way.

Tom Davies was okay but I think needs his role to be defined. He was trying to play a possession game but I don’t think that is him. I see him more as box-to-box and Gomes is in his way. Speaking of whom, he is class — total class.

Marco Silva needs to have a word with Richarlison and tell him to cut out the playacting. Okay, he took one to the mouth, which was bleeding, but he will endear himself more to the fans if he plays the tough guy rather than the cry baby.

Full-time and a comfortable win, I thought, though I was biting my new Christmas gloves when they got the corner in added time.

The journey home was good and I got in at 11:15pm, a long day but very enjoyable and made even more so by winning one of the scratch card raffles on the coach which paid my fare!

Looking ahead, we all know we need a striker. I saw Graeme Sharp at the game and he looks well enough to play half-an-hour – if only!! I think we have a good set of defenders now but they need time to bed in both as a back line and in combining with the rest of the team. It is so unreasonable for anyone to expect a new manager to transform a team in half a season and Marco needs time.

Howard Kendall took a couple of seasons before things suddenly clicked, Klopp and Poch both needed time and even Pep had to fiddle around a bit at first. I don’t know whether Marco has it or not (I think Marcel does) but this time next season will be a fairer time to start judging him. It sounds like Farhad means business from what was said at the AGM and how great to hear such positive intent from the board.

The work of the supporters clubs up and down the country goes unnoticed much of the time and I am sure that there are lots of others who do sterling work travelling long distances like this one does. The guys who run them get no reward and probably are taken for granted by many of their members so heartfelt thanks from me to Ron, Mike, Ian and the rest of the team for making travel to the Old Lady so easy.

Reader Comments (36)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 10/01/2019 at 02:06:56
Great post. Glad the trip was worth it.
Darren Hind
2 Posted 10/01/2019 at 04:46:39
You make an interesting point about the away support, Dave.

I wasn't there, but you couldn't fail to notice the noise coming from the Lincoln fans. It was a familiar feeling, down the years we've been rattled by many a lower side being roared on by incredible support.... Are we giving them a helping hand?

I have a theory (that's all it is) that more noise can be created from the Bullens Road than any other part of the ground. I don't mean when it's full of non-chanting Evertonians, I'm talking about when you give up 6 or 7,000 seats to up-for-the-cup visitors who are there to make as much noise as they can. The noise seems to travel across to the Main Stand and bounce straight back into the stadium... and because these fans are surrounding the TV cameras and mics, anyone watching on the telly would be forgiven for thinking we are the away team.

I know, I know, we really shouldn't allow noise from the stands to become a leveller, but there have been too many examples of it down the years to dismiss the theory that we are allowing the oppositions "12th man" to be stronger than he should be. I wonder would it be better to do "a Newcastle" and stick them up in the Top Balcony?

Obviously it would be better to simply get a better team who can make home advantage count, but until we can do that...

Ajay Gopal
3 Posted 10/01/2019 at 04:47:48
Good to read a report free of negativity, and with actually quite a few positive things to say about our players. I agree with you that Marco Silva needs to be given more time to bed in his players and get them to understand his tactics and the way he wants them to play, but he also needs to get the team putting in some consistent performances and getting some wins.

Hopefully, Marco persists with Calvert-Lewin – I think he needs a run of games to see him bloom. He has played a part in most of the games that he has started (think goal, disallowed goal, assist). He will have the occasional quiet game, but as long as he is giving his 100% and tiring out the opposition defenders for someone like Lookman to come in and do the damage, that is his job done.

I would go:

Kenny Keane Zouma Digne
Gomes Gueye
Bernard Sigurdsson Richarlison

With Walcott, Lookman and Baines coming off the bench.

Andy McNabb
4 Posted 10/01/2019 at 06:46:57
Thanks, Dave – I really enjoyed your report and think you make fair points. I personally see a win in the Cup against a team top of their respective league as a good result. My brother, who's a red, was complaining this morning about Klopp's record in the FA Cup. He said they haven't got past the 4th Round with him in charge and still sees the FA Cup as their best chance of silverware.

