After a 7pm Sunday kick-off and then a couple of away games on the spin, all of which culminated in defeat, it was nice to get back to Goodison Park for a 3pm Saturday kick-off. We don’t know how many, and won’t until as and when the TV Gods decide, but I suppose there can’t be many 3pm Saturday matches left at Goodison Park. There aren’t even many Goodison Park games left.

So we'd better enjoy it while we can… and that we did. The pre-match pub was fun. We managed to get on one of the seats usually occupied by one of the locals, and thus a good view of the screen, which made for great viewing when Liverpool succumbed to defeat at Nottingham Forest in the early kick-off match.

Into Goodison Park and we were in our seats in the Gwladys Street in time for kick-off. Despite many fans wanting to see changes to the team that lost at St James’s Park midweek, I didn’t see Frank changing it much. It turns out he didn’t at all. I’m glad he’s sticking to his principles, this is going to take time.

Gary usually stands to my left though, as he was unable to make it, somebody had bought it from him on the resale platform, but the gentleman's etiquette was very questionable at best.

He was pretty tall and stood with feet and shins pressed as far forward against the seat in front of him as was humanly possible. And as pretty much everyone in the Gwladys Street stands throughout, he also managed to lose position, and somehow seemingly oblivious to my presence, was stood directly in front of me, occupying about half of my area.

I tried to just put up with it, until I tired of having to swing my head around a human standing directly in front of me that I had to ask him to move. I think the moment when I looked around me and saw that nobody else was having any similar problems was the real “sod this” moment. Anyway, no real harm done, but I’ll be glad to see Gary back for the next game!

Everton began well, though so too did Crystal Palace, in what was quite an even start with both teams probing. It was noticeable that Alex Iwobi was instructed to press high up the pitch, almost as a second striker early in the game, and actually throughout the first half at a minimum. Our intensity perhaps surprised the Eagles a little bit and might have knocked them off their stride somewhat.

Before Dominic Calvert-Lewin found the net on 11 minutes, we had already completed our first shot in target for a few games when Demarai Gray’s edge-of-the-box drive was comfortably saved by Vicente Guaita.

However, just a few minutes later, we were ahead when Alex Iwobi slipped a ball through to Dominic Calvert-Lewin who took a good first touch, showed good strength to palm off Marc Guehi, and drove low past Guiata to put Everton ahead.

From the TV replays, it looks to me like Guiata had little chance of saving, though being in line with it behind the goal, I’d say he’ll be disappointed not to have saved it. But let's not dwell on that. Everton were ahead and all suddenly felt rosy in the garden.

Everton continued to show good hustle all over the pitch and made life difficult for Crystal Palace. I feel that, the more the midfield three play together, the more we will get that.

In their last two matches, Crystal Palace have come from behind to win them both 2-1, so I anticipated a performance uptick from them, and sure enough, they came back stronger in the second half.

Though Everton stuck to their plan resiliently, personified largely by a quite outstanding and determined performance from James Tarkowski. He made countless excellent challenges and interceptions and was up for the fight throughout. He also defended his team mates when faced with hostility from Crystal Palace players. He’s a quality centre-back, the best we’ve had since Phil Jagielka.

And as we held firm at the back, almost inviting Crystal Palace forward, we were then able to pick them off with a quite majestic second goal.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned when, under pressure, Connor Coady played what looked like a risky pass back to Jordan Pickford, but he passed sharply out to Seamus Coleman, who was outstanding all game and played Wilfred Zaha superbly, and Everton were able to bring possession forward from there.

I hadn’t realised at the time that this had lead straight to our second goal, it felt like it took longer at the time and it was only when I saw it later on social media that I realised it was the same attack in which Anthony Gordon eventually tapped the ball into the empty net. But it's only when you watch it back do you realise what a fabulous team goal it was, and the only shame is that it wasn’t finished off in style by Vitalii Mykolenko, but that matters not.

Of course, our celebrations were halted by a very poor offside call. We had to wait a while to find out that Antony’s goal was valid, though could all celebrate when referee Simon Hooper did the imaginary rectangle motion and signalled for the goal.

A freeze frame of the goal was then shown on the big screens which really demonstrated what a terrible offside call it was, as Anthony was well onside. And while this drew some ire from the supporters, I suppose you would say that this is exactly what VAR should be for - to rid the howlers, not to draw squiggly lines on a screen to find someone's dreadlock is offside and the goal is disallowed.

