High Spirits – Travelling Blues' devotion finally rewarded with big result at Leicester

Lyndon Lloyd 08/05/2022 40comments  |  Jump to last

80% of the King Power Stadium was empty save for a lone steward in the middle of the home end. The final whistle had blown 20 minutes ago yet hundreds of ecstatic Everton fans were still bouncing in the away section, belting out Spirit Of The Blues on repeat with no desire to leave.

Ask anyone who has travelled to watch the Toffees in any era of living memory and they will no doubt say they have never seen anything like it. This was an unprecedented show of support from a fanbase that has already gone beyond the call of duty to mobilise its passion and do as much as anyone to drag this club to a position where Premier League survival is now eminently achievable.

The travelling Blues had endured an utterly miserable season up to this point — ever-presents had only witnessed one victory, way back in August, only three draws, no points since December and some of the most cautious, dreary and ineffective performances on the road in memory under Rafael Benitez.

Today, carrying through the terrific atmosphere that helped propel the team to a priceless win over Chelsea and the unprecedented send-off given to the players at Finch Farm yesterday, Everton’s away contingent brought their magnificent support and their voices to the King Power Stadium, out-sung the home supporters for 90-plus minutes, and witnessed a victory whose importance could be huge in the final reckoning.

On the pitch, Frank Lampard delivered his first away points since taking charge at the end of January and the players drew on more of their own resolve and desire to save themselves to get their noses in front in this match against a talented Leicester City side and then hold on to claim a deserved win.

It wasn’t perfect and it required another outstanding performance from Jordan Pickford in the second half but there was yet more evidence that Lampard has got to grips with job he inherited, the way to get the most out of the players at his disposal and the best approach to setting them out.

Today he persisted with the formation he deployed against Chelsea, one that was fairly brave given its lack of success in prior games, and though the mix-up between two of his centre-backs contributed to Leicester’s equaliser, his wing-backs, Vitalii Mykolenko and Alex Iwobi, responded with excellent displays and the team, as a whole, looked a lot more like a proper outfit — dangerous on the counter-attack rather than rabbits in the headlights, committed and effective in midfield and dogged in defence when they needed to be, even after the familiar sight of Yerry Mina departing the fray early because of injury.

Mykolenko, in particular, produced a moment of sheer magic with just five minutes on the clock to put the Toffees ahead with an audacious but sumptuous volley off Iwobi’s centre and while he was forced off by injury himself in the second half, it’s unlikely he will ever forget the moment he added the attacking output to his increasingly outstanding defensive work in recent weeks.

Everton had to survive a scare with barely two minutes on the clock, however, in a moment that, had it gone the other way, might have completely changed the direction of this contest. Patson Daka was probably sure he had opened the scoring with barely two minutes on the clock when he beat Pickford with a shot that was destined for the empty net until Mina made a goal-saving intervention by sliding across to divert the ball behind.

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Four minutes later, it was Everton who got off to the perfect start. Iwobi's cross from the right sailed invitingly to Mykolenko in space just outside the penalty area and he caught it sweetly, lasering it back across Kasper Schmeichel and inside the far post before wheeling away in unbridled celebration.

And, in a minute of play that, again, might have proved pivotal on another day, it was almost 2-0 at one end before it became 1-1 at the other. Doucouré broke forward, found Demarai Gray down the left and when he squared it, Doucouré arrived to try and guide it past Schmeichel. The Dane got an instinctive hand to it but the ball spun underneath him and was dribbling over the line via the post when he pounced on it just in time.

Unfortunately, on the Foxes’ next attack Daka capitalised on a mixup between Seamus Coleman and Yerry Mina to equalise for the home side. The Irishman needlessly collided with the Colombian as he tried to deal with a bouncing ball and Daka stole in to grab it and fire past the stranded Jordan Pickford in the 11th minute.

