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Tears of Joy!

By Santosh Benjamin :  04/02/2009 :  Comments (0) :
As i sit in front of my computer after watching the game that just unfolded, my eyes are still wet. I cried as the late goal went in (after the customary 4 AM post-goal screaming with my wife to wake the neighbours and their dogs!) because I can't remember the last time that I saw justice upheld like this.

We have been taunted, ridiculed and belittled by the fans, players and manager of Liverpool over the last few weeks. We heard all that and then replied in the best possible way... a draw in the league game, another tough draw in the first cup game when we were without Arteta and Fella, and then a replay at Goodison won late, late on by a kid (and whose shoes I would give anything to be in right now).

We started with the same team that played United and Vic was notably absent from the bench after the much talked about problem with Moyes. Liverpool started the brighter of the two sides without a doubt. Our midfield was looking shaky at best and Fellaini and Osman were giving the ball away too often.

Alonso (with a beard he's been growing since the last time we played, I think!) took a good shot on goal which had Howard scrambling. Cahill was booked for a "nasty" challenge on Carra. (which the ITV commentators and that twit Arbeloa thought was a sending off!).

Saw Benayoun warming up and wondered who was hurt so soon. Then I noticed Captain Fantastic holding his left hamstring as he walked... Off he came to cheers from our fans (again the ITV idiots wanted us to blow him kisses instead!).

Torres looked out of sorts and resorted to sulking rather than football. Arteta hardly got the ball and we gave up possession far too easily. Dossena kept charging down the left for them, looking to cross it, but Hibbo and sometimes others came back to thwart him. Ossie had a volley which went straight at Reina.

The game was looking scrappy as Torres made a few late challenges (ignored by one and all, obviously!). Riera had a wayward shot but otherwise there wasn't much to note after that. Pienaar then got booked for a late challenge. We went into the break on level terms and I hoped for better from us in the second half.

As we came back out to Z-cars, I prayed again for a miracle. We started better than we did in the first half with good build-up play. Fellaini was taken off soon with Gosling coming on take his place. Lucas (who is an irritating looking hippie!) then got booked for an attempted challenge on Arteta (not much contact but the intent was there — repeatedly). Pienaar then came off with Rodwell replacing him. I was happy about both changes and the timing of them too. (Does Moyes possibly read TW?)

Then came a chance that i honestly thought was going to come back and haunt us. Arteta drove forwards and played the ball into Cahill who held it up and slipped it to Ossie in front of him on the right. With Reina to beat and a defender bearing down on him, Ossie chose wrongly to go near post and succeeded in doing just that — as he hit the upright with Reina beaten. I had jumped of my seat in anticipation of a goal and sadly sat back down.

Then Lucas cynically checked Lescott at the centre of the pitch as he looked to push forwards. Since he was already booked, Wiley had no choice but to give him a second yellow and his marching orders. (By now, I was wondering if I was dreaming or in an alternate universe with No Gerrard, a useless looking Torres, and a Liverpool player sent off in a Derby game!!!)

We used this push forwards as they took off Riera and brought on Mascherano. We pushed forwards time after time and, from a corner, a flick on from Cahill went just past where Ossie was standing seconds earlier. Extra time looked inevitable...

They took off Torres and brought on Babel in Extra Time as we kept pushing them further and further back. The first half of ET got over pretty quickly with Hibbo having time to get booked.

We then threw on AvdM and I am thinking to myself about the person on TW who was predicting AvdM would score the winning goal for us in open play/from a penalty... maybe. As the time for penalties drew closer, the fat waiter started planning his penalty takers with his cronies. We gave away a few silly free kicks and I sat and prayed that we didn't do anything silly...

Then came the ball from the right from AvdM which floated over Cahill (damn!) and landed at the feet of Gosling (who was not really getting in the game according to the ITV fools). He looked to have waited too long as defenders converged on him... instead, he shifted the ball and deftly aimed for the right top corner. It took a touch from Skrtel and maybe Arbeloa too and hit the post too before nestling in the back of the net.

Pandemonium breaks out as my wife joins me in screaming, dancing and chanting "We shall not, we shall not be moved". I settle down and see that they have found two mins of stoppage time in ET (wow!) we give the ball away a few times but somehow hold on and the camera focuses on our lads celebrating. They give young Gosling the game ball and he walks off feeling like the King of the World.

I have to say the refs have been great in the last few games and long may that continue. Moyes's timing of the subs was spot on according to me and he richly deserves credit for this win along with the lads and the fans.

Player performances:

Howard: Great game. Came out to thwart a great move from Liverpool when Riera was almost through on goal.

Hibbert: Immense defending. Improving going forward too.

Jagielka: Solid/Immense/Rock....

Lescott: Great partner in centre of defense for Jags.

Baines: Some good crossed but could have done better with others. Defensively improving too. Maybe he and Hibbo should hang out together and hope they rub off on each other!

Neville: Decent game and looked worried on the sidelines when we were looking close to penalties.

Arteta: Has had better games but after Rodwell came on, played higher up

Osman: Poor game again in my eyes.

Pienaar: Not one of his better games. Is he suspended for a game now?

Fellaini: Maybe the hype of the game was too much coz he looked out of sorts today. Is he injured?

Cahill: Is he suspended too for a game? He worked hard today but didn't have much service to be honest.

Subs: Rodwell: His composure and ball control were amazing. Needs to start a few games for us.

Gosling: What can I say??? Had a few weak shots before the goal prompting the stupid ITV guys to say that he looks like he isn't in the game... who has egg on his face now??? Needs to start a few games too.

All in all, a tremendous few months. Hope that Jo will be able to start on Saturday and get a few goals to help us in our quest in the league (if he was watching the game, he must be pleased). Sad to hear about the problems between Vic and Moyes. The exact report may be distorted but it has to be bad if he isn't even in the squad and misses a great night at Goodison!

To all those who went to the games and cheered us on, to all those who sat,like me at home and followed the games, TAKE A BOW...we did it...WELL DONE...COYB

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