Speaking of officials, Simon Hooper made few friends on the day, the most baffling decision being when at one end, Everton had possession but, with Connor Coady and Luka Milivojevic both down with head injuries, Hooper rightly stopped play. At the restart, Crystal Palace were given the drop ball instead of Everton!

And then at the other end, a similar thing happened involving Vitalii Mykolenko and Joachim Andersen, though this time Crystal Palace were again allowed to restart. It was all a bit baffling.

Though it seemed the Everton players felt more wronged by Simon Hooper when he failed to take any action on Joachim Andersen when he pole-axed Dominic, in what really should have been a caution.

I don’t want to lump on the referee, I feel you have to encourage them a bit, particularly newer unknown ones. I would say that otherwise, he did let the game flow relatively well, which helped keep the contest a good one.

Though it was still only 2-0 with 30 minutes to play, you felt the game was done and dusted (yes, we should know better) and the crowd went into party mode. “I wonder how long it’ll take for everyone to start singing ‘I’ve never felt more like singing the Blues’?” posed Ste. Not long, was the answer.

Frank made a few changes to give James Garner, Neal Maupay and Dwight McNeil game time and give Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Demarai Gray and Amadou Onana a rest. It was fantastic to see them also contribute, with Dwight doing well to get on the scoresheet with a brilliant move which involved an Alex Iwobi back eel to tee up Dwight who slotted home.

3-0, and what an excellent performance capped off with a couple of great team goals. We then even had the luxury of giving Tom Davies and Abdoulaye Doucoure some minutes.

This helped us see the game out nicely, and a couple of bursts from Crystal Palace substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta were about all they could muster. I was convinced Crystal Palace were to grab what would have been an annoying consolation at the death with a free kick, but Eberechi Eze put it comfortably over the crossbar.

We went home delighted. “I’ve never felt more like singing the Blues” won’t play on the tannoy too many more times at Goodison Park. You’ve got to treasure these moments.

Player ratings

Jordan Pickford: Not much to do but his distribution was top drawer. 7

Vitalii Mykolenko: He defended well as ever. Finishing that goal himself would have done him the world of good but an assist will do I suppose. He had a good game. 7

James Tarkowski: He’s an exceptional centre-back. It was notable that Gareth Southgate was watching on, and he could certainly do a lot worse than James given the form of Tyrone Mings and Harry Maguire. Especially as he can play alongside Connor Coady. A performance full of leadership. Our signing of the Summer for me. My Man of the Match. 9

Conor Coady: Also kept the ship steady. 7

Seamus Coleman: Talk about rolling back the years. What a stellar performance by our captain. He handled Wilfred Zaha expertly, and few would have expected that. It's safe to say that Nathan Patterson might not necessarily get straight back in the team, which is quite the compliment to our veteran skipper. Well done Seamus, fantastic. 8

Idrissa Gueye: He’s still having one brain-lapse a game, though thankfully it wasn’t a costly one this time. I wish he could nip that in the bud. Otherwise, however, Idrissa was great, and was even able to put his feet up for the last 10 minutes or so. 7

Amadou Onana: He still needs time and is getting there, and we have to be prepared to tolerate his lapses. 6

Alex Iwobi: Another exceptional effort from Alex Iwobi with two very good assists. It's good to see him back to his best after a couple of quieter performances. 8

Demarai Gray: Frustrates at times but he certainly puts a shift in and made a good contribution. 7

Anthony Gordon: He played well. Got a lot balls into the box, was fierce in his play and got on the scoresheet of course. And no yellow card! You can’t ask for more than that. 8

Dominic Calvert-Lewin: He’s come back strongly and is really demonstrating what we have missed. He scored a well-taken goal and gave Crystal Palace something to think about throughout. Well done Dominic. 8

Dwight McNeil (for Demarai Gray): He scored a good goal and showed good use of possession and willingness to win it back. A good substitute's performance. 7

Neal Maupay (for Dominic Calvert-Lewin): Got involved. 6

James Garner (for Amadou Onana): It was good to get a look at him without him being thrown on to try and help us save a game. He looks like he’ll be handy given time. He’s composed on the ball and uses it sensibly. Nice to see him take one for the team by tracking back and fouling the attacker and taking a yellow card to help preserve the clean sheet. 6

Tom Davies (for Idrissa Gueye): Good to see him get on the pitch. He got involved well in the short time. 6

Abdoulaye Doucoure (for Anthony Gordon): Also did okay. 6

Reader Comments (13)

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Billy Bradshaw
1 Posted 23/10/2022 at 19:08:29
Paul, talk about obstruction next to you, the bloke who usually sits to the right of me in my seat in the main stand has not been able to make it to the last couple of games because of illness. He too has sold his ticket on the resale platform.