Darren, I agree with your theory re the Bullens and the noise generated and have thought the same on many occasions. From the other end of the ground, I have been amazed at the way the away support noise resonates when they score.

Ajay – I would give Mr Richarlison a bit of time on the bench, where he could observe how others players somehow manage to stay on their feet and play Leighton on the left instead. I thought Baines was outstanding after not playing all season and, let's face it, he was always better getting forward than he was defending. Maybe he could become his own version of Pienaar?

Bob Parrington
5 Posted 10/01/2019 at 06:49:58
Thanks for the report Dave. We didn't get any coverage here in Adelaide and so the various reports help us to get some idea of how we played.

It's good to read a balanced view.

With expected top temperatures (Deg C) of 39, 32, 35, 41, 41 over the next 5 days here, it is hard to imagine your mates freezing while they were waiting for the pick-up.

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 10/01/2019 at 06:54:50
Darren #2, you'd know far better than I, but based on simple logic I'd suggest a simpler solution.

Drown 'em out.

When 7,000 visitors are making more noise than 33,000 Blues, the issue isn't the seating arrangements.

Laurie Hartley
7 Posted 10/01/2019 at 07:39:31
Thanks for your post, Dave – I only saw the highlights but three things stuck out like a sore thumb to me:

1. What a beautiful left foot Baines has – he looked up before he planted that peach of a cross on Lookman's head.

2. How Lookman can leave an opponent behind over the first 5 yards, cut in from the left or right, and shoot with either foot.

3. I have been a Bernard fan from day one but, from what I saw in this game, he is really starting to find his feet. His awareness and ball control is top class. He is my favourite Everton player at the moment.

It is worth listening to what Leighton Baines has to say about him on the Official Site. They say good things come in small parcels.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 10/01/2019 at 08:30:20
First of all, congratulations to you and your coach full of Evertonians coming from such a long way in the middle of winter to support the Blues. I agree with nearly all of your observations and love the way you support the young players: brilliant.

We deserved to win and there wasn't a lot of danger of Lincoln changing the game. But here is where we disagree: whenever the opposing team get a corner, free-kick or centre in on goal, then my heart goes in my mouth because, even if Pickford is two inches smaller, he definitely should be coming off his line and attacking the ball. I certainly hope he improves on this aspect of his game.

I also didn't think Gomes changed the game to any real extent, we laboured to get out of our own half for a big period in the early part of the second half and he was one of the reasons for that, with passing backwards and sidewards too much.

Anyway Dave, thanks for your report and once again for your support. It never fails to impress me, our long distance travelling fans. Much better than me, just five minutes away from Goodison. I'm going to find it quite hard to get to Bramley-Moore Dock, that will be an extra three or four minutes.

Danny Broderick
9 Posted 10/01/2019 at 09:26:53
Great commitment from you guys.

There must be a young striker in the Championship with an eye for goal. Someone who isn’t the finished article, but who would bust a gut for us and score his fair share. I’m hoping we can have a punt on someone like this. We definitely need something up front, our front four have struggled for well over a month now...

Eddie Dunn
10 Posted 10/01/2019 at 10:19:46
Very nice report, Dave, and good to reflect on the game with a bit of perspective. I agree with you on Bernard and Lookman but for me Gomes flatters to deceive.

I like him, he is easy on the eye but he has no pace and goes for the long diagonal pass too often. I would like to see him push further forward and see if he can play the killer pass through the traffic.

As for Baines, the time out seems to have recharged his batteries; he was magnificent. I would keep him in defence and put Digne wide left. Pop Richarlison on the bench and let him consider his pathetic cheating. Well done, you boys travelling so far.

Rob Halligan
11 Posted 10/01/2019 at 10:24:10
Good report, Dave, and I agree with most of what you say. The 2-1 scoreline makes it look a lot closer than it actually was.

