You played your part

Paul Traill 13/02/2022 22comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Leeds Utd

My cousin Gerrard, who is a Leeds United supporter, travelled up from Bristol to join me for this one. He arrived pretty pumped and full of optimism too. Why wouldn’t you be I suppose having just watched Everton fail at St James’s Park while they battled bravely to earn a point in midweek?

Gerrard actually headed up on the Friday evening so we were up and raring to go early. My Dad kindly dropped us off at Hamilton Square, where Ell Bretland and myself unwittingly crossed paths, and we jumped off at James Street station to show Gerrard a few of the tourist sites. After a pootle around the Albert Dock we jumped back on the train at Moorfields and arrived at the pub a little after midday.

While having a bit of chit chat with a few of the staff in the pub it didn’t take them (Liverpudlians) to quickly revert to the typical smug mocking of our club. They all gave us no chance in the game. Not that I saw them afterwards but I did have a smirk on my face as I thought about that later on.

The rest of the clan soon arrived and we had a great laugh in the pub, exchanging stories while the beer flowed. Time caught up with us rapidly, and before you knew it we were at about 2:30 pm and debating whether to get one more beer in or not. Regardless, we arrived the other side of the Gwladys Street turnstile quickly enough and up to our seats, Gerrard was up a little bit to our left.

A lot had been made in the week by supporters on social media, most notably the #27Years campaign, about making as much noise as possible to get behind the team on Saturday and to support the players every step of the way. When this sort of thing has happened previously it’s never really got off the ground, however, it was different this time. Everybody in the Gwladys Street was on their feet throughout and singing and cheering on the supporters. From minute one, right until the end. It was electric. Well done everyone. You played your part.

I’m certain we wouldn’t have got that performance without this backing. The players had a determination about them from the get-go, this epitomised by the combination which found Anthony Gordon through on goal within a minute. It’s a shame he didn’t trust his left foot as had he have done so he’d surely have got his shot away, as it was Diego Llorente got back to make a desperate recovery challenge.

It wasn’t long until this early pressure told however and our new loan star Donny van de Beek was at the heart of it. He broke into the penalty area and played a good ball across towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The ball was cut out but Seamus Coleman was alert, determined and most importantly high up the pitch and he headed the ball in from close range under close attention from the defender.

We were further buoyed when Michael Keane doubled our advantage. Richarlison did very well to pressure the defender into conceding a corner kick, and Everton profited when a delicious curling delivery from Anthony Gordon was met well at the back post by Keane. It was smiles all round as we celebrated. This was becoming quite an enjoyable afternoon. Less so for my cousin Gerrard who shook his head as I glared over at him.

While Everton were miles on top and easily the better side throughout, it would be remiss to overlook the two quite brilliant attempts from distance by Rodrigo, both of which crashed back of the crossbar much to everyone’s relief. Had either of them gone in who knows how the game would have panned out.

Half time was busy, First I went to see Gerrard and had a natter about the game. He was very impressed with the atmosphere and noise generated by us Evertonians, though less impressed with his team. After a quick visit to the toilet I went back to see Gerrard for a little longer, then shuffled along to catch Dan, before getting back to my seat just in time for the second half.

We continued on the front foot though Leeds United did wrestle a bit of control of the game and kept possession for a fair period of time, albeit without hurting us with it. Their passing ability deserted them and as the game went on they overhit more and more passes out of play.

This pendulum swung back once we substituted Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Dele Alli and Everton started to see more of the goal. This paid on 78 minutes when Richarlison cut inside onto his left foot from the edge of the penalty area and struck at goal. The ball took a nick off Anthony Gordon on the way though and found the corner of the goal.

I hadn’t realised the goal had been taken off RIcharlison until literally just as I was writing this report. I felt that was harsh as I don’t think this really impacted the goal. That said, it is fair reward for Anthony Gordon who has been ever so good these last few months. A real shinning light in what has been an awful campaign.

Substitute Salomon Rondon almost put some gloss on the scoreline with a good volley at goal following an excellent Dele Alli cross, but it was a bit too close to Illan Meslier and was saved.

