Everton 3 - 1 Middlesbrough
Gaz doesn't often get the chance for a drink at the match as he is always driving, so with this being the late kick off match, Ste, Gaz and I pre-arranged a few drinks, starting with some sun drenched beers outside the Ship and Mitre on Dale Street in the city centre. We bumped it a few other friends there also and ended up tagging along with them for a couple outside The Queens Arms on County Road before walking on to Goodison Park on a warm late-summer afternoon.
Into Goodison Park and the team remained unchanged from that which won so resoundingly at the Stadium of Light on Monday as we were pitted against another North East outfit in newly-promoted Middlesbrough. I am pleased MIddlesbrough are back in the Premier League. They have some pedigree in the top flight and growing up in the 90's I'll forever remember how they dazzled, though relegated, with impressive overseas signings Juninho, Emerson and "The White Feather" Fabrizio Ravanelli, who we came close to signing ourselves if I recall correctly. They brought with them a few Merseyside links also, in Adam Foreshaw, a product of our youth system; and, Stewart Downing, an expensive flop from over the park. The packed Goodison Park looked splendid in the early evening shade as Lee Mason got proceedings under way, Everton attacking towards the Park End in the first half.
Though they failed to register a single shot on target all game, it was refreshing to see Middlesbrough try to take the game to Everton in a lively beginning to the game. They had a good verve about their play and though the second half was really men against boys, if they can take their early efforts into their games this season they won't go far wrong in their goal of avoiding relegation one would have thought.
It was this attacking effort that led to their illegal goal on 21 minutes when a cross from captain George Friend was spilled into his own net by Maarten Stekelenburg under pressure from Alvaro Negredo. At the time I felt our goalkeeper was a bit weak and should have done better, however having seen it again there was a definite foul on Stekelenburg by Negredo and we should have been awarded a free kick. The Everton players, and Stekelenburg in particular, were furious...Stekelenburg getting booked for the second time this season for kicking the ball away in his protests. I like the cut of our keeper’s jib.
Strangely this ignited Everton and we were level within three minutes when Gareth Barry finished well from a Kevin Mirallas corner kick. It was very apt that Gareth scored on his 600th league appearance. That's two goals already this season for Gareth and it felt important for Everton to react quickly. Almost immediately you felt we'd swung the momentum our way and so it proved on 42 minutes when Seamus Coleman expertly cut in from the right flank onto his left foot and finished sharply into the corner of the net. It was a magnificent finish by Seamus and it feels like quite a long time since we've seen him get forward so fearlessly.
With half time beckoning I felt that I could join a few of the fellas for a half time drink and went down just after Coleman scored. I wasn't expecting to miss another goal of course and though delighted Everton have scored, you find yourself a bit cheesed off to have missed the goal. Chants of "Yannick Bolasie runs down the wing for you" to the tone of 90's crime TV series Heartbeat could be heard from downstairs though it wasn't the Congolese' who netted, it was in fact Romelu Lukaku who got something on the ball to divert it past Victor Valdes to make it 3-1. I'm convinced Romelu scored it as the ball seemed to change direction a bit once it bounced around him. The golden rule of course is - never go downstairs early!
That buried Middlesbrough and they offered precious little after the break, with Everton seemingly quite content to professionally see the game out for the second half. Our midfield axis of Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry did a great job in the middle and have become increasingly difficult to penetrate.
We washed away the night with celebratory drink. It's not often we're sitting pretty in 2nd position in the table, and I'll be sure to remain seated right until the half time whistle for the remainder of the campaign!
Stekelenburg: Had very little to do and was fouled for the own goal so it's difficult to criticise him for that, but I'll try. I'm mighty impressed with our new goalkeeper. He's been a revelation in goal, particularly after last season's horrors. To micro-criticise, I would say that two of the goals we have conceded have been down to Stekelenburg trying to persuade the referee to make a decision, when he should be trying to get rid of the ball first and ask questions later.
