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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From My Seat: Carlisle Utd (H)

By Ken Buckley :  02/01/2010 :  Comments (16) :

Through to the next round from a match that had a bit of everything. Dreadful back-pass, comic defending, enforced substitution of a right back that changed the game, obliging cross-bar, bizarre one-two for a goal and a lower league ref intent on promotion.

The visitors came ‘up for the cup’. The fans took up full allocation and completely out-shouted and out-sang the home faithful, their team had come to pit their skills, endeavour and sheer grit against a Premier League outfit and, until running out of steam late on, made a very good fist of it. They won the toss and made us kick toward the Street End first, a psychological ploy? Maybe.

The game started at frantic pace with neither side able to get a foot on it and play. Then Fellaini started to have early influence from his midfield berth and it seemed an early goal would settle us down and make for a more controlled game. The goal duly came on the 10-min mark courtesy of a dreadful attempt at a back pass of some yardage from their central defender; the speedy Vaughan was on to it in a flash and after expertly rounding the keeper slotted home. Now we could settle and get the footy going... well, that was my thought... but this was a cup-tie and defied such thoughts.

Carlisle ran and fought, we scampered around misplacing passes and being less than determined in the 50/50s. Just 7mins after taking the lead, Fellaini, who was looking our only player truly up for it, went into a tackle with two of their players, left them on the deck and came away with the ball only for the ref to blow and book the unfortunate Belgian.

From the free kick, the ball was played out to their left wing and a cross-cum-shot came in that was deflected by Howard then eluded two Everton defenders near the line and Hurst tapped and found the corner of the net. The travelling fans went berserk and were only beaten into second place for jubilation by the Greeks of Athens. It was a bit of a shock all round and the half continued in good old-fashioned cup-tie cut and thrust.

The fact we were playing a League One team and seemingly being drawn down to their level was not going down well with the faithful, Cahill and Bilyaletdinov being at the forefront for abuse. Attack we did, though, and Cahill had a shot parried away by the keeper but only to Vaughan who thumped it into the net but the linesman’s flag ruled it out for offside. Then a good cross from Baines saw a diving header from Vaughan go wide.

Carlisle would not lie down and attacked when they could and you could just see the level of nervousness from our rearguard. Howard was tested from 20 yds which got the faithful even more agitated.

Fellaini was our one player of real influence and in one 50/50 both he and the Carlisle player needed treatment but, when he went off to come back on, the ref ran over to issue a final warning to him without a word to the Carlisle player, talk about making a name for yourself! Fellaini shrugged it off and he got us going again; but for luck and good keeping, both Pienaar and Fellaini himself could have restored our lead before the break.

Half-time and the chat was of less than complimentary remarks but also a belief that surely we would get it together second half.

Whatever the manager said at half time made little difference as Carlisle were all over us and, early on, with Neill lying prostrate in the area, Howard saved a 20-yarder and then beat away a fierce cross shot from Hurst. The crowd now were most animated and their frustrations seemed to be getting to the players as passes failed to find their mark and hoofball was becoming more prevalent, such was our disarray, which led to the chant from the away fans "Premier league – you're having a laff!"

Neville was booked for taking a free-kick to quickly and then, on 70 mins, Carlisle hit the bar with Howard beaten and all of this when we had been having the greater share of possession without looking like doing anything dangerous with it. The best we could offer was a deflected Pienaar shot just before the last ten.

Hibbert limped off to be replaced by Coleman and this turned out to be one of our best substitutions for some time. From his introduction, he was full of verve and caused trouble for Carlisle with some incisive attacking play down the right. Just 2 mins after his introduction he went past two defenders, put in a deep cross, Bilyaletdinov headed down well into the path of Cahill who shot, his effort seemed to hit both Fellaini and Harte and luckily bounce back to him, he shot again — this time the net rustled.... Oh the relief all around. I believe this was Cahill’s 50th goal for us.

The Carlisle legs had now gone and we saw out the remaining minutes with much more composure, taking the ball into corners as well as keeping it well. Agard, who had come on late for Vaughan, was sent hurtling through on the death, his speed was too great for the defenders but as he went to round the keeper he was sent hurtling to the turf. Penalty, said the ref who booked the keeper.

