Everton 2 - 0

A later start than I planned. It was made worse by the Police presence around Euston, which further held things up. Officers at Euston Square doing checks and the amount of Police vans at the usual bus stop outside the main station was quite a sight. I stopped and chatted to a few Police Officers and told them it was unnecessary as I was only travelling to Liverpool to watch Everton. They smiled and we had a chat.

Apparently, it was to do with the FA Cup Semi Final. I hadn’t taken much notice of it as my focus was elsewhere. But I imagine there would have been thousands of Manchester United and Coventry City supporters disembarking at Euston. I was going the other way. Maybe next season I told them. We shook hands and I moved on as time was pressing.

As is usual right now, train issues. Engineering work and a slow drag out of the capital. I was in danger of not making the first half. But, once we got past Milton Keynes, to the driver’s credit, he put his foot on the accelerator, if that’s a thing with trains. It made it a bumpy ride, but credit to him, we made time up and I was only 10 minutes late getting into the ground.

My seat was occupied, by someone else, but I couldn’t be bothered disputing. I was able to sit next to great company in the Upper Gwladys courtesy of an unoccupied seat and was invited to sit next to the person I watched the match with. A fantastic unobstructed view and good people.

The pitch looked brilliant. The groundsmen do a great job making it look like a snooker table or bowling green. Take your pick. Then again, the first time I walked into Goodison as a young lad, I was mesmerised by that pitch as much as I am now.

Branthwaite and Tarkowski were rocks as always. Mykolenko’s delivery led to the first goal. I am a big admirer. He might not be spectacular, but he is steady, focussed and committed. You will always get 100% from that lad.

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As the ball fell to Idrissa, many around me were screaming “don’t shoot, lay it off”. Well, he did shoot and it was a belter right into the corner! Some will cite his age, but we’ve missed him and need him on the pitch. He allows other players to play whilst he does the dog work. And he’s not finished yet.

I’m enjoying watching McNeil in his more central roaming role. What a strike, to secure the points. It always looks better when it comes off the post! I sat there with my hands on my face in pure emotional relief until the person next to me told me to stand up. I obliged!!!

Pickford was very assuring and claimed a lot of balls. Commanding his area, which has been a criticism of him.

Take something off them midweek, beat Brentford and Luton and we’re okay. We are going to be okay.

9 minutes added time made it nervous and then Beto gets clattered. There was genuine concern as he was completely still and not moving. The medical staff ran on (I think from both teams) and took a long time to treat him before finally getting him on a stretcher and moving him towards the gap between the Park End and Bullens, which meant he was on an ambulance and off to hospital. I hope he’s okay. Not every Evertonian’s favourite, but he is brave and still young.

Sean Dyche even ditched his funeral-like attire for a tracksuit. Please keep doing that.

Once again, man of the Everton match has to go to Branthwaite. I keep repeating myself, he defies his young years. I hope we keep him for at least a season.

I made my usual walk to my Grandad’s old local, the “world famous” Arkles (cringe). As always, I suggested  to the bar staff that they should take those scarfs down. They are used to me now and just smile! Surprisingly no away supporters, so I had to make do with sitting with Liverpool supporters as their match kicked off. Healthy banter about Wednesday and then joined by their Evertonian mate who had also been to the match, so I had back up!!

We can do this, Blues. That was a huge pick-up after Monday and we are definitely in the game. Keep fighting. We take them on Wednesday.

Show spirit.

Reader Comments (22)

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Andy McShane
1 Posted 22/04/2024 at 22:27:51
Danny, I am consistently impressed by your enthusiasm and passion for the Blues. Despite some of the best efforts by the team and our club at times to knock all of the optimism and fighting spirit out of us, you always have a positive outlook which makes reading your posts and articles a pleasure.

As a season ticket holder in Norfolk, I usually have a 5-hour drive to look forward to after the match but it is nothing like the travel traumas you (and many other away supporting Blues) endure giving your utmost to the club.

Keep up the tremendous spirit and sprinkle a bit of your energy onto the team for Wednesday night. I'm looking forward to a 2-1 win after a long drive.

Neil Copeland
2 Posted 22/04/2024 at 22:55:25
Danny, a good read as always, thanks. Tarkowski has been brilliant for us this season but there was a moment in the second half when he elected to play it out of defence when all he had to do was head it. I gave him a bollocking from the Top Balcony! Safety first!

