Everton 3 - 1 Southampton
After a little bit of confusion as to who was driving to the game, Gaz eventually rocked up and drove Ste and I through the tunnel under the River Mersey. Eager as ever, Dan and his family were well ahead of us.
Stepping into the pub almost felt like a dream come true. It’s the little things you miss, I suppose, but walking into the pub and seeing it exactly how we remembered it from 18 months or so ago really put smiles on our faces. “Alright lads!” said the Landlady with a huge grin. It was great to be back and see some of the old staff… and even better to learn they are still providing free hot dogs.
It seemed that many attendees were concerned about difficulty accessing Goodison Park with the new digital season tickets expected to cause carnage. This is Everton after all and you learn to expect the worst with these situations. Visitors to Goodison Park were that concerned about getting into the stadium that the pub had drastically emptied out by 2:15 pm. We stayed on a little later and, come about 2:50 pm, it was remarkably quiet on Goodison Road with most supporters presumably already inside the ground. We entered the stadium hassle-free, the digital season ticket working perfectly.
It was awesome to hear the sirens prelude the Z-Cars theme as the teams came out. Rafa Benitez was afforded a modest reception, with any hecklers, perhaps smartly, drowned out by whatever music was being pumped out. Getting to my seat, it was great to see the old familiar faces around us and everyone thrilled to be back. It’s amazing how quickly you return to type.
Everton likewise, if the downbeat first-half showing was anything to go by, as the Toffees struggled to get out of second gear in a very lacklustre first-half display, the highlight of which being a wicked cross from the right by Demarai Gray which Dominic Calvert-Lewin could only nod wide of the far post. The lowlight? Why Southampton’s goal, of course. Why, why, why, Michael Keane???
The England centre-back got himself into a bit of a muddle but was afforded the opportunity to get out of jail as the ball sort of came back to him and he should have sunk it into Row Z. Instead he tried to be clever, was robbed by Che Adams and, with Mason Holgate stranded, the impressive Adam Armstrong finished with aplomb to give Southampton an advantage.
We didn’t respond well and the crowd were getting restless, the mood not helped by Kevin Friend’s decision to card Richarlison for simulation. I was too far away to see the incident so I have no idea how clear a dive it was or not; I wish only for consistency with those decisions, ie, when Mo Salah does the same thing, for example, it should also be a yellow card.
With about 5 minutes left of the half, I’d seen about enough and went down to grab a half-time beer. That was the plan anyway, though I hadn’t accounted for the rest of the Gwladys Street End having the same idea and I was too late with the queues already very, very long. Instead, I spent my time at the break back up by my seat and having a natter with those around us.
Everton began the second half on the front foot and forced a corner-kick quite early in the half which Richarlison eventually thrashed into the net. Mohammed Salisu will regret watching the ball sail over his head in what was a big mistake by the Southampton defender. That made it one goal-costing error all.
Everton kept their foot on the gas for a short while, though Southampton soon wrestled their way back into the game and were largely on top for a lot of the 29 minutes between Richarlison’s goal and Abdoulaye Doucouré’s goal, albeit without reward.
While Abdoulaye was running around nutmegging himself following Alex Iwobi’s excellent knock-down, it was hard to see what the reward would be, though then, out of nowhere, he turned and smashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner of Alex McCarthy’s net, sending the crowd wild in the process. A feeling you just can’t buy.
Shortly after, Alex Iwobi made a very good run though was unable to finish when in the penalty area. It mattered not, however, as in no time at all we had wrapped up the points when Richarlison’s delicious cross was headed into the goal by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Such had been Dominic’s limited involvement in the game, it felt like that was his first touch!
This made for an enjoyable last 10 minutes as Rafa Benitez shut up shop by bringing on Yerry Mina for Demarai Gray. We were away quite quickly after the game and home nice and handy.
And just like that, we’re back, almost as if we’ve never been away.