Up stepped Baines and as he ran forward I heard the shout of the match as a wag cried ‘Miss the first man!’ — he duly did and a 3-1 scoreline would convince all except those in attendance that a routine win had been achieved. The faithful gave a good round of applause to both teams at the end, I dread to think what the reaction may have been but for those last ten minutes.

Overall, a typical cup tie that was good viewing even if most frustrating for fans of a Blue persuasion. We are in the hat for the next round and that is the name of the game in knockout competitions. My M.o.t.M was Fellaini, in fact I thought he was our only player to show true Premiership quality throughout, a point not lost on the Carlisle fans who booed him throughout.

Although not the best of performances on the field, I found the most worrying thing was the make-up of the bench which seemed to indicate we are once again down to the bare bones. The starting eleven being the sum total of senior pros available. Good luck to Manager and Board in the January window.

Still, let's hope for a home draw tomorrow and the speedy return of the injured. Next up: Arsenal... and I believe they are better than Carlisle, so some improvement in all areas would be of benefit.

See you there
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Trevor Williams
1   Posted 02/01/2010 at 22:25:54

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Sadly we were let down again by the current usual suspect

Neville:- Some shocking passes and decisions

Cahill:- Scored and did nothing else — One guy next to me in the main stand said that's what he's paid to do, so I had to remind him that he doesn't even do that so much these days

Bily - Bily Bily, where on earth was he AGAIN...???
Andy Codling
2   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:04:30

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3-1 flatters us greatly and the performance for me sums up David Moyes's 8 years in charge.
Andrew James
3   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:35:12

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Excellent write up as ever Ken. From the highlights I did notice a few clever passes from Fellaini who is certainly becoming Arteta-esque in his killer passes.

I liked that Vaughan showed a killer finish even when he was offside. I know we were playing Carlisle but if we create against decent Premier League sides he could well be the man to score the goals. His goals to game ratio is intimidating (flattered by his injuries and introductions from the bench) but fingers crossed!
Steve Hogan
4   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:30:20

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A pretty accurate report Ken, we looked nervous and edgy throughout. A couple of points to ponder upon though.

Sooner or later, Moyes must be tempted to give Coleman an opportunity to make the RB spot his own. The kid plays without fear and gives us so much more options down the right than Hibbert. He can also pick out a pass when he gets to the dead ball line.

My second point is the abuse thrown at certain players by an unforgiving Goodison crowd. I admit it was overall a pretty poor show but Cahill and Bily were the ’whipping boys’ almost from the first minute.

Cahill has been ’Mr Everton’ for the last five years and people have short memories. He played at CF for most of last season and got knocked from pillar to post. The number of occasions he has scored vital goals for the blues during his time here has been fantastic.

Bily is struggling without a doubt, and I expected more from him for £11m. But his confidence is shot to pieces, and the crowd are onto him as soon as he receives the ball. Give him a bit longer FFS, look at the player Felli is right now.

Now for another home draw on Monday. Fingers crossed.
Dave Street
5   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:51:36

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Have to just pull you up on one thing Ken. On 70 mins that was a save by Howard, in fact it was THE save of the season. Incredible from Tim. Reminds me of some of Big Nev's efforts at his best!!!!!
Keith Glazzard
6   Posted 02/01/2010 at 23:31:28

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Counting our blessings - no replay, next round and no red cards. The ref Ken has described was capable of doing that to us today.

Injuries? Two things here.

First, I think the bench looked like it did (apart from all the other problems), because Moyes put out as good a team as he could to win a cup tie - show respect to the fans and the competition if you like. But he didn’t risk anyone else beyond that. As it was, Coleman - again - came on to make the difference. Agard too. I think Duffy would have been OK in that game and from the little we saw of him against BATE, Mustafi may well have been too.

Second - there must be many many thousands of Evertonians wondering if Hibbert hadn’t have picked up a knock, would we have seen Coleman come on?

One more thing - the ITV highlights tonight showed Tim Howard getting a touch to their crossbar shot. Good save Tim.
Kase Chow
7   Posted 03/01/2010 at 06:56:09

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Two things; I’d like to ask a question and also make a point:

1. How did Vaughan play? I know he scored 1 and had another ruled out but what was his overall game like, eg, link-up play, running the channels, holding the ball up or getting on the end of things? It’s been so long since he’s had a consistent run, I’ve forgotten ’his game’ and would like to know how effective he was please?

