After a lot of chasing around I managed to sort a ticket and joined three dozen others for the second trip to Goodison in five days. We had a good start when the coach company gave us the use of the Exeter City luxury coach as a thank you for our business over the season. Nice gesture and it certainly made the journey better with more leg room for six- footers like me!
We hit some heavy traffic once we left the motorway which probably affected some plans for pre game meet- ups and beers but plenty of time to get in situ for the real stuff.
I was dismayed to see Douc and Gomes selected together. Neither is defensive, neither is particularly creative and I did wonder if Allan and Tom for that matter are not considered match fit? I had posted earlier in the week that I’d either select Alli or send him on as an early sub with the challenge to show that he isn’t finished- more of that in a minute!
The atmosphere was rocking and we started quite well. I was just saying to myself that Palace didn’t have anything to be scared of when they scored- yet another set piece disaster. Only Yerry seems to attack the ball when it is curled into the box and we must sort this out for next season.
I could see the confidence start to drain away at this point and was not surprised when the second one went in. Pickford seemed at fault here and a couple of players looked to be placed to hack the ball away but it somehow squirmed in.
Things were looking bad. DCL was up for it and winning everything in the air with incredible leaps. He was laying the ball off well too but had no one close enough to benefit.
I had a young bloke sat next to me who was abusing our players from kick off- literally non- stop- we’ve all experienced this type of idiot before. Well he walked out after the second goal to audible sighs of relief all round and the best slap in the face for him was what he then missed!
I was wondering why we water the pitch so much before games and at half time? Frank and Rafa both said we are not so good in possession so surely watering the pitch to make the ball zip around helps the opposition more than us? Just a thought.
The sight of Dele warming up at half time was very welcome as this was never, in my opinion going to be a game for Gomes and he had contributed nothing in his 50 minutes or so on the pitch. I do feel for him with his appalling injury but he is too slow and gives away too many fouls to be of future use to us.
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Iwobi had given a good amount of himself in the first half ( when did he learn to tackle?) but Frank now moved him forward and together with Ali he ran the midfield in the second half. He was strong, fast, aggressive and progressive and really looks a player now.
The first goal was a beauty with lovely control and shot from Keane who, together with Mason was solid all evening and they won pretty much everything in the air apart from the first goal!
At this point I had hope of a second and Richi obliged. He seems to have a knack of mishitting shots which still squeeze in and such was the case here.
Then enter DCL. I’ve always been a big fan though he does get his share of stick on this site, but what a goal he scored. He dived full length putting let’s be honest, his extremely pretty face right in the thick of flying boots and absolutely thundered a header past Butland. His modelling career could have gone up in blue smoke at that point but he didn’t hesitate and the scenes which followed were such that I have never experienced anything like it in 59 years of going to Goodison. This is a different kind of elation to winning a title or a cup.
What we all experienced with this is relief, elation, a release of all those weeks and months of lying awake at night fretting about whether Frank is up to it, whether the players are up to it and whether other teams will help us out. This is a different emotion to winning a cup and the Everton supporters should be etched into the history of this marvellous old club for having literally dragged the team , home and away, to safety.
Without them there is no way we would not now be relegated and our owner and board should be paying due tribute to the incredible efforts of the supporters. Those who go home and away, week after week without allowing their disappointment at dreadful performances stop them from supporting their club. I’m not talking about myself as I don’t get to many games, but the die-hards who refuse to give up- it is down to them more than anyone that we have got out of this.
Back to the game and there was the fear that there would be a sting in the tail with a Palace equaliser but we managed added time very well and the scenes at the end really had to be seen and heard to be believed.
Back home at 4.15am- some on the coach would be even later- and my thanks to Ron,Mike,John,Ian and the rest of the West Country Blues committee for all of their hard work during the season.
Next season is scary- there has to be a big clear out, Dom and Richi may be sacrificed to give Frank some funds as might Mina and Pickford. We need to bring in athletes and youngsters with strength and real pace. It can be difficult getting new players to gel and Frank needs to keep a nucleus of current players. The young lad at right back will come through and left back is sorted. We need at least one, maybe two CBs and a tough defensive midfielder. Strange though it would have sounded a few months ago Iwobi could be a crucial player now and Ali has shown that he can still play.
Summer will be interesting and I think Frank is the man. He has made mistakes but it takes time to get to know players and some clearly perform in training but not in an actual game. Injuries haven’t helped him either but now he has the chance to build his own team and we must let him.
Pickford - flappy wit the second goal but a few good saves too- 7
Seamus- a bit in and out-6
Mason - solid 7
Keane - solid and great goal 7
Mykolenko - not great re first goal- 6
Gomes - shouldn’t have played-4
Douc - game of two halves-6
Gordon - no end product but did well-6
Iwobi - outstanding effort- 10
Richi - such a hard worker-7
DCL - magnificent effort and goal-9
Dele- he’s still got it 8
Gray- I like him- good player-7
Frank - what on earth did he say to them at half time? Didn’t like his selection but he was brave and it paid off - 9
Reader Comments (12)
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1 Posted 20/05/2022 at 15:03:03
For me, it has to go to Richarlison for his never-say-die attitude and effort in every game, his iconic picture with the blue flare – and of course his goals!
2 Posted 20/05/2022 at 19:22:33
3 Posted 20/05/2022 at 20:27:56
I was smiling about your luxury coach comments. When I used to follow the Blues away from home, an 'executive' coach usually equated to a normal coach with an upgrade of a toilet that was usually closed. I hope things have changed for the better since then!
4 Posted 20/05/2022 at 20:34:45
Watching Townshend at the end trying to run down the pitch on one leg and near falling over, shows what it meant to him and the scenes in the changing room after – you can't buy that...
We need to use this as a platform for next season. COYB
5 Posted 20/05/2022 at 20:54:19
It was Bayern Munich times ten imo, but nowhere near as good if that makes sense? Munich was about watching a great football team doing what they did best, whilst yesterday was about watching a poor football team, getting dragged over the line by arguably the finest support I have ever witnessed in my life.
If every single Evertonian made me proud, then I thought the younger generation, took our support up to an even higher level of fanaticism, but yesterday was definitely more about relief, and although it was joyful, real joy only comes with winning trophies, so now its hopefully going to be time to say goodbye, to Moshiri and the jinx.
6 Posted 20/05/2022 at 21:18:27
But to your point and like I've been saying all season home and away, it's those young blues that I have the utmost respect for.
It was easy for me as a teenager. These kids have been feeding off scraps of hope and tales of old. But they keep coming and believe and watching them last night made me cry with pride.
This club needs to repay that belief. Our commitment may be unquestioned, but it also has to be earned. Its a 2-way relationship.
Sorry, still very emotional.
7 Posted 20/05/2022 at 21:19:50
I was in FE3 and had an angry young lad sat next to me who did exactly the same – walked out at 0-2 :-)
8 Posted 20/05/2022 at 21:29:31
Main stand row NN seat 80.
9 Posted 20/05/2022 at 00:08:56
10 Posted 21/05/2022 at 02:12:22
I am thinking about next season now, Richarlison will go in the summer, probably DCL as well which doesn't leave us with much.
Tosun, Sigurdsson, Delph contracts are up in June and all need to go.
We need to get rid Gomes, Gbamin, Rondon too.
I am worried for next season as we urgently need to find some quality to replace Richy and DCL.
I think we will struggle next season too and it will take a year or two to get us back being competitive.
Do we trust anyone to spend wisely ?
11 Posted 21/05/2022 at 02:40:58
12 Posted 23/05/2022 at 21:54:41
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