Mina was replaced by Michael Keane with just 18 minutes gone when he felt a twinge in his calf but alongside Mason Holgate, who insisted on playing despite illness, the substitute provided a seamless transition and the Blues reclaimed the lead on the half-hour mark. Gray's corner found Richarlison who headed goal-wards, Schmeichel parried it on the line and Mason Holgate powered in the rebound with a purposeful header.

Everton were uncomfortably open at times and nagging memories of what happened at Newcastle in February tugged at the consciousness but this time the Blues carried a constant threat on the break. Nevertheless, it was Leicester who had the only real chance for the remainder of the first half when Pickford saved low from Kelechi Iheanacho.

The pattern continued in the second period, with Jonny Evans booked for an ugly stamp on Richarlison before blocking an effort from Anthony Gordon while Nampalys Mendy forced the save of the game from Pickford.

The midfielder's bending, 25-yard shot in the 64th minute was heading for the top corner when Pickford turned it around the upright with a one-handed save at full stretch.

Mykolenko's afternoon was cut short by injury shortly afterwards but Pickford was called into action almost immediately. Daka headed the ball across goal to substitute Harvey Barnes but Pickford foiled him with a point-blank save to bundle it behind.

Barnes then unleashed a fierce drive that Pickford palmed behind and Iheanacho tried his luck from distance but the keeper was there again to gather the awkwardly-bouncing shot well

Everton had their moments on the break where they threatened to increase their lead but, typified by Iwobi's seemingly endless energy, spent the majority of the closing stages in an effective low block where they frustrated their hosts until a final whistle that was greeted with gusto by that unrivalled away contingent who milked the occasion for all it was worth.

Having started last Sunday five points adrift of safety and with many fearing the worst, Everton finished this weekend a point clear of the drop zone still with a game in hand on Burnley and Leeds United who were both beaten and lost a key player to injury and suspension respectively.

The Blues have gone from a situation that was just about in their hands a week ago to being in the driving seat now but there is no room for complacency and both the supporters and players will need to maintain their intensity until the job is done beyond doubt.

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David Bromwell
1 Posted 09/05/2022 at 07:57:18
Thank you Lyndon your opening paragraphs eloquently sum up our season so well. It seems that something has ignited our fans after years of frustration and a miserable season which seemed to be going from bad to worse.

Credit must go to the Manager who humbly has cajoled the players to produce what we all hope will be a face saving end to the season. He will know that there is an enormous amount of work to do, but the fans have shown that we weren't beaten and refused to lie down. The foundations are there and the future looks so much brighter.

But let us never forget it was the Fans who led the way and a wise Owner would ensure that they are given proper recognition and a voice in the future Management of Our Club.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 09/05/2022 at 08:58:36
I don't need to say any more. What a football weekend for me.

Favourable results, Schalke promoted back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking and their U17s won the German Youth Cup.

And of course, most importantly, a crucial victory for Everton. Onto Watford and Wednesday. We can be proud of the team and our magnificent supporters, but the job isn't done just yet. Let's carry this momentum forward.

Those scenes were special. We keep saying it, but imagine when we win something again. The football world will not know what's hit it.

When we get this season over the line, I'm feeling optimistic all over again.

Brian Harrison
3 Posted 09/05/2022 at 09:49:00
I was one of the lucky ones inside the King Power stadium, to witness probably the best support I have ever seen in all my time watching Everton. I saw them in 1966 at Wembley, I was lucky enough to have tickets for the players banquet after the Watford FA Cup win, saw all the league victories from 1962 onwards, was at Rotterdam for the Cup Winners Cup, as well as the 2 narrow escapes from relegation against Wimbledon and Coventry.

This was definitely an I was there moment, the fans started during the warm up, then carried it on during the whole of the game, but something I haven't witnessed before is they kept on singing during the half time break. The scenes at the end of the game were unforgettable. I was on a corporate jolly so I was in the main stand surrounded by Leicester fans, who to a man said well done at the end of the game. One said that was the best goalkeeping display he had ever seen, and our host for the day said I have been doing this job for a long time and I can never remember an away support like that ever.