2. Give Bily a break, lads, and he’ll come good. Despite his apparent lack of desire, only Saha has scored more than him (Bily has 4 goals... not bad) and he has at least 6 assists — even Cahill's goal was eventually more his assist than Coleman (give credit — it was a deft & clever header to Tim).

When Arteta first joined us, his commitment was questioned... and guess what? He’s now class.

Pienaar has only become so influential since the 2nd half of last season. Prior to that he was somewhat average. Now he’s great.

My point is that flair players (rightly or wrongly) take time to adapt their ’commitment’ levels. Despite this, Bily has had an impact. Coming from the Russian league is tough — ask Shevchenco, Jo or Zhikov.

Whilst Bily is a blue, get behind him and next season he’ll make the same improvements Arteta, Pienaar and now Fellaini have made. Barrack him and he’ll lose confidence and be shite.
Adam Baig
8   Posted 03/01/2010 at 10:49:22

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Agree with Kase about Bily. I think yesterday the game passed him by, but a normal top 5 Premier League side would have rested him — we don't have that option, apparently.

Our last 2 games have been against Burnley and Carlisle, and yet our first choice right back has managed to be outclassed in both games. The fact that Carlisle can pick him out as our weakness and our manager can't spot this and bring on a better player — who is 21, not 16 — is what I find hard to swallow. Coleman once again had an immediate impact and yet I will be amazed if he gets in the team against Arsenal.
Ste Lewis
9   Posted 03/01/2010 at 11:00:03

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Steve Hogan and Kase Chow, spot on. At the Burnley game and yesterday I had to speak up to the idiots around me (why do I always sit next to the bloke with the running commentary) as from the start they were giving unwarranted shit to Bily and Cahill. There’s no need — Tim especially has nothing to prove.

’Take your hands off your hips Cahill and show some fucking interest. If you're injured, fuck off, otherwise get playing, dickhead’. These people don't contribute to the atmosphere, they just add to the frustration. I don't know why they go, just to piss, moan and they always leave early.

Stephen Kenny
10   Posted 03/01/2010 at 11:37:24

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Fair report ken,

My own thoughts were that the defence made a lot of unnecessary errors and Howard once again stuck to his line like glue, although that was a great save.

Hibbert was atrocious. The amount of times their winger isolated him and put dangerous crosses in was a joke. I’ve stuck up for him a lot recently but I wouldnt argue if he was replaced after his performance.

In midfield, only Fellaini can come away with any credit, everyone else either didn't show for the ball or in Bily’s case disappeared completely. To be fair to him, he’s not a winger and shouldn't be played there.

Up front, James Vaughan did exactly what you expect from him and I’m pleased he scored. Cahill was ineffectual again.

For me the most frustrating thing wasn’t individual performances, it was things like Vaughan jumping for headers and Cahill trying to get onto the flick-ons, Neville telling superior footballers how to take free kick’s and where to put them, and the inability of professional footballers to put a cross past the first man!
Colin Malone
11   Posted 03/01/2010 at 12:50:51

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Bily would walk right in to the Arsenal team. You can see the lad is class but hoofball is not his game.
Lynn Thorne
12   Posted 03/01/2010 at 13:17:41

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Two things — FAO Kase, Vaughan played really well, made a nuisance of himself and seemed to link well with Fellaini. These two players for me were head and shoulders above any others. Coleman withstanding!

Minor point: we didn’t lose the toss! They kicked off so we must have changed ends — Neville did that a lot last season and we won. His 1st job as captain was to do the same.

Dave Wilson
13   Posted 03/01/2010 at 17:11:05

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You’ve started the year the way you finished the last one Ken, Balanced and accurate.

Keep them coming fella, Happy new year to you and yours.

"Obliging crossbar" — like it!
Kev Clark
14   Posted 04/01/2010 at 09:21:32

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Thanks Ken.

On the subject of the bench/injuries - anyone know what’s happened to Dan Gosling?
Karl Masters
15   Posted 05/01/2010 at 14:47:05

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Gosling did his hamstring in Athens, Kev. You may remember he went off after 15 minutes and Coleman came on.

Hamstrings can take weeks or months. Bob Latchford once missed the rest of the season after doing his in November. So Distin, Yobo, Saha and Gosling could be out for some time depending on their healing powers!
Kev Clark
16   Posted 08/01/2010 at 08:49:00

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Ah, thanks Karl,
I missed most of that match due to work and I remember all the talk was about Coleman the next day.

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