The team has shown a lot of character this season, to come back from the mauling on Monday to get 3 priceless points is very commendable.

On to Wednesday, we owe the gobshites one (well overdue at Goodison), keep it tight and you never know.

All the reports are indicating that Beto is okay, btw.

Andy, top respect to you sir, that is a true dedication.

Paul Kossoff
3 Posted 22/04/2024 at 23:33:33
Danny, I always enjoy your reports and as I've previously said, you and all the away fans deserve a medal, pinned on you at Bramley-Moore Dock stadium next season in the Premier League.
Jack Convery
4 Posted 23/04/2024 at 02:29:52
Keep the reports coming, Danny. I always enjoy reading them.
Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 23/04/2024 at 04:16:53
Off topic but I see Fabio Cappello is saying Pickford will cost England the Euros.

Sorry, Danny, nowhere else to mention this but back to the topic: kick dog, wife and Villa, love Everton etc.

Chris Leyland
6 Posted 23/04/2024 at 06:31:38
Kieran, to be fair to Capello, costing England tournaments is something he knows a lot about.
Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 23/04/2024 at 07:33:42
Andy, travelling from Norfolk, you get total respect.

You put the miles in. For us exiles, every home game is an away day.

Then you have Rob and the gang and many others, who make the away trips and don't get back to Liverpool until the early hours.

Norfolk to Liverpool, the last time I did that was a return trip on a coach and it took an eternity. But we had clinched the league title!

Even from where I now live in West London, Norwich is a deceivingly long trip.

Safe travels Andy.

Let's go and take the fight to the Devil Incarnate tomorrow night and give Klopp a send-off.

Dave Cashen
8 Posted 23/04/2024 at 09:51:51
Of course we can do this, Danny. I'm looking forward to the double Whammy on Wednesday.

So glad you got to a seat in time to see the first goal.

Let's hope these long-range Gana strikes turn out to be a bit like buses…

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:03:05
Danny, I'm glad you mentioned Dwight McNeil, not for just his goal but the way he keeps hold of the ball and looks to try and bring his teammates into the game.

He takes an awful lot of stick on here but he runs his legs off in every game. He has had some poor games recently, apart from Branthwaite who hasn't, but has kept going. He wasn't great on Sunday but he played his part in helping to get these precious points which, let's be absolutely honest, we are desperate for and we got them and deserved them on Sunday.

Andy (1), Another long-distance Everton fan, I take my hat off to all travelling Everton fans home and away and you are added to the list. Are you originally from Liverpool?

I don't think you are a regular poster but fans like yourself always make me realise how lucky I am watching the Blues at home, five bus stops away from Goodison Park, while fans like you are up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the long-distance drive to Goodison and also the fans who get to all the away matches.

Brilliant, well done and keep those posts coming Danny O'Neill another very constant traveller.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:17:16

I have said for a long time I would love to see Dwight McNeil in the No 10 role, playing him out wide restricts the impact he has on games. He hasn't the pace to play wide as he very rarely takes on his full-back, and most of his goals have come when he has picked the ball up in a more central position.

He has a cracking shot on him and we just need to get him more centrally so we can benefit from that. I also think he has good feet and can create room and space for others if he played more central.

Christine Foster
11 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:24:23
Great post, Danny, always look for them, it's been a positive oasis in a desert of pain...

One thing never left me despite my distance it was the pure mesmerizing thrill of going to my seat in the stands and gazing over the pitch, the crowd, the buzz... it's truly eye-watering stuff.

Hats off to you and all of the 3,000 who, come hail or shine, no matter where or when, somehow manage to get to the game. I'm so proud of you all.

We will do this... well-in, Danny, and thank you!

Christine Foster
12 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:33:19
It seems pretty clear that we may well only have your Chermiti up front for his full debut tomorrow, what a way to mark it against the other lot… knock in the winner and he will be immortalized!

Doubt Calvert-Lewin will make it, Beto will probably miss a couple of games... so... no pressure on you lad... go out and show us what you can do!

Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:49:27
Like you, Christine, I've travelled all over the globe, but always looked for Everton's results, be that in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Australia or the US.

They never leave you. It's a birth right. I've never known anything different!

Apologies, going into derby mode.

Sam Hoare
14 Posted 23/04/2024 at 10:52:44
McNeil has played in the No 10 spot before, if not for the whole match then definitely for periods. I remember being excited at the possibility and disappointed in the outcome.