A fourth goal would have been nice and not undeserved but obviously at full-time there were no complaints. A clean sheet is priceless for the defence who have been lacking confidence for a considerable period of time, and the feel good factor is palpable amongst supporters and players alike. Fair play to the Leeds United supporters also, who stayed and backed their team throughout in what was a pretty poor effort from the visitors.

A crucial three points brings us a little bit away from the relegation zone and gives us more hope ahead of a tricky trip to St. Mary’s. Following the match we headed into the city centre and caught the rugby in The Excelsior and then had some food and drinks in the Ship and Mitre. It just so happened that I bumped into several people I know in there, some of whom I haven’t seen for the best part of 20 years. Gerrard said “you must be the most connected man in Liverpool, you seem to know everyone”.

But it was just coincidence that so many people I knew were there at once. I really don’t know that many people, and seldom are they all in the same place at once.

Player ratings:

Jordan Pickford: He really didn’t have a lot to do. 6

Jonjoe Kenny: I think everyone winced a bit when they say that Jonjo was to be up against Raphinha at left-back, but wasn’t he fantastic? The popular opinion has been for a long time now that Jonjo isn’t good enough. My opinion has often been that, no he’s not great, but at the same time isn’t anything like as bad as many make him out to be. I don’t think I remember a performance as good as this from Jonjo however. He was excellent and kept first Raphinha and then Tyler Roberts largely quiet. A great effort from Jonjo, and it will be interesting to see if he retains his spot in the side next weekend once we have a more natural left-back available in Vitalii Mykolenko. If keeps this level of performance up he may also persuade Everton to retain his services for a longer period, as his contract expires this Summer. 8

Michael Keane: It was great to see him chip in with a goal and he will be delighted with his clean sheet. He’s another one that I feel gets more stick than he deserves. Yes, he has poor games from time to time but he never hides and always tries his best. He had a good solid game defensively. 7

Mason Holgate: Was aggressive and committed as ever. A good effort. 7

Seamus Coleman: Well done to Seamus as having to play three games in a week must have taken its toll on his body. But he kept on going throughout and was rewarded with an early goal of course. His first goal in three years, and I suppose there’s a reasonable chance that will be his last goal for Everton. Should Nathan Patterson emerge at right-back next season you would imagine it would be less game time for Seamus, so more goals may be hard to come by for him. 8

Allan: You can never fault Allen’s effort, and he has kept on going to good credit during this turgid campaign. When Carlo left us it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Allan force a move away, but good on him he has stuck at it and he played an important role yesterday in stifling Leeds United. 7

Donny van de Beek: High quality players have a certain panache in the way they operate. A confidence and arrogance in their body language. Though we didn’t see him first hand James Rodrigues had it. Donny does too. He’s a talented player and looks the part. It’s a wonder that Manchester United can’t find a use for him but I guess they have too many players. If he performs like this game in/game out for Everton you’d be amazed if they don’t take notice. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him these next few months. Just a shame that he’s cup-tied. 8

Alex Iwobi: Who saw that performance coming? Certainly not me. Alex is a player who has become increasingly frustrating for me and many others. I feel Everton have given him several opportunities and tried him in different roles though he has never really seized the opportunity and I’d about had enough of his antics. But what an effort that was from him yesterday. His effort was constant, and his dribbling and use of the ball was outstanding. One effort from the edge of the penalty area was almost Ronaldinho-esque. It was great to see and it’s a shame Frank Lampard didn’t substitute him as he would have received a heck of an ovation as he left the field. Well done Alex. That was fantastic. My man of the match. 8

Anthony Gordon: Anthony continues to impress me more and more each week, and he did so again today. Great for him to return a goal and an assist, and his effort and scrapping was top draw throughout. I’m sure Everton’s Academy are very proud of the way they have developed him, and so they should be. 8

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: That’s by far the sharpest he’s looked since returning from injury. He made a real difference to our attack and did a great job of occupying the Leeds United defence. Great to have him back and firing on all cylinders. Lets hope that draws a line under his injury troubles and that he can now kick on. 7

Richarlison: He was a handful and full of effort throughout. With these two up front I feel like we’re in good hands and will win plenty of games between now and the season’s end. 8