I don't recall too many chances Lincoln created in the second half. Pickford had next to nothing to do in the second half, and as far as I can remember, the closest they came to scoring was when Richarlison cleared a header over to give a corner away. Was that even going in? There was always that worry though, that one mistake could lead to an equaliser, which thankfully didn't happen.

I do agree with Dave A about Pickford though. He's 6'-1" and should be dominating his penalty area, and certainly his 6-yard box. Along with a leap of say, two feet, and the length of his arm from shoulder to fingertips, say well over two feet, it means his hands could be touching over 10 feet in the air. Well tall enough to catch or punch a ball away.

He should be going through everyone to claim the ball, as almost invariably, he will be awarded a free-kick due to being blocked off. We see it all the time, the slightest touch on a goalkeeper and a free-kick is awarded to him.

Derek Taylor
12 Posted 10/01/2019 at 10:36:30
You missed off the most important criteria, Danny.

'He must have been born in a foreign country, commanding a fee north of £25M and wages in six figures. Oh, and have an agent demanding to act for both parties.'

Otherwise Brands won't look at him!

Brian Harrison
13 Posted 10/01/2019 at 10:43:55
Dave I doff my cap to you and your fellow Blues from the West Country, that's some commitment you make as I know from experience the M5 can be a nightmare.

I also think your view of the match and individual players is pretty much spot on. Let's hope the cups you presented to Moshiri and Kenwright aren't the only cups they will get their hands on in the coming months and years.

Brian Williams
14 Posted 10/01/2019 at 11:34:38
First of all Darren, with regard to your suggestion of sticking away supporters up in the top balcony... errr GTF! I don't want em up there, you have em!

With regard to the fact that we are constantly outsung by away supporters. Away supporters are a slightly different breed to those season ticket "go to home matches only" types (I'm one by the way) and in that they go to away games with the intent of letting their voices be heard, having a good day out, and trying (very easily at Goodison) to outsing the home supporters.

All the away support join in and sing together, and usually have several, if not many, songs and chants to do. Compare that with the 30 odd thousand home supporters in Goodison. Our away support (while at home) won't all be in the same area of the ground but spread around different parts, so diluting their effectiveness in making any sort of effective noise.

Also there seems to be an alarming lack of songs and chants that we actually have. Lastly, it seems to take a hell of a lot to get the Goodison crowd going these days anyway.

Steve Brown
15 Posted 10/01/2019 at 11:58:53
A great report, Dave, and great commitment to make the trip – to be fair, I always think our away support is noisy and really makes its presence felt.
Steve Carse
17 Posted 10/01/2019 at 12:11:07
Brian, there was no need for you to admit to be a home-games-only season-ticket holder – the evidence was provided in your comment that 'there seems to be an alarming lack of songs and chants' at Everton games. If you were ever to go to an away game you'd be surprised, and amused, at the range of stuff belted out by travelling Blues, but never heard at Goodison Park.
John Raftery
18 Posted 10/01/2019 at 12:57:17
As others have said, a well-balanced report, Dave. I would love to find a way of including both Baines and Digne in the team. Both have a good football brain and link well with their team mates. The obvious problem is they both play the same type of game in the same position.

Given that Richarlison is one of our only two consistent goal scorers, leaving him out is probably not realistic but he needs to get his act together forthwith. I fully agree with your assessment of Sigurdsson. He is a luxury but he is our other scorer and as such we can hardly do without him at present.

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 10/01/2019 at 13:33:47
John, you're the latest of multiple posters who suggest that both Baines and Digne should be in the side.

But like you, I struggle to imagine a lineup that makes sense here. What alignment would make that feasible? And who would sit to make room for Bainesy?

You're right, neither Richarlison or Sigurdsson can be left out.

Eddie Dunn
20 Posted 10/01/2019 at 13:51:34
Mike, how about switching Baines to right-back?
Bill Griffiths
21 Posted 10/01/2019 at 14:08:26
Good post, Dave, my view of the game is exactly the same as yours in every respect. I did meet up with you by the way along with Steve Ferns in The Oak prior to an earlier game this season.