He definitely has a good shot on him and reasonably quick feet, awareness. But he's extremely one-footed and his short passing isn't always amazing. I also remember him getting dispossessed as he's not always the quickest to see and execute things.

Not to say that he couldn't succeed if given more time there but there's definitely things for him to improve upon.

I don't expect we'll see a huge amount of tinkering from Dyche in the final run-in. If both Calvert-Lewin and Beto are out for Wednesday, then he may be tempted to try Danjuma in the central spot as he has had some joy there in the past for other clubs. I'd be curious to see Chermiti too though, looks like he has some useful qualities.

Gerry Quinn
15 Posted 23/04/2024 at 11:47:59
Being in the Navy from 1972 to 1986, it was extremely difficult to follow Everton from such distances, especially the Falklands... but we managed to get the radio score and match summary now and again.

Much better than nowadays where I daren't even tune in to a match live – panic sets in before a ball is even kicked! :)

John Hall
16 Posted 23/04/2024 at 11:50:12
Be interesting to give Dwight a free role behind the striker against the red shite.

Can bomb on and beat a man rather than being isolated on the flanks. Has a wand of a left foot who normally works his socks off and can get up and down with his great engine.

The lad has been through a lot this season with both injuries and personal problems to deal with so great to see him score against the whiners of NFFC.

Not sure about right back but for me Garner takes that slot with Onana back in front of the back four alongside Gueye.

Gomez, Harrison and Doucoure to share midfield responsibilities and DCL hopefully up front.

Hope we can give Klikerty Klopp an unhappy send off and glad to never have to see his antics in future Derby games.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 23/04/2024 at 12:34:44
I can resonate with that, Gerry.

As I've said many times, the boys and girls were always knowing that they had to keep me updated over the radio in the depths of Helmand!!

Geoff Cadman
18 Posted 23/04/2024 at 12:57:36
Gerry, likewise I was in the Merchant Navy all my working life, reliant on the BBC World Service most of the time. I will never forget the FA Cup Semi-Final against Man Utd in 2009, Sunday Sports Special covered the second half commentary, but not the extra time.

By the time sports round up came on, the signal was fading, pouring rain, I was sheltering under the bridge wing, radio jammed to my ear.

To add to the drama, they broadcast Cahill's miss, then covered everything else only going back to the shoot out at the end of the programme, signal getting worse and worse.

Just about managed to hear it all. At least I made it home for the Final – even if the result didn't go our way.

John Raftery
19 Posted 23/04/2024 at 16:10:04
Well travelled again, Danny. Sundays on the railways are fraught with risk.

I share your admiration of Mykolenko. After Branthwaite, he is my player of the season. His tracking back to prevent a one-on-one in the second half was excellent.

Andy McShane
20 Posted 23/04/2024 at 19:10:39
Dave @ 9

Regular voyeur on ToffeeWeb but couldn't miss an opportunity to pay tribute to Danny.

I'm Birkenhead-born, family from there and Wavertree – classic Liverpool Irish bloodstock. Have been going to Goodison every year since 1973 – sometimes a few games, sometimes all depending on life etc.

I now go with my 86-year-old dad (ex-Merchant Navy & Cammell Lairds) both Main Stand season ticket holders; I drop him off on the Wirral and drive back. Hopefully move back home soon – fed up with the journey (and my wife is fed up with me listening to endless Everton podcasts while she's in the car!).

Danny O’Neill
21 Posted 23/04/2024 at 19:25:48
Quality, Andy.

I describe myself as being from the city of Liverpool. I don't ever call myself a Liverpudlian though!!

Liverpool Irish is a good description. As I've said many times, my paternal family all thought they were Irish, even though they were second generation, but pictures of the Pope above the fireplace!

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 23/04/2024 at 19:35:07
Andy (20).

Yes, there's no place like home, mind you I've never ever left Liverpool – although I felt like I'd emigrated when I moved from town to Norris Green in the 1970s.

Ask your dad did he work on the building of the Windsor Castle, a big ocean liner passenger ship, in 1959-60 at Cammell Lairds. Another Everton fan, now in Australia, worked on it, Laurie Hartley, another poster on here and Birkenhead-born.

As for Danny, he was well worth your tribute, like a mint rock stamped with Everton right the way through.

I hope we are all smiling after tomorrow night's game especially your dad, 86 and still getting to see the Blues – I've got some catching up to do!

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