There were a handful of Blues in the main stand who all stayed for a further 15 minutes after the game ended, nobody wanted to go home, then to everyone's surprise Frank Lampard came back on the pitch and went right over to our supporters, whatever his ability as a manger you cant question he gets what this means to the fans and they know he will do everything to make sure we stay up.

Just worth mentioning that just before that Frank came back out the seats in the directors box were completely empty except for Kenwright and his wife. I am not defending him and he is as complicit as anyone as to why we are in this mess, but whatever we think of him we cant question him that he loves this club like we all do.

i don't believe we are safe but we are in a far better position than we were a couple of weeks back, and if its down to our supporters will and determination then we defnitely wont go down.

Evertonians are Awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 09/05/2022 at 09:57:23
Stop it Brian, I'm in danger of welling up here.
Dave White
5 Posted 09/05/2022 at 10:09:23
It’s been a long time since I’ve been this proud to be an Evertonian. For all the limitations of the playing personnel our fans are proving they are top of the league. I honestly believe the support is pulling this team out of a hitherto seemingly bottomless pit leading to the championship. Everyone who was either at the King Power or Finch Farm yesterday has my respect and sincere thanks…you are the ones who are inspiring the fight we’re seeing on the pitch.

One more thing, Alex Iwobi. In terms of % improvement, surely no one has shown a more marked change. In my eyes he has gone from an over priced journeyman to a blue hero who emphasises everything about the spirit that will (hopefully) see us over the line this season. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong!

Rob Halligan
6 Posted 09/05/2022 at 10:53:19
Brian, as I said last night, it was an absolute privilege to be there yesterday, and witness the away support. When you think back to away games this season, such as Brentford and Norwich, were the feeling amongst the away fans was toxic, then yesterday was the exact polar opposite. No other fans could generate that kind of support for their team who are struggling at the bottom of the table. Long after the final whistle it was still going, and you could actually feel the terracing moving with all the bouncing up and down. Imagine what it will be like when we win something?
Bob Parrington
7 Posted 09/05/2022 at 11:47:02
Thanks Lyndon for your report. I watched the game on Optus Sport, having just got back from a 1500km drive back from Sydney. What a great performance by our team.
Even more, I have to praise the fantastic fan support. I couldn't hear a leicester fan in their own stadium, only Everton Everton. Brilliant support. Please pass on my admiration for the EVERTON FANS.

I used to be there in the 50's through the late 80's before moving over to Australia and truly understand how we were then as fans. Onward and upward!!!

Bob Parrington
8 Posted 09/05/2022 at 11:50:20
Thanks to you, travelling fans. Great support helping us to a win on the road. You guys are fantastic!
Brent Stephens
9 Posted 09/05/2022 at 11:55:20
Rob "Long after the final whistle it was still going, and you could actually feel the terracing moving with all the bouncing up and down."

Rob, I wondered if I was imagining things when I felt the ground moving beneath me at Leicester yesterday, thought maybe I was just delirious with delight. It was real. And moving in more ways than one.