He went down easily in the goal we conceded at the Hawthorns, and I think he might have done something a bit different with the ball for yesterdays goal than land it back into the net. That's about the only hole I can pick however. I think we've got a fantastic goalkeeper there who should be good for the next two years at least. 6
Baines: Did well. He seems to have found that consistency again which, like a lot of things throughout the team, was missing last season. 7
Jagielka: Solid. 7
Williams: Solid. A good partnership is forming there. 7
Coleman: Great to see him back to his best and hopefully he can stay amongst the goals after this well taken effort. 8
Gueye: He struggled a bit in the first 20 minutes and I was starting to think "hmmm, he's having a bit of a shocker here". He focused however and recovered brilliantly to put in a man of the match performance. Perhaps the bargain of the season. My man of the match. 8
Barry: Also fantastic and what an achievement in playing 600 Premier League games and what a way to mark it. Congratulations Gareth. Let's hope hew can keep this level of performance up for some time yet. 8
Mirallas: He wasn't up to scratch today but he at least put a heck of a shift in and you can't really ask for more than that. 6
Bolasie: Did superbly well with our third goal and also came close to scoring with an excellent header in the first half. Safe to say he's made an excellent impact so far. 7
Barkley: Good on Ross for heading some well-publicised advice from Ronald Koeman this week. He got his head down, got involved and got stuck in. He needs to do more for sure, but it was a great step in the right direction for Ross. He'll be pleased to know he's still got the backing from the supporters as well. 6
Lukaku: Just about got on the scoresheet and though he has his critics, he's certainly missed when he's not there. 6
Valencia (for Lukaku): Was given plenty of time on the pitch but I find it difficult to assess what we're going to get from him. He appears quite a confident lad though so hopefully hew can pop up with a few goals for us throughout the season. 6
Deulofeu (for MIrallas): Got involved and did OK. 6
Cleverley (for Barry): Gareth Barry was afforded a standing ovation with just a few minutes remaining and it was Tom Cleverley who benefited with a few minutes on the field. He got involved, albeit in limited time. 6
Reader Comments (39)
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1 Posted 19/09/2016 at 03:50:35
2 Posted 19/09/2016 at 08:08:41
And there was me thinking this was a classic golden oldie by a legendary performer Buddy Holly!!!
3 Posted 19/09/2016 at 08:53:28
1. Gueye didn't struggle at any point during the game. He was exemplary. The best player on the pitch by a mile. He deserved a 9 at least.
2. To give Ross the same score as Mirallas, Cleverley and Valencia proves that you were bevvied. Ross had a very good game and was head and shoulders above those mentioned.
3. It does my fucking head in when people piss off for a pint before the whistle blows for half-time. It's always the same fucking nuisances and it serves them (and you) right if they miss a goal.
4 Posted 19/09/2016 at 09:32:03
5 Posted 19/09/2016 at 10:08:37
I settled for a bottle of water at £2, the same price as the Chang. I've often wondered why people go down so early before half-time... now I know.
6 Posted 19/09/2016 at 11:18:12
Opinions eh!!! Keep the reports going – love them!!
7 Posted 19/09/2016 at 11:49:12
For such a little fella, the way he puts himself about is outstanding.
If he scores the winner in the derby, I'll probably cry.
8 Posted 19/09/2016 at 13:29:36
Missing part of the game and goals just to sup that utter cat piss Chang??
And these types usually don't bother coming back until the second half is well underway and miss plenty of that because they keep needing to go for a piss.
It's as if the game gets in the way of a good beer session!
9 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:01:27
Even though he didn't do much with the ball, it was pleasant to see Mirallas work his socks off chasing down from the front. No argument with him coming off with 20 minutes left, if he continues to put himself about like that.
Barry also excellent.
10 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:10:43
11 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:13:27
Gueye was phenom – sorry... monumental. The engraver is etching his name on to the Player of the Season trophy already. Certainly didn't notice any early wobble but I was in raptures in how he got about in the 2nd half. At one point, I think he put in four tackles in the four corners of the pitch in the space of two minutes. I think Boro players are going to be looking over the shoulder for the diminutive sniper all week. If he wasn't a 9 – or even 10 – then I don't know what those numbers are for.
And I think Barkley really grew into the game after an understandably nervous opening. Ran forward with intent and made himself available.
12 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:14:44
Not really something to get worked up about, I don't have a bevvy usually as I drive most weeks; however, if someone wants to get past me to go for a pint, I don't get all excited.
13 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:15:03
14 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:29:22
What is the exact reason that this is not allowed in England?
15 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:30:21
16 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:42:18
Like you say, it seems to work everywhere else, but these laws if they were relaxed, then the British propensity for the few spoiling it for the many and getting totally rat arsed will kick in.