Like you, I also think Calvert-Lewin had great potential and wish Marco would give him an extended run to see what he can do.

I think I am on another of a trek going from North Wales but it pales in comparison to that of you guys way down there in the deep South West.

Peter Jansson
22 Posted 10/01/2019 at 15:12:29
I would try to fit Baines and Digne into the same team. Either one of them as a right-back or put one of them in at left midfield.

It is definitely worth a try.

Clive Rogers
23 Posted 10/01/2019 at 15:13:41
Bill, #21,

Calvert-Lewin is approaching 70 appearances for EFC and is 22 in March. How long are we expected to wait?

Compare him with Michael Owen at the World Cup at 17 and Rooney at a similar age. He is running out of time.

Jay Harris
24 Posted 10/01/2019 at 15:36:27

In some games, we could play a diamond formation with Gueye deep, Baines left, Gomes right and Sigurdsson forward, with Richarlison and Lookman up front.

Back four of Kenny, Keane, Zouma and Digne.

IMO, that would make us much tighter defensively and still produce the goals.

Chris Hockenhull
25 Posted 10/01/2019 at 16:10:26
Interesting opinions in regards the potential "shapes" we could play. Was it not Glen Hoddle or Tel who went with the "Christmas Tree" shape at international level with a fair degree of success?

I recall Sir Alf in his latter days playing what was described as the "Hot Dog" shape with three rows and wide passing.

It was thought quite revolutionary when Don Revie's Leeds went for an "Acorn Shape" but abandoned it after a few games citing ageing midfielders for its lack of success. Something to ponder on for Marco, I say?

Brian Williams
26 Posted 10/01/2019 at 16:20:40
Steve #17.

The point I was making was with regard to home games and home supporters singing/chanting only, as the point I was commenting on was somebody else's about away support at Goodison. I know there are plenty sung at our away games but you don't hear 'em getting belted out stadium-wide at Goodison, do you?

I've been to hundreds of away games in the UK and abroad; I just don't go to them any more and haven't for some years for my own reasons. :-)

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
27 Posted 10/01/2019 at 17:50:30
Bramley-Moore Dock – put all the away supporters in an area where there is no roof or walls to amplify the sound.

Bramley-Moore Dock – special section for season ticket holders who go to away games. All the manics (meant in the nicest way) in the same area to treat the home games like away games and sing their hearts out.

And Dave, I'd have a word with the daughter – nights before the game she is home by 10 or pays for a taxi.

Jay Harris
28 Posted 10/01/2019 at 18:00:00
Interesting article on Evertons fall away this season on Sky:


Ian Horan
29 Posted 10/01/2019 at 18:10:08
Clive @23, yes Calvert-Lewin is approaching 70 games, but how many has this been as a sub, or subbed off or played out of position. I bet his minutes actually on the pitch to goals score is more than reasonable.
Peter Warren
31 Posted 10/01/2019 at 20:04:37
Clive - comparing DCL to a ballon d’or winner and England’s top scorer obviously doesn’t compare favourably. A fairer comparison perhaps is to the Solanke who just got sold for £19m
Geoff Cadman
32 Posted 10/01/2019 at 20:13:36
My thought's too Peter. What price DCL if Solanke is worth 19 million
Jay Wood

33 Posted 10/01/2019 at 20:43:50
Actually, Peter @ 31, comparing Calvert-Lewin to Kane as Clive does is legitimate...if Clive can acknowledge that since the age of 19 Dom's first team experience has been exclusively in the Premier League with Everton, whereas... read the following about Kane.

At a similar age, Kane was a long way from the Premier League and Spurs first team, out on loan to League One Leyton Orient, Millwall and Leicester in the Championship, and soon-to-be-relegated Norwich in the Premier League.

He was not a regular pick, even in the lower leagues, and certainly not as prolific a goal scorer as he is now.