T Blanshard
10 Posted 09/05/2022 at 12:59:45
Great match report Lyndon thank you. I don't often comment on here but felt I had to today because of Brian Harrison, what you said really moved me and I'm not ashamed of it, I think we are a breed apart long suffering Evertonians and yet we still know what it feels like to stick together through thick and thin. This season I have only been able to make it to five matches because my health is playing up, waiting for a diagnosis that could be life changing isn't great, however watching one of the loves of my life get that result yesterday made me forget about everything else going on completely because I was on such a high, the result and our fans make my so proud to be a chosen blue.
Christine Foster
11 Posted 09/05/2022 at 13:24:10
I remember some years back when an American company I worked for, employed a life coach to assist us in stress management. He asked us what is the one thing that has been constant in your whole life.. the same answers can thick and fast, partners, children, parents etc.. the he came to me.."Everton Football club" I said, much polite and confused laughter and sniggering followed but I explained why...
"For as long as I can remember, I knew about Everton, I grew up in a home and an area where football was the main religion, where being red or blue mattered every day and everyday someone would ask if you were red or blue. I went to my first game when I was 6 or 7, when crowds of 50,000 were common, I learnt to read and write by copying the match reports in the pink echo, I stood on the terraces on my wedding day, I took my own kids to the match as they grew up and saw the wonder in their eyes and smiled. Legacy.
Families spread and loves ones pass, but through it all was Everton. It is and will be the first and last constant in my life."
You see, some fans are fair weather supporters, searching for what I already have, the love of a life. We are born that way.
Brent Stephens
12 Posted 09/05/2022 at 13:46:04
My wife asked what was that tune you kept whistling last night? I told her it was Spirit of the Blues. She said "well, would you mind not whistling it in your sleep all night".
Peter Warren
13 Posted 09/05/2022 at 13:51:52
Proud to be an Evertonian. When’s the last time we felt that? Obviously, kudos must go to us fans (particularly away supporters) but fair dooze the manager and team - they’re really pulling through at a desperate time.

Thank goodness for Richarlison too, I don’t think anybody would prefer him to have to play with his back to goal but he’s the only one available and his work effort has been incredible.

Still very nervous times, one game at a time, let’s hope we can get the win at Watford.

Kevin Molloy
14 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:23:38
What a weekend. One of the things I've always admired about Liverpool's fans is the way they continue to take an interest in players and managers even after they have left the club.

Yesterday on Rawk, many of them were calling upon the Leicester Board to act immediately to sack Brendan Rodgers after the game. It's impressive the way they want a high standard of play not just for themselves, but for other clubs' fans.

Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:35:40
Posting all over the place here, Bren, so I'll repeat. I'll listen out for that whistle in O'Neill's on Wednesday as you will still be going!
Rob Williamson
16 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:37:50
Christine #11… wow!
Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:42:17
A man who is complicit in the mess we find ourselves would have slept a lot easier last night because of the fantastic Evertonians. If our club is to really unite, then that man Kenwright should do the honorable thing and stand down.

Beautiful, Christine, I can relate to everything you wrote, except I've never stood on the terraces on my wedding day, that wants some beating, girl!

Kevin @14, I just think they want everyone to bow down to them, and their self proclaimed superiority sickens me!

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:48:30
Danny, calling me Bren is beyond the pale! Brenda - fine. Bren - no.
Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 09/05/2022 at 14:57:03
More crisps on me then Brent (with a T)!!
David Currie
20 Posted 09/05/2022 at 19:05:38
Great to win 2 games on the bounce and so glad Burnley and Leeds both lost. This week I feel nervous as we play Watford away and they can relax as they are already down. Looks like we will be without Mina for maybe the season which is a big loss and Myko may also miss the Watford game. We have to beat Watford as Leeds are still fighting and are at home to an out of form Chelsea who play in the Cup Final 3 days from Wed. Also don't like that Spurs only get 2 days rest before playing Burnley who have all week to be ready. Come on Blues win at Watford and we can be 4 points clear, this is a huge game just wish Mina was playing for this one.
Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 09/05/2022 at 19:22:49
I’m not Keane’s biggest fan, but I thought we looked much better defensively when he came on yesterday, David.
Jay Harris
22 Posted 09/05/2022 at 19:37:21
Totally agree Tony,
Keane suits a deep defense surrounded by other players.

It is when he is asked to turn or concentrate that he has issues although Mina and Coleman did a "Michael Keane" yesterday.

Rick Tarleton
23 Posted 09/05/2022 at 19:51:03
We are now in the fortunate position where our destiny is in our own hands. Lampard hasn't exactly recreated "The School of Science", but he has created some pride and a desire to show that we will not lie down.
I hope we can survive, and that we do it by winning a couple of games, rather than by relying on Leeds or Burnley losing.