17 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:43:41
What is the exact reason that this is not allowed in England?"
Even if it was allowed, one week later you would get a load saying 'you can stick your little backpack up your loose back passage' and be demanding something a bit more capable of meeting demand. Like a fucking blimp.
18 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:45:50
Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol, etc) Act 1985 came into force in England and Wales, banning football supporters from consuming alcohol “in view of the pitch". Only at football though; cricket, rugby etc. you can drink wherever.
Football stadiums have changed so much over those 30 years (not ours obviously and I'm a bit surprised we can't still get a pint of Higsons bitter) that really this antiquated law requires reviewing.
19 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:58:28
But as Steve (#18) points out, this has nothing to do with the current situation where football grounds are safer than a kindergarten these days. It wouldn't be that bad if Goodison was built for a big crowd getting their bevvy at half time and drinking it at the same place, but obviously it isn't.
On another note: I'm still not sure what kind of beer I like best in UK. I am sure though that Chang isn't it.
20 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:58:35
I lived in Pittsburgh, PA for 8 years. I'd occasionally attend Steelers games. Much like Evertonians, Steelers fans are simply the best. They live and die for their team - it's a way of life in Western PA.
It always kind of pissed me off that those fans - again arguably the best fans in America - almost always left a game early. If the Steelers were winning comfortably, the stadium would be 50% empty with 5 minutes left in the game.
Pittsburgh is surrounded by shear hills, and the only way "in" from the south and the east is through tunnels which create very bad traffic. So folks were always trying to "beat" the rush and they'd leave early.
Never understood that why pay the money to watch the game if you're leaving early? How about sticking around to give the team a round of applause for the effort (a.k.a. "good fan")?
Save the beer for later, watch the game. If you leave and they score, you had it coming.
And I'm not being critical Paul Trail - it's your time and money do whatever you heart desires. It just befuddles me... why?
And the "good fan" comment - I'm not directing that at you directly Paul. Your Blue Credentials make mine look childish... and my credentials are truly minor league comparatively if you can even call a bar stool from America watching on the tv "credentials"!
Just stay and watch - the beer can wait. Some of us would give an arm and a leg to see 5 seconds live.
21 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:02:13
Friend of mine went over to England to a Man Utd game. At half-time she bought two beers. She was shocked she couldn't return to her seat with the beers! She's a "gamer" and she promptly downed them both in about 30 seconds so she could return to her seat, but...
Why in the world can't you have a beer while you watch the game over there? That, to this American, seems just stupid!
22 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:11:01
23 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:18:00
I've been going to Goodison Park for 42 years, believe me, having access to alcohol before, during and after some games we've had to endure, has been essential to stabilise what could progress to serious mental health issues. I see my pre-, half-time and post match actions as saving the NHS a huge outlay to keep me sane.
Not so this season admittedly, but old habits die hard, and these days, you only miss the action for a couple of seconds, there are TVs everywhere downstairs showing the game live.
I agree with you about leaving early though, I always stay to the end, win or lose. :-)
24 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:19:51
Always enjoy a pint or six before the game, never interested in more during the event, same at rugby, but give me a day's cricket in sight of the bar during the close season any day bliss.
Seriously, whilst grounds are much safer and behaviour too, we see enough dodgy behaviour from those the worse for wear to avoid giving them opportunity to refuel during the game.
25 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:44:09
As a side note, I really think behaviour inside stadiums has improved drastically and I feel social control is big enough these days to prevent the odd fellow from going completely berserk and throwing their ale at a player or linesman.
26 Posted 19/09/2016 at 15:52:37
Of course this didn't happen every game, far from actually, but it never ceases to amaze me how much match going has changed. It feels like I've witnessed cave men living amongst us in my youth.
27 Posted 19/09/2016 at 16:27:58
Every year I get an e-mailed fan survey from the club asking all sorts of questions about how to improve the matchday experience, I think it was this year or last year, a few of the questions were about vendors selling food and drink "American style" at your seat, I of course (being a lazy layabout) answered Yes to all of them. :-)
I believe a campaign was started in 2013 backed by the majority of Premier League and Championship Chairmen / Women to allow alcohol at seats, but also to be sensible about it at local level and not allow it at games where it could provide the fuel for violent behaviour.