Jordan Pickford: Helpless with the goal and was generally sound with most of everything else he did. 7
Lucas Digne: I felt he began the game rather anonymously though did grow into the game well in the second half. 6
Michael Keane: Obviously he made a huge error with the Southampton goal but good on him for putting it behind him and having a good solid game after that. 6
Mason Holgate: Did quite well. 6
Seamus Coleman: One of our top performers on the day. 7
Allan: It is a mystery how he survived the game without picking up a yellow card. He had a good tenacious game and you got the impression he enjoyed the battle. 6
Abdoulaye Doucouré: It’s great to see him given the license to get forward more as you’ve got to love a good box-to-box midfielder, and he was rewarded with his goal, of course. It was a brilliant dominant display throughout from Abdoulaye. My Man of the Match. 8
Andros Townsend: Not spectacular but full of industry. 6
Demarai Gray: I’ve never seen much of Demarai previously and I’ll need to see a lot more of him before I can decide how good a player he can be for Everton, but he certainly has talent. Not a bad debut at all. 6
Richarlison: In an era when we all we so often hear is how tired footballers are for playing too many games, how refreshing is it to see Richarlison arrive straight back from Tokyo having also played in the Copa America, and then demand to play. Good on him for showing such commitment, and he got his reward with a goal and an assist. It’s great to have him off the mark for the season. Hopefully there’s many more to come. 8
Dominic Calvert-Lewin: I’m sure those who analyse football games more closely than I do will tell me about a lot of the off-the-ball work he did and how he occupied defenders, but I can barely remember him having a kick. Still, he was there when it mattered with a brilliant diving header to seal the win. As so many of Dominic’s goals seem to come in purple patches, let’s hope this is the beginning of another goal streak. 6
Alex Iwobi (for Andros Townsend): What a brilliant 20-odd minutes from Alex with one assist and an involvement in our third and final goal. I’d like to see him have a run of games in the No 10 role, as he says it’s his favourite position though has seldom had opportunities there. 8
Yerry Mina (for Demarai Gray): Helped shore things up at the back. 6
Anthony Gordon (for Richarlison): He got involved, but one moment stuck in my mind when he had the ball in space but was caught floundering on it and a Southampton player easily outmuscled him, won the ball back and went on the attack, leaving Anthony on the floor. That was right in front of Rafa, which won’t have looked good. 5
Reader Comments (53)
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1 Posted 16/08/2021 at 03:10:45
Still in lockdown here in Melbourne but great to see the crowds on TV.
2 Posted 16/08/2021 at 03:16:21
Wish myself can be there...instead stuck in South East Asia due to job commitments..
3 Posted 16/08/2021 at 07:04:33
4 Posted 16/08/2021 at 07:52:47
Forgetting about Keanes mistake, it was the lack of communication between him and Holgate, that was hard to understand, and there were times when I was looking at one to help the other out, and when this wasnt happening, I was bemused that they didnt have ago at each other, and demand more help? So it was two individuals rather than a partnership, marshaling the middle of our defence at times unfortunately, even though Pickford was largely untroubled for most of the game.
Goodison looked even older, but I suppose the same could be said for a lot of us, until Doucouré made us all feel like kids again, and everyone went home happy!
5 Posted 16/08/2021 at 07:58:09
6 Posted 16/08/2021 at 08:09:00
Can't say I saw any of the double jab checks taking place on Saturday. Did anyone else? If so, how and where did they take place?
7 Posted 16/08/2021 at 08:22:52
8 Posted 16/08/2021 at 08:55:49
There was a guy at my turnstile on the Gwladys Street keeping a tally of who had been double jabbed or had a negative test, but he made it clear we'd have been let in anyway. Had to show him my Covid pass.
9 Posted 16/08/2021 at 09:12:47
10 Posted 16/08/2021 at 09:40:27
11 Posted 16/08/2021 at 09:51:53
I found it a little surreal to be back and fairly quiet on the streets. The Elm has gone, the Blue Hub on Spellow Lane was closed and I assumed St Luke's was too so I strode in unopposed at 2:20 pm. I wonder if they only checked covid passes for younger people that might not be vaccinated?