Like Christine Foster, I would regard Everton as a constant emotional force in my life since 1954. I blame Dave Hickson.

David Currie
24 Posted 09/05/2022 at 19:54:32
Tony,
Yes I agree that Keane played well yesterday, just always nervous with Keane and Holgate together. Just praying for a win at Watford but just really nervous about this week. Can we win 2 away games in 4 days? Please God let us win.
John McFarlane Snr
25 Posted 09/05/2022 at 20:36:00
Hi Christine [11],

Like yourself, I too was born into an Everton family. Grandfather born 12 July 1875 and his five sons who provided me with an education of all things Everton and the 'Beautiful Game', something that I have passed on to my children and grandchildren. You are correct when you say that the first question asked when meeting someone new was, "Are you Red or Blue?"

My wedding in March 1963 took place at 11:30 am, to fit in with whatever fixture Everton had that day, fortunately it was an FA Cup game against West Ham United at Upton Park, thus preventing a mass exodus of groom and friends.

I'm not sure when the next ToffeeWeb get-together will be, but I can promise you that your Uncle Tommy will be in my thoughts when the toast to Absent Friends is raised.

Christy Ring
27 Posted 09/05/2022 at 20:45:38
Lyndon, another great article. The fans have been unbelievable, and their passion for the club has definitely motivated the players and Frank has been a breath of fresh air.

Our fans have shown Sky, BT, BBC what's it like to be real fans, instead of listening to all the crap from the redshite pundits.

I saw Fowler on BT Friday saying we were going down, wasn't surprised to be honest they're on every TV network, so hard to listen to them, when you hear Stubbsy saying he turned off the sound during the derby, enough said.

Bernie Quinn
28 Posted 10/05/2022 at 01:16:24
I don't think I am over-emotional but, Brian and Christine, after reading your comments, the tears poured down my cheeks! I'm so proud of being an Evertonian, and I love all you wonderful Supporters.
Bill Fairfield
29 Posted 10/05/2022 at 07:29:03
Great posts from all above, the passion of our fans is overwhelming. COYB.
Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 10/05/2022 at 07:42:19
I'm a total emotional fool when it comes to Everton, Bernie, and have had watery eyes for 2 days now. I'd like to blame grass pollen but I'd be kidding myself.

See you tomorrow evening in Watford, Brenda.

Or is that just at weekends?

Brent Stephens
31 Posted 10/05/2022 at 07:57:46
Just weekends!
Bob Parrington
32 Posted 10/05/2022 at 09:15:21
Well done Bernie! There's nothing wrong with being emotional. especially when it comes to Everton and Evertonians!!

Jay. I agree. Michael Keane did play well after subbing for Mina!

Frank Thomas
33 Posted 09/05/2022 at 12:54:13
Once again a focused approach but we still needed a brilliant Pickford to win.
Iwobi has learnt how to tackle well and hopefully he will continue to improve.

I worry for the next 3 games for several reasons, first when Rondon comes on for Gray, either Richy or Delph have to come out of position to challenge the opposition leaving holes in the defence because Rondon literally walks around and quite honestly I do not think Rondon could run all the way round the outside of the pitch. We need someone fit and fast Dobbin fits the bill he cannot be worse than Rondon in that role.

Secondly Frank might be leaving the substitutions a little late most of the players are looking very tired especially Gordon and this will lead to pulled muscles.

I am still not sure of Lampard because he did not play Mykolenko or Patterson for a few games and then lost the option of playing Patterson because of injury. However he did drop both Iwobi and Holgate and both now realise they have to play for their places.

Also his 'acquired players' have shown themselves to be very poor.
Contrast that with Rafa's purchases, Mykolenko, Patterson, Gray, Townsend (he helped us beat Burnley), and he wanted to buy Diaz but we had no money (he went to the dark side and helped them in their CL quest. He also brought Gordon into the team. The only poor player was Rondon.
Maybe we should have asked Rafa to help us with our future purchases.

