We all arrived ‘up for the cup’, all convinced this could be our year. We chatted and discussed the move - or not - to a dockside location. We have been promised much before so a bit of apprehension can be expected.
The teams came through showing three changes. Two enforced and one tactical that saw Holgate given a runout. No cause for alarm as Leicester had made more and their star men were absent. The walk up was completed in light rain and you could tell it would not be a full house as the queues at the Goodison road eateries had lesser than usual patrons. Ah, gone are the halcyon days of cup day meaning big rosette, wooden rattle and a box to stand on.
In the ground in time for Z-Cars and also the introduction of our only signing to date, a Mr Lookman from down London way.
At kick off there was a fair sized crowd in and ready to roar us on to the next round and that’s where it started to go wrong, not at first because we started well and had a very entertaining first half with Everton being the better side but having to be wary of fast Leicester breaks. In that first half we had Lukaku putting a shift in and early doors he got clear down the right and sent a daisy cutter across goal that Barkley just failed to connect with. That was a good chance with the keeper rooted. Valencia was looking speedy and linking with the marauding Baines and between them they gained a couple of corners as well as keeping Leicester on the back foot.
Plenty of attacking from us but without any end product or even a near end product as the ball went across the box with no one near enough to capitalise plus either a poor ball in or a misplaced pass and we had managed to silence our own crowd which had the large Leicester contingent goading us with that library stuff. This thing about moves going wrong from our own doing was epitomised by a quick counter attack which had the visitors' defence caught in no–man’s land. Valencia sped goal-wards with Lukaku in close attendance and free for a clear run on goal but, alas, the Ecuador striker put far too much pace on a simple pass and the keeper came and gathered. Groans and sighs were the order.
We were on top though and Holgate and Coleman were prominent but the standard of crosses from these two left a little to be desired. Big Ron had a right rant at Holgate after the defender appeared to bottle a tackle. Leicester attacked when they could and the lad Gray was showing pace and strength and it was no surprise when he used these qualities to break quickly after Coleman and Holgate had gone too far forward together. He closed in on goal but Joel came out, got his angles right and saved at the expense of a corner which was cleared.
The half wore on with attack and counter attack but no matter which team broke the moves always seemed to peter out or suffer from too many passes. We did get caught before the break when Leicester broke two on two and Williams did a fine job in slowing the move down and then Baines executed a fine tackle to see out the danger.
Just before the half time whistle Lukaku had the chance of the half when Valencia got a cross in that had Schmeichel stretching to palm the ball away but only managed to set up Lukaku at the far post for what looked like a regulation nod home but somehow after rising well he managed to put the ball well wide. 50-pence head came to mind. Eventually it was shown on the big screen and it looked no better on there.
Most were agreed we had much the better of that half and but for our inability to score it could have been game over.
The players returned for the second half and the manager had taken off Holgate and put on Deulofeu. I wondered if it was after the spat between manager and player in first half. Deulofeu had his first run and cross and presented Lukaku with what would have been a tap in but the liner had immediately signalled offside.
The half was following the pattern of the first with us in command but having to be mindful of some quick counters. A lad called Musa was on for an injured player and he looked big, strong and pacey and from a run forced us to concede a corner from which Morgan headed goal-wards and Joel was alert and gathered.
The hour mark was reached and the game took a massive change from that minute. First Deulofeu showed his dribbling skill and electric pace when he beat his marker and then powered along the bye line and delivered a hard low cross that gave Lukaku a tap in. The relief around Goodison could be felt. Here we go, we thought; we are on top they will have to come out so we may be able to add another couple on the break.
Ha! The very opposite happened. Leicester suddenly found two extra gears and went for it with pace and power and a big slice of determination. Within two minutes they were level when that man Musa races down the left put in a cross for Gray whose effort was parried onto the post by Robles but in a flash both Musa and Gray had followed up and forced the ball over the line before Robles could knock it away.
Within a further two minutes Mirallas had stung Schmeichel’s hands with a good shot and that man Musa had marauded down field swapped passes with Drinkwater and fired home for a wonderfully worked goal made easier by some woeful defending. From 1-0 and coasting to 2-1 down and looking sorry for themselves really tells the story of the game.
Many started to leave as Leicester all of a sudden seemed to have all big strong players operating at pace whilst we were trying hard but without being able to complete a move forward. Were Deulofeu had been the player he was when he first joined us he had now reverted to the frustrating over-playing man.
The game was played out and a few boos could be heard on the whistle. It was a big disappointment to us all and on the way out the talk was of the board getting in our transfer targets quickly.
Having sat through that it is obvious we need to get a few good players in because, for whatever reason, the players we have can’t give us what we need. I heard Koeman had more or less demanded the board act and get his targets in and don’t haggle over a few million quid. I think that’s how a lot of fans feel after all the money we hear about now in the club.
However I do wonder if our manager could not have been expected to get more out of the players he inherited. I understand he has a preferred way of playing but could he not have adjusted it a little to find a way with what he has got?
I am disappointed now but we have City on Sunday so I will look forward to better times.
See you at the fat van for breakfast.
UP THE BLUES
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