No steward in my section and quite a few familiar faces missing, some through illness and some not willing to chance catching the virus perhaps?
Anyway, the second half made the trip well worth it!
12 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:00:30
13 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:15:06
In agreement on Doucoure as Man of the Match. He just shaved it for me over Richarlison as I said on Michael's match day thread.
Great day out. Early train from London and a few cheeky ones on the way. Met my brother in the Crown near Lime Street. I too found the e-ticket system very smooth; just my own fault I got there late and there was a large queue for the turnstile I entered.
Back to meet my brother, cousin and a couple of my dad's old mates in the Clock on County Road. Back to the Crown so I was positioned to not miss the last train home. Still managed to dip for the line, but made it by 2 minutes and joined up with my other brother who had been with his mates from Halewood. He too lives and works in London now, so we travelled back together. Cheeky one in the Green Man near Great Portland Street then home by 1am!
Can't wait for the next one!!
14 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:20:15
Thanks for that. My concern was that my season ticket is not in my own name (long story!) and that they may be looking to match the name on the ticket with that on the Covid Passport (which I've obviously got).
On the subject of tickets, my mate, who opted for the season ticket app, couldn't go on Saturday (last minute problem) but didn't know how to give his ticket to a friend so... it went to waste. Anyone have any ideas on this?
15 Posted 16/08/2021 at 10:25:45
Obviously, Richarlison scoring so early in the second period helped, but it was nice to see an Everton team chasing a game, without looking like headless chickens in doing so.
Everton's OS is showing full coverage of the Southampton match and as far as I know, it will be a feature for the remainder of the season, there is also a shorter highlights package available too.
Official Members – as well as Season Ticket, Lounge and Hospitality Members – can watch our opening-day over win over the Saints in full now.
16 Posted 16/08/2021 at 11:07:29
I suppose in the past it was simple, but with the Covid "passport" imminent, then I assume it may get stricter in terms of checking names etc.
17 Posted 16/08/2021 at 11:22:50
The programme also listed Kevin Friend as ref.
Don't know if that's possible without handing over the phone! But the FAQ on the website said something about transferring at one point.
The device which reads the e-ticket seems to flash a different colour for adults, juniors etc., so maybe they're trying to clamp down on things.
18 Posted 16/08/2021 at 11:35:07
Out of 10 opening day host clubs in the Premier League, there's only one that doesn't know, or cannot say for some bizarre reason, just how many of those precious fans were actually in attendance on Saturday.
19 Posted 16/08/2021 at 11:41:59
The Anne Frank 'error' can't really be blamed on the club as it was probably submitted by somebody with a juvenile sense of 'humour' and the blame rests with them instead of the club. Although I'm sure they'll double-check every entry in the future to prevent idiots from submitting silly stuff.
The attendance thing is strange, perhaps, they decided to operate the new system without the usual checks? In order to prevent an embarrassing situation from occurring?
20 Posted 16/08/2021 at 13:04:23
This more than anything should form a big part of Benitez's plans. Once the team work hard, the hard and unforgiving crowd gets right behind the team, and hopefully then, the fear can switch from some of the Everton players and into the opposition players instead.
21 Posted 16/08/2021 at 13:04:41
I was a little (no, a lot) concerned that virtually the only people inside the ground wearing masks were the stewards and police. Being vaccinated, or wearing a mask, doesn't stop you getting it but the evidence is that it helps.
22 Posted 16/08/2021 at 13:26:20
If there's one thing, apart from the virus itself of course, that has perturbed me, it's the sheer lack of logic in some of the rules and procedures set out during the pandemic.
Anyway, great to be back!
23 Posted 16/08/2021 at 13:34:43
After all that, the rather stern girl behind the counter told me "no alcohol when the game has started". There was no negotiation. Double punishment. Missed the equaliser, no drink.
On a serious note, when are we going to stop treating football fans like naughty children who can't be trusted? I go to watch Schalke and can go and get a drink and bring it back to my seat whenever I want. I can even stack and get one of those McDonald's like cup holders to carry 4 back and see me through the half!!
