Everton 1 - 0 Brentford

I was fortunate enough to be invited into the Dixie Dean Suite for this one and, while my better half spent most of the morning whizzing through the house chores, I was excitedly moving around the house being rather useless, quite frankly.

We arrived at Goodison Park a little before midday and, after nipping into the club shop to get a few gifts for others, we were into the lounge and at the table… later joined by my friend who invited us along, and a couple of really good-natured Brentford supporters. It was great company throughout as the beer flowed. And we were in the slightly surreal situation of wanting Liverpool to win a game against our relegation rivals Bournemouth. Which of course they lost. It’s as if they did it on purpose.

Our seats were fabulous, really top drawer and as good a view of a game as you’ll get. Peter Reid was sat not too far in front of us with presumably his brother, Gareth Southgate also. It was awesome to hear the sirens before Z-Cars, I’d actually forgotten that existed! And there was a real buzz around Goodison Park as we zoned in on kick-off...

And we were up on our feet in no time at all, within 35 seconds in fact. Alex Iwobi played a cute little ball in to Abdoulaye Doucoure who at first mis-controlled, but still had the presence of mind to make something of it and played a good ball out to Dwight McNeil, who drove forward aggressively before hitting accurately into the corner. I remember looking at Katja as we celebrated, and then looked to my right where the two Brentford supporters were sat. I won’t forget in a hurry the glare one of them gave me as our eyes met.

The first half was excellent, for Everton at least. Very entertaining. Behind us sat three fellas who were chatting away enthusiastically throughout the game. But we couldn’t for the life of us make out the language. They would speak in this obscure language and then every so often would throw in some English words. “Yada yada yada …that’s a goal kick” sort of stuff.

I know the Dutch and the Germans for example will often throw in a bit of English into conversations so I thought they were perhaps Danish or Norwegian maybe, as the Scandinavians typically speak very good English. Curiosity got the better of Katja in the end so she asked what language they were speaking. “Welsh” was the reply. I obviously didn’t pick up too much of it when watching Sgorio on S4C back in the day.

Article continues below video content

It was great to see Everton get forward and press with aggression and create opportunities, and we certainly should have headed into the break more than the solitary goal ahead. We created several openings in the half and another one should have gone in at some point. Amadou Onana skied perhaps the most presentable one.

Alhough we did have the ball in the net again before half-time and had long since finished celebrating Gana's goal before it was chalked off for offside. Was it handball? Well having slowed it down and scrutinised from several angles, it looks like it might have maybe hit his hand but you can’t be certain. A clear and obvious error? Really?

It was very cold out there and so a nice pint of Guinness at half-time was welcome as we warmed up back at the table.

At half-time, I was saying how nervous I was given that we’d passed up some great chances in the first half. And with the way the second half went, my trepidation was vindicated as Everton basically set up to defend throughout. Brentford were always going to improve as they were poor in the first half and are a good side. Credit to the team, particularly the defenders who ground out a crucial win.

James Tarowski and Michael Keane were incredible at the back. Jordan Pickford made a very good save early doors. Dwight McNeil cleared one off the line, it was a real team effort while the Evertonians howled them on.

I known Sean Dyche prefers to stick with the XI which take the field as much as possible and never has made a lot of substitutions as a manger, though despite this, I was surprised he waited until the 80th minute to make a change in this game. The pitch was very, very heavy, the lads had put a heck of a shift in and some freshness was required sooner in my view. Still, they got over the line, and Goodison Park breathed one big, collective sigh of relief when Brentford goalkeeper David Raya put his free header wide deep into injury time.

A word on Brentford – I've got to say I'm a big fan. They are getting a lot of plaudits for the way they are operating as a club, of course, and I do admire that. I like their manager, they have good supporters and they are an efficient team. But what impressed me most watching them yesterday is that they are fair game. You don't get much of this play-acting and players trying to get other players in trouble. They help opposing players to their feet and have respect. I've got a lot of time for what Thomas Frank is doing there.

Back in the DIxie Dean Suite, after the match, Neil Pointon, looking very dapper, made a guest appearance and spoke very glowingly about his time at Everton and was complimentary about the shift the lads had just put into this game, referencing Ben Godfrey for particular praise. He’d been sitting at a table catching up with Kevin Sheedy.