I take Peters point above also, some people just shouldn't drink, but not having it at your seat isn't going to make much difference to them is it? Btw, has anyone ever seen a sober away fan? :-)
28 Posted 19/09/2016 at 18:51:02
I'm a big cricket fan and get to a couple of days of the Old Trafford test match every year and seem to spend most of the day getting up and down out of my seat to let people past while on their way to get yet more beer in.
29 Posted 19/09/2016 at 20:53:05
Good post. It truly was an excellent game and quite a difference from last season, for me its beggars belief that within 5 games we are now able to dictate how the opposition play against us. For a football connoisseur Saturday's game must of been a sheer delight as Boro had no answers to how WE let them play.
By the way, can I recommend you come and stand, or sit if you like, in the Lower Gwladys where "going for a beer whilst the ball is moving" is simply not tolerated.
30 Posted 20/09/2016 at 09:07:41
31 Posted 20/09/2016 at 12:10:16
32 Posted 20/09/2016 at 12:41:23
Arguably justice was served because the Borough shouldn't have had theirs. Otherwise an excellent report.
On the subject of drinking, if you're that desperate for a Chang, why not save your pennies and grab one in the Winslow afterwards? Prices in the ground are extortionate for beer (and everything else) and I can go 2 hours without a beer.
33 Posted 20/09/2016 at 13:51:31
Seriously though, I agree with the general comments about Gueye who, whilst I was only watching on TV, is in danger of becoming one of my all-time favourites. Can't believe he was only £7m what a bargain!
Looking forward to seeing him in the flesh, probably in a game next month. Congratulations to Gareth Barry too, delighted that he scored on his special day.
34 Posted 20/09/2016 at 13:54:33
35 Posted 20/09/2016 at 14:45:44
Larry David becomes a season ticket holder in the Paddock and starts getting a proper fume on with the annoying guy a few seats along who gets up to go down for a pint, four whole minutes before the end of the first half, every fucking game.
Next week, as the 'no game manners' wanker approaches, Larry lifts his meffy half mast and big white trainer combo up and rests it on his other knee, refusing to let his new nemesis past because the game's still ongoing and he's momentarily obscuring the view/absolutely ruining the occasion for other people by passing on by.
A minute later, everyone around LD has quickly turned on him and is screaming "Just let him past you petty bald twat. Trying to watch the fucking match 'ere, lad".
Next home game, Larry gets a sudden case of swamp arse 78 minutes into the second half, starts giving it "excuse me, [SQUELCH], so sorry", "excuse me, [SQUELCH], so sorry", "excuse me, [SQUELCH], so sorry", gets to the second from last seat of the row when a leg suddenly shoots up and out and a tutting 'no game manners' wanker sits there, tapping his watch whilst slowly shaking his head: "Whistle hasn't gone yet, mate".
Close up of Larry, eyes bulging and mouth wide open, but whatever he's saying is obscured by one final [SQUEALCH], followed by a [SCULOOOMPPT] and then the sort of shitty, 'dirt bike' special effect sound bored kids of the 70's used to create by squashing a Sass can onto their back tyre
I don't even drink, but I don't begrudge anyone who does, and wants do so at the match, walking past me for what amounts to about 6 fucking seconds so they can go get served before the stampede. Same applies to anyone busting for a slash, shit, or starving enough to want to eat one of those Rot Dog's composed of unidentifiable road kill and rat uteri in recycled bread.
36 Posted 20/09/2016 at 16:58:42
One thing, Paul, if you were downstairs having a drink when Everton scored, how did you see the goal, and be convinced Lukaku touched it in?
37 Posted 20/09/2016 at 17:16:33
I don't understand why fans can't wait till the game's end then go and have a pint, but I don't agree with alcohol at the game or letting in people who are clearly drunk.
I'm now firmly in the 'one sniff of the barmaids apron' brigade, I jest caints tek it no mo. I guess my drinking day's are long gone.
38 Posted 20/09/2016 at 17:41:53
I get to games when I can but I do remember one awful occasion of paying for a restricted view seat. the man next to me was obnoxious, foul mouthed, poor hygiene and obese, so had a about a third of my seat as well as his own.
I spent most of the game getting up and down just to get away from the lovely fellow. Stewards wouldn't help so IMO fuck good game manners. Oh and please bar fat, smelly punters whose every second word is 'cunt'.
39 Posted 23/09/2016 at 19:22:36
Totally with you on this one fella!
Keep the faith.
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