At international level, whereas Dom (just turned 20) contributed throughout the U-20 World Cup in 2017, memorably scoring the winning goal, in Kane's first two international tournaments, he flopped.

In the 2015 UEFA U-21 final Kane (aged 22) made no impression whatsoever. It was the same again in 2016 in the UEFA finals in France (aged 23).

Now Kane is right up there with one of the best strikers in the world, no question.

But given their relative histories, Clive's comparison of the two is a frivolous one.

It is way too premature to be writing off Calvert-Lewin just yet.

Kase Chow
34 Posted 10/01/2019 at 20:56:47
Who's Emily?

We desperately need a goalscorer to give the team, fans and management more confidence and belief

Calvert-Lewin is okay and has potential but what is his potential? He never looks particularly dangerous, ie, smashing 4 or 5 shots goalwards and just missing the target. He never strikes the ball well and misses lots of sitters (particularly against Liverpool – witness last season at home for example and previous season's header at Anfield when we were 2-0 down). He never looks particularly dangerous

A goalscorer that could have given us the lead at Arsenal or Old Trafford – a goal threat... just imagine!

That's what we need more than anything

Dave Williams
35 Posted 10/01/2019 at 23:00:51
Interesting comments there chaps – thanks for reading it all!

Kase – Emily is my 19-year-old who has discovered nightclubs (nothing to approach Ruperts, Cabin, Babalou, Beachcomber or Leighton Court from my heyday) but she is also starting to show an interest in EFC so my fingers are crossed.

Phil – hope you are well and must hook up for a game.

Dave and others – I take your point re Jordan but I do wonder if Marco has told him to stay put and let Mina etc attack crosses? Southall wasn't a great catcher of crosses but would punch and take the striker out at the same time and you are right that at 6'-1" in with arms extended he should be able to punch most stuff clear.

Bill – shame you weren't around on Saturday as I could have done with a beer!

Looking forward to Sunday – surely three points??

Kim Vivian
36 Posted 11/01/2019 at 07:21:05
Oh Dave - You mention Cabin, Leighton Court etc. Memories, memories. I live 250 odd miles (soon to be 300) away now. Great to hear those old stomping grounds mentioned. Cheers.
Presumably you are (were) a Wirral Wooly.
Dave Ganley
37 Posted 11/01/2019 at 16:02:05
Thanks for the report, Dave, you cover many miles each week so well done to you and all the West country blues.

As far as the game went, I totally agree with you. I never thought we were in danger of actually losing the game, we were pretty comfortable bar the last 20 mins of the first half. Job done, into the next round thank you very much.

As far as the level of noise and songs in Goodison Park for the home fans, well you have to look at the opposition for a start. With all due respect, I'm not sure many Evertonians got too excited about the tie whereas Lincoln meeting a top level team at their ground, well sure they would be excited and determined to have a great day and sing their hearts out. Unfortunately in the modern game it takes a lot for home crowds to get too excited about a game that isn't a so-called big game.

This issue is not confined to Everton. It happens at most clubs. Arsenal is always a morgue no matter what, The RS is quiet unless they play big games, same as Man Utd and Man City. It's just modern football. Away is a different matter. You all band together and even in modern football, you still have the feeling of us against them mentality so you make a lot of noise and sing your hearts out all game. We see it all the time with away fans at Goodison Park. That's why you going away will always be better than home games, despite all the issues of travelling and cost. <:P>When we come out of this bad patch we're going through, and we will, I'm quite sure that Goodison Park will be noisy for the games against Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Dave Williams
38 Posted 11/01/2019 at 18:38:30
Kim, born a scouser but a Wirral Wooly from age of three.

I spent four nights most weeks at Ruperts, The Cabin and Leighton and for a change we'd do the Babalou, Beachcomber, Samantha's Playground or, if we wanted to impress a new girlfriend, we'd go to Southport for Toad Hall.

Those were great clubs with fantastic music and great DJs like Vince Tracey, Terry Lennaine and Lee Scott.
Happy days indeed!

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