Dele Alli (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin): He did okay. I think he needs time and patience but he’ll get there. 6

Anwar El Ghazi (for Anthony Gordon): He got involved and did quite well. Nice to see Frank giving opportunities to as many players as possible. 6

Salomon Rondon (for Richarlison): Also got involved. He was a touch unlucky to see his volley kept out. 6

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Reader Comments (22)

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Jon Harding
1 Posted 13/02/2022 at 20:54:48
Great stuff again, Paul!
Did you have your lucky new trainers on?
Anton Walsh
2 Posted 13/02/2022 at 21:18:38
The thing with a performance like this is it leaves us with mixed feelings on who should go and whether players are given another chance. It also shows that giving more effort provides a greater chance of winning.
Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 13/02/2022 at 21:32:10
I bet it felt like the old days with the fans so involved just needed to drop the nut on your Leeds pal to take you right back to the '70s. What a time to be alive
Alexander Murphy
4 Posted 13/02/2022 at 23:08:15
Easy for Us to be euphoric about Saturdays Players and let's enjoy a thoroughly committed performance by one-and -all.

Let THEM also bloody well deliver like this every week.

There are two types of pressure in supreme sport.

The pressure to overcome repeated failure.
The pressure to repeat success.

Over to You Lads.

Steve Hogan
5 Posted 13/02/2022 at 23:43:16
I wonder if the TW poster on here a couple of days ago who labelled Coleman (amongst other players) a shithouse has had second thoughts.

I called the contributor out at the time and will do so again. Everyone knows Coleman's best days are behind him, but I don't know many 33 year olds capable of playing 3 games in seven days and putting in a MOM performance like that.

The first 'diving header' goal from Seamus was crucial in us getting the win. Whilst a number of player's can be rightly criticised for a perceived lack of effort this season, I've never once during his time at Everton seen him give less than 100% in a blue jersey.

That successive manager's have consistently selected him over other younger candidates for the right back spot, is hardly the player's fault.

Our club captain deserves more respect.

Andrew James
6 Posted 14/02/2022 at 00:35:41

Completely agree. But there are posters who are quick to retire some players and not give the youngsters any chance the other side.

They're often not the match go-ers to be fair.

I have never once doubted his commitment and just wish like Leighton, Jags, Stubbs or Cahill a medal could have come his way.

Andrew James
7 Posted 14/02/2022 at 00:40:43
Oh and Paul - great article

It's a bit weird when your relatives support other clubs. All my Northern ones are EFC but the Southern crowd like Arsenal and Millwall...

Fortunately I have no RS supporting relations.

Jamie Crowley
8 Posted 14/02/2022 at 01:07:25
Time caught up with us rapidly, and before you knew it we were at about 2:30 pm and debating whether to get one more beer in or not.

We need to someday see a game together. Just sayin'.

Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 14/02/2022 at 06:00:19
Great report, Paul. It is great to hear you on the ToffeeWeb podcast too. Keep up the good work.

Just one minor quibble with your report of the 1st goal. I had the advantage of seeing it over and over again. Coleman was actually involved 3 times in that goal. He starts it with a pass to Iwobi who finds Coleman again who has advanced towards the box. He then passes it to Gordon, who then plays it to VdB who then crosses to DCL and the ball pops up in the 6 yard box where Seamus has further advanced to head it in. A terrific team goal. But pure desire and effort from our captain. Fantastic!

Andrew (6): "I have never once doubted his (Seamus') commitment and just wish like Leighton, Jags, Stubbs or Cahill a medal could have come his way." Don't write that off yet! Let us supporters all join together and raise a war cry " Do it for Seamus"! You never know what could happen.

PS: I continue to be amazed by the ability of the average English male to down beers! :-)

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 14/02/2022 at 06:04:45
Has to be the benchmark for every game.

The biggest frustration I've always had from watching Everton, is we know that kind of performance is there, it's just not there enough

Every player to a man on Saturday prevented Leeds from playing, they snuffed Leeds out and it's not often you see a team outrun Bielsa's men but that's what we did.