Surely we've moved on from the 80s now. Maybe that changes when we move to BMD?
Anyway, first world problems. Me having to wait an hour for a drink didn't distract from a great day. Just wanted to get it out there!!!
24 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:14:25
I agree it did feel very good – for a change! I've just been trying to assess the future what with the new stadium on the horizon, albeit a few seasons off yet – sometime in 2024 hopefully, and Benitez still at the helm.
I wasn't anti-Benitez to start with, what he said was a long time ago, chaps, and probably riled by a load of abuse from some of our fans.
I have a sneaking suspicion that, as ironic as it seems, he may end up an Everton hero or legend – no, I have not been drinking... but alright, you could say I'm getting carried away after one game.
I can see him making the most of the task he has been given if he's allowed to get on with the ups and downs for a decent length of time. He will know that we have the potential to become one of the super clubs again, especially when we move into the new stadium.
He's the right age with loads of experience in all situations and I can see him being our manager for a number of seasons. The stadium is costing an absolute fortune but I would imagine that the management will want a team of suitable class that matches our new stadium.
So why not!
25 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:23:47
The fans make such a difference and they certainly had their moneys worth in the second half.
The manager has to be given a chance and it was imperative that he got off to a good start. Hopefully, he will be a success.
26 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:31:34
27 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:56:03
Not all night though!
28 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:06:12
29 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:12:04
30 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:19:25
Danny #16 – interesting about you and your son being named on your nephew's season ticket. I assume his is an e-ticket rather than plastic card – any idea how he went about organising that?
31 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:37:57
I was fine with that personally but, sadly, my message to anyone who is in two minds about whether or not to go to the match because they feel vulnerable, is that the club are not particularly interested in trying to enforce any covid safety meaures.
A tale of two cities though – although my train back to London seemed to be another mask-free zone (like most of Liverpool in my experience), as soon as I got on the Tube it was at least 80% masked up.
32 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:54:48
33 Posted 16/08/2021 at 15:58:32
34 Posted 16/08/2021 at 16:26:45
Great to be back at the match and the 3 points made it a perfect start.
35 Posted 16/08/2021 at 16:45:21
According to my sister, he sends me a link if not using it and I can access by my phone. I then cancel it off the phone after using it. Apparently very easy to use.
My brother used it this week (I paid for my ticket).
36 Posted 16/08/2021 at 17:03:08
It is always enjoyable to see the human side of supporting the blues.
I am stuck in Florida at the moment so your report helps me reminisce what I'm missing.
BTW can you name the pub that offers free hot dogs. Mike G and Jamie (LOL) might be interested when they eventually get over.
37 Posted 16/08/2021 at 19:00:35
Danny (23) You raise an interesting point about fans being treated as naughty children. Unfortunately the evidence in this country is that there is a significant proportion of the public who behave exactly like that. The behaviour at Wembley is not the only recent example. I read that Lords Cricket Ground has stopped serving alcohol during the Hundred owing to poor behaviour ruining the occasion for others.
38 Posted 16/08/2021 at 20:24:01
39 Posted 16/08/2021 at 22:27:01
I remember going to see the GB team at the London Olympics and trying to bring a beer back to my seat. I was stopped in my tracks and told that it was because we could throw the beer. At the same moment, a guy walked past with hot coffees, and was allowed to take them to his seat! I said that surely you could do more damage throwing hot coffee at someone than cold beer?! They had no answer.
Its a nonsense mate.
40 Posted 16/08/2021 at 22:51:22
Lords haven't banned alcohol during The Hundred; they've banned fans from bringing their OWN alcohol into the ground - the bars are still open. They did this because, to their surprise, a clear majority of the spectators were families with young children, which caught them 'on the hop'.
Lancashire have a similar thing at Old Trafford; they have the 'Party Stand' on one side, where the bars are open all day, and the Family Stand on the other, where alcohol is banned.
41 Posted 16/08/2021 at 22:52:10
Danny. Details were sent out to all season ticket holders by the club about the wearing of masks whenever you're "indoors" at Goodison.