This week, it had turned five past three with nobody in their seats, then coming along the row, everyone getting up to let this really big man into his seat next to me. He is carrying a white plastic takeaway bag, sits himself down next to me, no disrespect to anyone but he was really overweight

As he sat down, I was literally squeezed up four inches to the left of me, then he decides to open the take away pulls out a large yellow polystyrene tray full to the brim of donna meat and chips.

I can only usually take to the smell of donna meat after five or six pints; since I had not had a drink before the game, the smell was really strong. It seemed to take him ages to eat it, licking every finger along the way, he even managed to keep it intact during the first goal celebration.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 23/10/2022 at 20:05:18
I don't don't dispute any of the reviews. Tarkowski was immense and we will be more in the face of the opposition than they will be in ours, Paul.

On obstruction, at my last home game in the Upper Gwladys, I had a front-row seat. Right behind a post. I had to keep looking left and right to see the game.

Second half, the lad a seat one next to me invited me to move across one seat and sit next to him. Perfect view.

Apparently the guy whose seat it was, a season ticket holder, only watches the first half and then stays on the concourse with a couple of mates for the second half.

Whoever you are, thank you!!

Steve Shave
3 Posted 23/10/2022 at 20:33:40
6 for Onana? He was at least an 8.
David Currie
4 Posted 23/10/2022 at 21:04:47
Billy 1, Was that Kenwright next to you with the takeaway? Bet he did not offer you a Chip?
Darryl Ritchie
5 Posted 24/10/2022 at 03:30:03
I totally agree with the criticism of the ref. His lack of control, allowed an already chippy match to almost explode. Too many non calls, too many questionable calls.

I applaud the Toffees self control. It turned into a bonding session, as the squad took turns standing up for each other.

Paul Traill
6 Posted 24/10/2022 at 06:01:57
Steve #3 - there were a few occasions when I thought he was a bit too casual, though having watched the highlights back, you're right, he did make a lot of tackles and had good involvement and energy for our second goal. Let's compromise on a 7 😁.
Martin Reppion
7 Posted 24/10/2022 at 10:27:38
The standard of refereeing is not getting any better. Partly I think down to the directive to 'let the game flow'. I think that refs are now being more forgiving of the sly dig and the barge off the ball.

Whilst I accept that this is good and allows a bit of a return to what we oldies can remember from the halcyon days.

It has also allowed the next stage, the late tackles and over-aggressive leaps at players, to be dealt with by a ticking off rather than a booking. Last season, the same game would not have been without a red card or two.

I also believe that, if we had been playing one of the Sky 'Bg 6', then Calvert-Lewin's opening goal would have been overturned by the VAR.

Having said that, there were a couple of similar clashes this weekend in other games which were allowed to go on.

Ian Hollingworth
8 Posted 25/10/2022 at 14:24:42
Worst obstruction in the ground is the very top corner of the top balcony at the Park End side. You literally cannot see the Park end goal or anything to the right of it as you are looking down onto the Park end roof.

Don't worry though – Everton give a whole one-pound discount for that privilege, lol.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 25/10/2022 at 15:50:42
Ian #8 "Worst obstruction in the ground is..." - I can think of a certain name to add to that!
Dale Self
10 Posted 26/10/2022 at 18:22:02
Take some chalk and mark off the area, Paul. Let him know you've got a couple of cards in your pocket as well.
Will Mabon
11 Posted 26/10/2022 at 18:53:16
Told me something new there, Ian. I didn't know there were seats from which you can't see a whole goal structure! I'm guessing that happened as a result of the new Park End stand roof?

I'm surprised they sell them – and that people buy them. You really would be better watching live on screen.

It's a nice change of view from the Top Balcony, on the maybe dozen or so total times I've sat there.

Paul Birmingham
12 Posted 26/10/2022 at 20:00:29
The “Executive Box”, at the back row of the lower Tier of the Street, one-third in from the Bullens Road, is a joy to behold.

Similar to the Lower Bullens, in view, but the atmosphere compensates, and is handy for the kiosk, and toilets.

The charms of Goodison Park, will never be beaten, but onwards, Everton to a new era and a better stadium, at BMD.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
13 Posted 27/10/2022 at 18:12:31
Back Row of Gwladys Stand. So low (or it used to be) that you could not see the goal at the Park End.

Memories from 1963, Fulham at home. "Have we won something, Dad? When are we going home?"

Is it still the same or is it a new angle for the roof?

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