Too many good performance levels to actually pick out one man of the match.

The acid test for the mentality now is can they do it away at Southampton on Saturday?

Tony Abrahams
11 Posted 14/02/2022 at 08:33:53
Steve @5, there is a right-up about Coleman in one of today’s national newspapers and it shows that Seamus is more than just a footballer.

After reading the article and then looking at the picture of Richarlison running behind him, it made me think that Coleman has pushed the Brazilian out of the way after scoring, because he wanted to go and show the people that really matter, how much the goal meant to us all!

Christopher Timmins
12 Posted 14/02/2022 at 09:06:55
Let's hope that Saturday's performance becomes the norm going forward. I did not see a performance like that coming and I am just so relieved that we had enough within the group to be able to put on a performance like that.

To all who were at Norwich and Brentford, who travel so far on match days to support the team you truly deserve days like Saturday. Danny, I expect that the train journey back to London was one of the more enjoyable ones.

The Lampard way, playing on the front foot, is the way forward!

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 14/02/2022 at 09:09:40
We played our part just as we always do and have done. They haven't done that enough. There is definitely a growing feel good factor after the toxic atmosphere that existed previously.

It was good to see the players do likewise and play their part too. As they have done in 2 out of the 3 matches this manager manager has been in charge. Despite the Newcastle debacle, that's 8 goals in 3 matches with 4 conceded. Not a bad statistic; 50% in our favour. Strap yourselves in for the ride because here we go.

On Coleman, I loved seeing him and Kenny embrace after that goal. Master and apprentice. Neither the best in their trade but in terms of commitment and desire, top of their game and would take some beating.

Jerome Shields
14 Posted 14/02/2022 at 09:24:18
Agree with you ratings. Yes the crowd certainly helped.
Len Hawkins
16 Posted 14/02/2022 at 12:49:52
One thing that has struck me is how much more coverage and praise from former players are giving us. I suspect Lampard being honest and well liked throughout football has woken them up – not that you can blame them for sleeping through the dross of the last few years.

Since Lampard has taken the job, there is far more talk about us and climbing up the Match of the Day schedule certainly points towards us being more in favour.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 14/02/2022 at 13:25:07
I think Danny, makes the most valid point about most of our players James, because they have been kicked from pillar to post, and everyone needs confidence to reach their highest levels, and then even more, to find the hardest thing, which is to become very consistent over a period of time.
James Flynn
18 Posted 14/02/2022 at 16:28:25
I wonder if Iwobi could solve our "Gana" problem.

It's no coincidence, since Gana's departure, opposing teams have been running wind-sprints thru our mid-field.

Alex WAS everywhere across the mid-field; harrying, breaking up play, taking the ball away. He's certainly has the athleticism Gana has. A little bigger, too.

Maybe Lampard will give him a go, under the same instructions as Saturday, for a few games and see how it plays.

Mick Davies
19 Posted 14/02/2022 at 17:12:57
My MotM award is a toss up between the fans and Super Frank.
Dale Self
20 Posted 14/02/2022 at 19:30:17
Thanks for doing these Paul, it really is an extra bump for those of us who can't make it across the water. Absolutely a crowd inspired outcome but one that the players will take to heart and maybe repay the fans with some stellar road performances. They are just short of confidence and are capable of putting out efforts like this more consistently.
Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 14/02/2022 at 19:42:11
Dale (20), yes I think confidence is a big factor in our coming results, win a couple more quickly or even some draws and we can move away from the dread zone and start playing some attractive football along with the results enabling Frank to start introducing more young players like Dobbin and Patterson into the team to start or from the bench and get them ready for next seasons squad.
Andy McNabb
22 Posted 15/02/2022 at 08:34:42
Thanks, Paul. Great report, as usual.

I'm bemused and delighted in equal measures. Really pleased for Kenny, Coleman, Keane, Iwobi et al.

Des Farren
23 Posted 15/02/2022 at 19:49:59
Steve @ 5.

Fully in agreement with your comments re Coleman who I'm sure will appreciate the remarks.

The contributor you mention has, regretfully, not taken the opportunity to withdraw the comment in his latest post on this thread.

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