So for me I am still not sure of Frank as our long term manager 5 - 4 -1 is a very good defensive formation but Frank has not been using that before the last two games.
This season CL and relegation battles will be decided on the 22nd of May I think 43pts is the target this year

The really good news is that next season we could have a very good team and with a very good manager like Graham Potter we could at last qualify for the CL.

Pickford,
Patterson, Godfrey, Branthwaite, Mykolenko,
Iwobi, Doucoure, Gray, Gordon,
Dobbin, Richarlison
Subs. Broadhead, Davies, Keane,

If we sell Allan, Mina, Gomes, Kean and release Tosun, Sigurdsson, Alli, Ghazi and Gbamin we will have more than enough to offer Richalison and Nkietiah
200k per week to stay with us and join us respectively.

Paul Cherrington
34 Posted 10/05/2022 at 16:39:01
Superb win at the weekend for us and an away one at that. The fans have really played their part in our improved form - you can tell how much the reception at the Chelsea game coming into the ground and the send off at Finch Farm for Leicester meant to the players. Well done all!

Great goal from Mykolenko and nice to be the ones scoring from a set-piece. Pickford of course stood out again too and pulled off some amazing saves.

Let's hope we can put in another tough, tenacious and battling performance against Watford - mixed with some skill & goals too. I am hopeful that we will be ok this season if we beat them!

Martin Mason
35 Posted 10/05/2022 at 17:30:07
Vitaliy Mykolenko has expressed his “love” for Evertonians as he helped the club to a much-needed 3 points over Leicester City on Sunday.
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:00:01
Really nice article about our fans on ESPN.com:

https://www.espn.com/soccer/everton-engeverton/story/4661902/everton-fans-drive-premier-league-relegation-recovery-just-when-frank-lampard-needed-them-most

Rob Halligan
37 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:14:00
Was down at finch farm earlier for the send off to Watford. While there was nowhere near as many as there was last Saturday, I’d say there was still anything between 200 - 300. Don’t forget, with this being a midweek, I suppose it was inevitable there would be fewer numbers than a Saturday afternoon. Still plenty of banners, flares and someone with a cassette player booming out the Everton songs. Frank gave it the usual fist bumping with fans through the window.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/everton-fans-finch-farm-23918539

Rob Halligan
38 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:31:43
Whilst it’s always nice to get a helping hand from anyone in a relegation battle, it seems Watford have no intention of putting out a strong team tomorrow. The red echo reporting they will be missing as many as TEN players for tomorrow night. Of course, could all be mind games by Roy, but I see no reason for that, with them already gone. Maybe he wants to take Burnley or Leeds down with him…………

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/everton-watford-injury-crisis-23917199

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
39 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:47:17
Frank - 43 points! What are you on?

The last time a team went down on 40 points was 20 years ago.
At no point in the last 67 weeks of football has a team been likely to even reach 40 points.
Currently - based on last year
Burnley - who are 4 points worse than last season at the moment took 1 point from their final 3 fixtures last year and you expect them to win all 3 OR
Leeds - who are 21 points worse than last season at the moment took 4 points from their final 3 fixtures last year and you expect them to win all 3

36 or 37 will be 18th.

Rob Halligan
40 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:59:05
Phil # 39. I’ve been saying since Sunday night now, that Burnley and Leeds will finish on the number of points they have now. I cannot see either of them getting any points from their final three games. I did think Leeds may have got a point off Brighton, but Brighton are looking pretty decent at the moment, and could easily go to Elland Road and win.

Here’s hoping anyway. 🤞🤞🤞🤞

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
41 Posted 10/05/2022 at 19:10:20
Rob, wouldn't disagree but let us just win tomorrow and give them a real challenge.
Chelsea are now in a fight for CL so need 3 points.

But nothing surprises me this season. Remember the world and his wife said what a stupid decision to sack Dyche and that is Burnley down and they took 10 from 12 until last weekend.


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