Everton 0 - 2 Norwich City
A chippy tea in L4 a quick discussion on receiving the line- up and subs and the thought was maybe six changes were a bit much especially if we have ambitions to win this competition but on analysing the likely positional make up of our team it seemed we should have enough to progress.
The walk up was as usual since Big Ron took over and smiling Blues availed themselves of the fast food that was on offer with the Blue Dragon chippy being the winner of the biggest queue competition. On to the turnstile through a throng large enough to suggest a good numerical attendance. A quick chat with matchday regulars who are also friends and all were relaxed and ready for a cup tie that all expected to win. The game kicked off and within five minutes I had a feeling that we were not quite right. It was hard to figure why but we just seemed edgy, unsure in the pass, to hurried and consequently giving the ball away.
Norwich were clear in their method of play. Two banks of four and sitting quite deep. This invited us on and although our approach play was quite good we stumbled time after time when it came to the clinical bit in the box. Barkley, Deulofeu and Lennon being the chief culprits in the arts of giving the ball away by means of too many touches or poor layoffs and making shots that cannoned off defenders when they really needed to be more savvy.
You know what the half went on like this with Norwich defending and us attacking but messing up before a breakthrough pass or shot could be made. The word shoddy comes to mind. The atmosphere in the ground was of funereal silence and Norwich had brought so few fans they could not goad us into action. The first half was dire and petering out but on 42 mins a long ball toward the street end saw Funes Mori fall over and our great mate and ex-player Naismith strode on and he slipped over as he shot and the ball took a looping trajectory and ended up in our net. It summed up the first half. All Everton but a goal down from their first shot on target. The faithfull actually gave Naisy a rousing round of applause for his goal and all because we liked the lad.
Half-time was a dismal affair as we were unanimous that we needed a change either in personnel or tactics – we got neither and carried on as in the first half which in turn had firstly the crowd trying full on support to lift the lads but when that failed they reverted to giving the players down the banks as just like the first half we were toothless. Not much point in trying to give a blow by blow account of that half as it was dire.
Our manager had seen enough by the hour mark and had subs warming up and on 70 mins Mirallas and Bolasie replaced Deulofeu and Lennon and to be honest he could have hooked a few others as well. We attacked they defended and the defenders came out on top each time and the nearest we came to at least getting on the scoresheet was when Valencia had a shot cleared from the line but on 74 mins we all realised our goose was well and truly cooked when Josh Murphy cut inside unchallenged and from some distance fired a beaut into the top corner of the Park End net. This was the cue for a mass exodus as great numbers of the faithful had well and truly had enough.
We were brought back down to earth after Big Ron’s first defeat. I heard his post-match interview and he seemed to put it down to cup football and bad luck for us and good luck by the visitors for scoring. I have the feeling that he may just have a few of our players names written in red ink in his notebook. However he has stated that it will take probably four or five transfer windows to get what he believes is required and tonight’s no-show may well give him more idea of what is required than if we had snatched a win. Well, always look for a silver lining is my motto.
MotM – Naismith
If I was into player ratings, my personal view from tonight is that only Gueye, Coleman and Williams would be above a 5. However ,when Saturday comes, we need to be ready to take the points at Bournemouth and, if successful, tonight will probably filed under ‘shit happens’.
The comment that raised a good smile and laugh out of me occurred on the walk back to the Room of Nonsense when a lad shouted to his mate ‘Hey lad, was Martinez back for a one-night stand ‘der?’
See you soon...
UP THE BLUES
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