Everton 6 - 3 Bournemouth
A sunny winter’s day and all roads lead to Goodison via our trusty watering hole the temple of learning that houses the room of nonsense where we can speculate on all things match-wise and get it all wrong. The score the team the formation the subs all made to sound logical with the wisdom assembled and some backing their knowledge in hard cash in the bookies as we walk up to the ground. None would be calling in on the way back. Another sell out so all roads were busy and with eager taxi drivers using rat runs at some speed it was worth keeping a sharp eye out. Long queues at the cholesterol inducing eateries would be blissfully unaware that they would miss the first goal.
We made our seats in time to hear the drummers from a section of Everton in the community but alas I did not hear the full information about them but they were great on all those different drums and even a soaking from the pitch watering system could’nt thwart them and on reaching the dug- out they received generous applause. The teams emerged to Z-Cars and some expressed surprise at our line-up which saw Joel in goal a back four today of Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori and Baines a midfield of McCarthy, Barry (capt) Schneiderlin and Lookman then Ross then Lukaku. You could say 4-4-2 when defending but a fluid approach going forward.
From the referee’s whistle it took just 30 seconds for Schneiderlin to pass to McCarthy who had made good ground and he pinged one to Rom who from edge of box curled a shot of some power around and past the startled keeper and troubled the net — all in attendance were delighted and those that didn’t make the kick-off will tell you they did. We are not used these explosive starts (goal time 42 secs.)
Bournemouth won the toss and elected to have us kick toward the Gwladys St first half. "Spoil sports" I thought but it meant our kick off and we made it pay big style ‘serves them right I mused’ as Lookman with some sweet slight of foot bamboozled Arter but smashed a shot across goal he does seem to like that ploy of hitting them hard across the box. We were in the lead but in looking to now play on the break Bournemouth seemed to be monopolising the ball a bit much for my liking but just after the 20-minute mark we some good fortune when Lukaku got forward and got to the byline and used his strength to go between two defenders and pull the ball back across the box. Schneiderlin missed it but the ever running McCarthy seemed to stretch out a leg and hit a defender with the ball but it rebounded to him and he prodded home.
Pandemonium as the all-important second goal had been achieved and a more relaxed atmosphere was evident all around the ground and that atmosphere was reinforced just five minutes later when an Everton attack was broken up in their penalty area but there player for whatever reason passed it directly to Rom and with only the keeper in the way he calmly chipped it over him into the night. The usual celebrations culminating in the Rom chant performed with some gusto. No problem now they need three just to draw. (Oh if we only knew)
H/T was upon us but before the whistle Bournemouth cut through our defence with a little too much ease for many fans liking but Joes made his first save of the half and a very good one it was. The H/T chat was mostly fans expressing the opinion that we were starting to look more like a team of substance now that Koeman is on the road to having a team in his image. His quality players playing his way with quality cover on the bench could see us joining the elite with a successful summer window. I would like that to happen but in football who knows but hope is there.
Second half 3-0 up and we start with our foot off the gas seeming intent just to defend and let them come on and counter, well the idea was good and we saw it could work when some ten mins in a Ross surge saw him in but his well struck shot was deflected just wide the corner wasted. A little later McCarthy hit one with some venom but alas straight at the keeper. Then we had the first wake -up call as the hour mark arrived when the on loan Wilshere who had been quite anonymous up to this point threaded a beaut through our defence leaving our defenders flat-footed and Josh King left Joel helpless as he slotted home.
"Ah, never mind... we're 3-1 up" seemed to be the mind-set of a few and we did respond right away as Barkley found McCarthy who had made up good ground the Irishman controlled the ball onto his stronger foot but then seemed to let the ball get under his feet and despite a ‘Bambi on ice’ routine the best he could do was prod it toward the keeper who diverted it wide of goal but into the path of Lookman who lashed at it and only found the side netting.
Bournemouth kept pressing and causing us some airy moments so we swapped McCarthy for Davies but before he could get to the pace of the game thoughts started to go back to that famous game at their place when we ‘over celebrated’ The tension grew with each wave of Bournemouth attacks and on 70 minutes mild panic started to take over as that man King had a shot tipped over by Joel but from the corner the ball went to a Bournemouth player who just hit it low across the box and King diverted the ball home. (Defence what defence) Hell it was now 3-2 and the rattle of prayer beads could be heard and still 20 mins to go.
Koeman needed to do something so he swapped Lookman for Mirallas but just moments later it was almost all square as Bournemouth with tails up and their travelling fans now in excellent voice again worked an opening for Pugh who left Schneiderlin on his backside but hammered wide and I reckon Eddie Howe would not be best pleased with that effort while Koeman must have been pulling his hair out.
The crowd were strangely quiet and then belting out the Everton –Everton- Everton such was the tension but the crowd were still with the team and willing them to get their fingers out and Joel lifted spirits with a great flying save from Arter that had goal written on it. With ten to go we seemed to snap back into life as Davies got to the pace and was putting himself about and this seemed to get others responding.
Most fans were now watching the clock as a move of purpose was started when we got a ball forward to Rom who laid it off to Coleman and continued his run for Coleman to pick him out with a chip which the big Belgian side-footed home.
And within a minute Lukaku and Barkley combined and Barkley fed our striker with an audacious back heeled pass who went passed and through defenders and slid a super shot passed the helpless keeper. Oh the relief, now we could cheer, laugh, sing and celebrate... but wait – it’s still not over 90 mins and Bournemouth player seemed to exchange passes and get to the byline the ball ended up in the net but I would need a rerun to see how but the goal stood and 4mins added went up.
In that 4mins we produced a peach of a pass from Mori down the middle at just the right weight on it and Ross powered on left his marker sidestepped the keeper and his both arms held aloft in celebration shot home into the empty net. Seeing Ross with arms aloft will stick with many of us for a long time. Final whistle and a game like no other is over.
MotM – Lukaku
On the way out all were happy. On setting foot out of the door there was the first sign of spring. It was still light. –Most conversations were of disbelief at what had transpired at the ‘Old Lady’ we scored 6 and that was great. Let 3 in not so great. Lukaku has moved to top of the scoring charts and I would not mind betting a record or two may have been broken or added after that.
Singing the Blues could be heard on Spellow Lane as fans went on their way no doubt to celebrate in their own way on what had been a terrific 6-3 victory but that doesn’t tell half the story. Still three points for us to put pressure on a couple of clubs above us so watch out big six were coming to get yer’
Boro next and maybe another rollercoaster. See you then
UP THE BLUES–
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