The vast majority ignored the information and didn't follow the guidelines.
I think the answer to your question is "when they behave like adults."
42 Posted 16/08/2021 at 23:11:18
If I support a rugby club or a cricket club I can drink a beer whilst watching the game, but when I go to a football match that's not allowed, why? I'm the same person at the footy as I am at the the other sports. To be honest, I'm quite glad that I'm not allowed to drink watching football, as it gives me a welcome break from the ale.
43 Posted 17/08/2021 at 08:40:41
Then you don't have everyone piling downstairs in a 15 minute period. It's more spread out as people can go and get a tea, coffee, beer or food whenever they want and take it back to their seat.
Appreciate we don't necessarily have the facilities or concourse at Goodison like Schalke, where there is much more space, more facilities and even mobile beer stands, but just a thought.
We are effectively encouraging mass congregation in a tight space over a 15 minute period!!
44 Posted 17/08/2021 at 09:24:16
And #43 – well said. I think we were encouraged on Saturday not to gather in concourses, yet beer was served that you were not allowed to drink anywhere else! Doesn't really affect me as I do my drinking earlier in the pub but does seem ridiculous.
45 Posted 17/08/2021 at 12:28:12
The season before last, the club found it necessary to include a note in their advice to away fans that throwing beer in the air would not be tolerated. I rest my case.
46 Posted 17/08/2021 at 13:05:34
I guess I've been spoiled at Schalke. As well as the far superior facilities and trusting me to take a drink to my seat to actually drink it, the Veltins Arena is sponsored by Veltins. A fine German Pilsner.
Remember warm Chang?
47 Posted 17/08/2021 at 13:11:14
I think a part of the problem with the drinks in the ground was that there was no fan zone, surely we are better off drinking outside than in the cramped Dickensian conditions afforded in the Bullens Road stand.
Good report, Paul, apart from Iwobi 8, seriously!
48 Posted 17/08/2021 at 13:17:22
What worried me more about the incident was the ease with which he was then knocked off the ball and onto his backside. He's going to need some muscle-building if he's ever going to make it at top level.
49 Posted 17/08/2021 at 13:29:19
I can't agree with the idea of being able go and buy alcohol throughout the game. It pisses me off having to get up and down for the number of fans who get in late and also those who have to go to the bars from up to 15 minutes or so before half-time and then get back to their seats another 15 minutes or so after half-time and then leave early another 10 to 15 minutes before the game ends.
Personally, I can't understand why people pay the rip-off prices at the official outlets.
50 Posted 17/08/2021 at 13:35:01
I appreciate what you're saying but I don't want to be constantly having to get up during the match, having my view of the game obstructed as people go for another beer / toilet break. The stands at most British football grounds don't lend themselves to a free flow of people. Besides, I don't want people edging past me constantly at a distance of at most 6 inches during a Covid pandemic
51 Posted 18/08/2021 at 02:53:47
Keane.. Yeah, he wont make more blunders like THAT this season, Or will he..? I still rate him higher than Mina, whos also suspectable of yellow cards in dangerous positions. Also, hes very fragile. Keane and Godfrey is my pair. Holgate might improve but he make Keane nervous and me aswell.
DCL and Richie did well.
Doucoure very good.
Allen an enigma. Is his engine at fault??
Digne and Coleman did the job, nothing more.
Gray was quite good, but hop he imptoves.
Townsend nothing spectacular.
Pickford did ok. Nothing fancy. Could communiate better with his defence.
52 Posted 18/08/2021 at 14:45:37
When I was watching a game at the San Siro, 2 or 3 years ago, a chap came around with a tray full of beers – like a cinema usherette – and you could just buy the beer at your seat. That would seem to be a solution to your issue.
53 Posted 18/08/2021 at 15:18:05
At Haydock Races, guys used to go round with cylinders of beer on their back, squirt re-filling empty glasses.
Still maintain though that the stands are far too cramped at most UK grounds for such American customs.
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