COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL
As we (my other half and I) work in Manchester we felt we might as well make the short hop from Wythenshawe, South Manchester to Bury, North Manchester to catch this, the first game of Everton’s pre-season. Well it should have been a short hop but, like the game, turned into a bit of a run around as we managed to get ourselves hopelessly lost amidst the Manchester rush hour. Regardless we were parked up just round the corner from Gigg Lane at about 6:30pm… pitiful having let an hour previous.
After a quick cheeseburger and chips we had a quick pint in the quaint Staff Of Life pub before negating to Gigg Lane well in time for the match. We saw Phil Neville putting some of the younger lads through their paces in the warm up. Reading the match programme I found out a thing or two about Phil Neville’s Bury relations. I knew he was a fan and once said he’d love to manage here, but I never knew his mum, gran, aunty and uncle all also help out at this small, traditional little club. Scanning round the players warming up the only one I expected to see but whom wasn’t present was Fellaini.
Phil Neville led the boys out and you’ll have to bear with me as I have no idea who a few of the players were. Nash started in goal with Baines at left back. I believe one of the centre backs was our new German signing from Hamburg, Shkodran Mustafi. I say this because he generally looked like a player who was young, didn’t know his team mates well and was frankly all over the place. So much so that I felt sorry for the poor young lad as he struggled throughout. I’ve no idea who is centre back partner was but believe the first half right back was Seamus Coleman. Now he was impressive for me. Seems a pretty calm and organized defender who can bomb forward at pace as he demonstrated in the second half. He seems comfortable on both feet also as he played left back in the second period. That’s if it was him of course! In midfield we had Neville and Wallace in the centre with Gosling and Baxter playing the flanks. Vaughan and Saha partnered in attack.
Bury began the better side creating two decent chances early on, one of which was screwed well wide, the other which went straight at Nash. Everton did begin to sort it out and before Saha’s cute header from a Baines free kick had carved out some decent opportunities which Vaughan may have and Baxter should have buried. Back at the other end Nash had to make an excellent flying save as you felt more and more sorry for the beleaguered Mustafi (if that was in fact him of course).
At half time the changes were typically rung with Turner, Hibbert, Osman, Jo, Agard and our new American signing Peterlin (I think) all given a taste of the, erm, action, replacing Nash, Baines, Neville, Wallace, Saha and Vaughan. Prior to Bury’s equalizer I felt Everton were exerting a measure of control in this game. Coleman had just bombed forward purposefully and was only denied a decent opportunity it seemed by Jo stupidly collecting the ball from a clearly offside position.
Bury came forward and with me not really paying attention, instead trying to figure out which sub was coming on for Everton next, some bloke headed the ball in for the Shakers. 1-1. Lucas Jutkiewicz was the sub I think, replacing Dan Gosling and moving Agard out to the wing.
A little later another substitute Hope Apkan replaced Baxter, bringing Osman out to the wing and Apkan in the middle to partner Peterman. Both of them look decent players. Quite how decent remains to be seen but Apkan looks like he has a bit of Viera in him and Peterman passes and tackles neatly. They both obviously need a lot of work but you do see the potential there.
With all these changes its perhaps not too surprising that Bury did snatch this one, with bandana-toating Efetobore Sodje heading the winner from a corner amidst disarray in the Everton defence.
There were about 12 minutes still to go but it didn’t look as though much was going to happen. Jo flicked a free kick harmlessly wide and Agard cut inside and shot a few times but both times was thwarted by generally poor finishing.
Other than some bloke stealing the corner flag that was about it. A decent run around I guess. You always want to win games yes, but I’ve learnt by now that these little kick abouts have absolutely no bearing on how the season will pan out.
I’m not going to painstakingly rank all the players but if I was to give a man of the match it would have to be to Dan Gosling for some good intelligent wing play. What a fine example to some of the other youngsters of what can be done. What is encouraging for me is the emphasis in youth players at Everton.
Fingers crossed this Kyle Naughton lad is on his way and I’m informed by a Sheff Utd mate of mine that he is, and I quote “raw talent”. The lads we’ve gotten this week from Leeds, Hamburg, the States and Man City respectively are all a good age and so the future looks very solid.
Just a few more settled senior players in the squad and we surely won’t be far away next year, particularly once Yakubu, Arteta, Jagielka and our latest ‘forgotten-man’ Anichebe all return. Come on Moyes! Get them players in!
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1 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:04:06
Whilst I would agree with you about Dan Gosling, we know what he can do. Akpan looked pretty good with the ball and Peterlin did ok for his first game at this level, but for my money the best of the young lads was Seamus Coleman with some excellent full back play, overlapping the midfielders and doing a pretty decent defensive job as well.
2 Posted 15/07/2009 at 20:59:22
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