Once we’d had a few more celebratory drinks and a little more food, we were on our way and saying our farewells. Katja and I went across the road to The Winslow for a pint before heading home and in walked Kevin Sheedy to a lovely welcome from surprised Evertonians. I was able to quickly ask “Do you think we’ll stay up, Kevin?”

“Well put it this way, I feel a lot better about it after today” was about as committal as he could offer.

A great day. A great team effort. And great company.

My Man of the Match: Michael Keane

Reader Comments (12)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer ()

Andy Crooks
1 Posted 12/03/2023 at 21:59:03
Brilliant, Paul. Sounds like a cracking day. Thanks.
Peter Mills
2 Posted 12/03/2023 at 22:20:55
If Carlsberg did days out!
John Raftery
3 Posted 12/03/2023 at 22:53:59
Thanks for the report, Paul. I think this was the first time the Bellew siren has been played for a while. It reached 95 decibels in the Park End.

Your praise for Brentford is well merited. Their playing style and approach to the game was impressive. They have a strong squad and very much looked like a top-half-of-the-table team. That makes our team's achievement in beating them all the more creditable.

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 12/03/2023 at 23:15:49
I chatted with a few Brentford fans on the way home, Paul. They are enjoying footballing life right now and rightfully so.

You only went and mentioned Kevin Sheedy.

Now I'll have to put Howard's Way on with the dogs and then almost cry at that Colin Harvey scene!!

Great summary of the matchday experience, as always.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 13/03/2023 at 06:35:16
We've given ourselves a little bit more breathing space but the task is far from complete.

We are still only 3 points off the bottom of the table, believe it or not, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs the next three games, so lots of work still required before we can start to free ourselves from that pack.

Dyche has at least put some toughness to the Goodison record, four games, four granite displays, can't argue with that, we knew we wouldn't be scoring many goals, we haven't done all season. That's something we need to address in summer regardless of the division we are in.

Mark Murphy
6 Posted 13/03/2023 at 08:05:15
Peter Mills - wash your mouth out with soap! C@rlseffingberg??? Forever tainted by that shower!

But I understand your meaning - sounds like the perfect day for a blue Paul - as they say on Early Doors - To the regiment - I wish I was there!

I'm at Chelsea on Saturday - what's the chances of a rare celebratory pint afterwards in the White Horse? UTFT!

Ray Jacques
7 Posted 13/03/2023 at 12:48:11
Lovely article, enjoyed reading it.
Mick Davies
8 Posted 13/03/2023 at 13:30:21
I agree about Brentford and their manager: a really decent club, up there amongst the Sky scum, and doing it in a decent fashion. Thomas Frank even congratulated Everton straight after the game, which most managers, still hot from the battle, would never think to do.

By the way, the disallowed goal was by Gray, and it was one of the most dubious and manufactured decisions the bent officials have made up to now.

Ian Hollingworth
9 Posted 13/03/2023 at 19:38:37
Cracking article that and very uplifting. Hopefully we are all daring to start feeling a little bit more upbeat about our beloved blues.

Sheeds pops in the Winslow quite often and he even gave a speech towards the end of last season, encouraging us all that we would stay up.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 13/03/2023 at 20:35:20
Great article, Paul.

I always look forward to your accounts of your day and what a bonus seeing those former players.

What about your player ratings??

Christy Ring
11 Posted 13/03/2023 at 21:13:28
Great article Paul, you were in great company, and 3pts how could you not enjoying it. I remember Sheedy doing a great job with the u18's, passing on his skill, but in my opinion he was his own man, and didn't fit into the click, and shortly after took a job offer in Saudi Arabia, if I'm not mistaken and Reid another man who wasn't wanted, always said it as it is, unlike Sharp.
Francis van Lierop
12 Posted 14/03/2023 at 16:30:27
Great stuff.

Good to hear Kevin Sheedy is still around.
I don't know the details of why he left, but he's the one who should be having a big say at Finch Farm.
One of the best we've ever had!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb