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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Match report ? The 'quick pint'

By Paul Traill :  21/12/2010 :  Comments (32) :
I spent the best part of the day praying for a postponement for this one though was thwarted in my online checks by various websites confirming the game was going ahead. Quite frankly, I was tired, and the thought of going home and watching us get spanked from the couch was much more appealing than sitting in the sub-zero temperatures at Eastlands. Still, I?d paid for the ticket so felt obliged to go.

Another reason to go was that my mate Simo was coming the game with me. He?s an uncompromising customer at the best of times is Simo, and as he?s also actually a Tranmere Rovers fan was more interested in just a day out rather than an actual interest in Everton?s performance on the night. Sadly for me, Simo had been out on the pop since about 12pm, so when I finally caught up with him in Manchester town centre after work, he was in no coherent state whatsoever as we had a pint in the Deansgate Weatherspoons. He was with a few other acquaintances who weren?t going the match.

It got to about 7:20pm and getting twitchy I politely asked him a few times to get a move on as we had to get to the ground. He was having none of it, insisting we unnecessarily joined up with his mates for a ?quick pint? as they moved next door. You know the drill with drunken people when you're sober.

Getting to the next bar, ordering and then drinking a drink just can?t be done in that messy state and so it was about 7:35pm when we finally were able to get a move on. Unfortunately, at this time, finding a taxi was just a nightmare, not helped by Simo knocking randomly on car windows asking people to give us a lift to the ground. Wasting time, the clock ticking away?yep, I was getting angry.

Eventually, we got in a cab to the ground but then of course got caught in traffic. We jumped out when the ground was within sight and made a dart for it. In doing so, I went ballistic at Simo as I just couldn?t contain my fury. This catapulted into an absolute rage when a big cheer erupted from inside the ground followed by the chant of ?Everton?Everton?. Exactly what I was trying to explain what would happen? happened.

Nevertheless, we headed towards the ground. The girl at the turnstyle informed us Distin had scored though of course this wasn?t true as I was later informed Cahill had found the net with a typical header from a Coleman cross.

Everton appeared in bullish mood for this one. Amongst my frustration in the taxi I?d checked the team news and was a little surprised to see Anichebe given the nod up front, with Osman in to replace the injured Pienaar. Man City?s tidy play was well disrupted by the Everton midfield whilst the defense, led by Jagielka were stubbornly resolute. We even managed the benefit of a two goal cushion when I think Anichebe pulled out wide and played a ball into the box for Cahill, whom knocked it back for Baines to slot home right-footed. I didn?t miss this one. 2-0. Get in!

We defended a little deep following this and Man City carved out a couple of good chances with Silva finding the side-netting and Balotelli volleying harmlessly over from a corner. There were more opportunities for Man City in the half but Everton?s stubborn defense held firm and we went into the break 2-0 to the good. The only other moments of note in the half were a harsh booking for Fellaini and a non-booking for Milner following a rash challenge on Anichebe. I think Peter Walton got those incidents mixed up. Osman had an opportunity to score also when he intercepted a pass and stormed forward, only for his shot to deflect comfortably for Hart in the end. We enjoyed the half time beer, with me now much more relaxed and Simo now in over-apologetic mood.

Man City made a change at the break, swapping one England international for another (Johnson on for Milner). There was plenty more backs-to-the-wall stuff in the second period but Everton appeared to be seeing the game out. Anichebe was incredibly booked for trying to charge down a Joe Hart clearance even though the England keeper seemed to be asking the referee not to book Anichebe for the challenge. This proved costly for Vic. Just as Saha was getting readied to replace him he got himself sent off for a rash challenge on Zaballeta. Worthy of a yellow yes, but how the first one was a booking I just don?t know.

So from backs-to-the-wall to everything-to-the-wall, Everton?s commitment to defense was exemplary. Howard made some great saves, Jagielka and Distan got themselves in the way of everything as Everton clinged on. Man City did finally make their breakthrough with the help of an own goal from Jagielka, deflecting a Yaya Toure shot past Howard and into the net. 2-1, 20 minutes to go with 10 men?this seemed desperate.

Moyes called for the cavalry and it was some wise substitutions by the Scot with the shattered Osman being replaced by Bilyaletdinov and Saha replacing Coleman. Everton had to dig deeper.

We certainly got that good fortune we?ve perhaps been missing when Balotelli got himself through on goal and dinked the ball past Howard. I thought he?d scored and was amazed when the ball came back off the post and Howard made a couple of great stops to keep us a goal to the good.

Just when it seemed we were finally shutting up shop, Jagielka was subbed (presumably with an injury). With Heitinga apparently injured and Yobo away on loan, it was left to Tony Hibbert to plug the defensive gap.

The clock ticked down and you just knew Everton had done it when Yaya Toure got himself sent off for two cynical fouls in quick succession, first on Distin, and then on Bilyaletdinov. Needless to say, the final whistle was greeted by fabulous applause from the Everton support. Simo and I got the bus back to Manchester Piccadilly and enjoyed a couple of beers before getting a lift home from the missus.

I?ve now forgiven Simo? but don?t think I?ll be taking him to the game again. I suppose I?ve now forgiven Everton also for last week's stalemate against Wigan. I refuse to get carried away but we better had beat Birmingham on Boxing Day now after this result.

Birmingham City (h); West Ham United (a); Stoke City (a). Seven points minimum please.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Made some super saves. 9
  • Baines: Nicely taken goal and was nice and positive throughout, if a little lax in defense at times perhaps. 7
  • Jagielka: An absolute rock. I feared the worst when he came off injured though thankfully he?d done enough. My man of the match. 9
  • Distin: Superb. 8
  • Neville: Fine. 6
  • Fellaini: Put himself about. 7
  • Rodwell: A bit hit and miss but certainly put his shift in. 6
  • Osman: An industrious performance from
  • Osman. Good to have him back. 6
  • Coleman: I?ve since seen Cahill?s header, so a lovely set up for the first goal though he wilted at times in the second period before subbed. 6
  • Cahill: One goal, one assist and battled very, very hard. A leadership performance. 8
  • Bilyaletdinov: He did enough to suggest to me he may be about ready for a starting place. 6
  • Saha: Used the ball well and put himself about. 7
  • Hibbert: Thankfully wasn?t really called upon to do much. 6

Reader Comments

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Guy Wilkinson
1   Posted 21/12/2010 at 07:04:18

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Good report.
Chris Perry
2   Posted 21/12/2010 at 08:16:35

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Guy Wilikinson! Of Kingsley Fame. Wow that brings back some memories of watching Everton. Not particually good at times, but certainly better than what we get served up now!
KPR Williams
3   Posted 21/12/2010 at 08:38:21

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Dont you hate pissed mates when you're stone cold sober...

Nice write-up.
Tony I'Anson
4   Posted 21/12/2010 at 09:01:21

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Paul, quality. 9 points from next 3 games are a must for me.
Charlie Percival
5   Posted 21/12/2010 at 09:16:00

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Can we play Citeh every week? Do you think if we actually had a stadium like Citeh, Emirates etc we would play better at home? Is Goodison a reason for our poor performances?

I'm clutching at straws but if we had a league of just the top ten teams we would probably win the league.
Peter Bourke
6   Posted 21/12/2010 at 09:20:27

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The only thing i would change is to use Tim Cahill as an impact sub... I mean, besides his goals and work rate, and totally upsetting the opposition, what does he do??
FFS... this subject deserves a post on its own but to be honest I couldn't be bothered going through everything Tim Cahill does for this club and I'm sick of defending Timmy when some moron comes on here knocking the blue legend.

He has touch, he has skill, he scores goals, he runs all day, every team we play hates playing against him... YET, unbelievably, some people who think they know a bit about football come on this site saying he hasn't got this or he hasn't got that.

I've bitten my tongue long enough... this guy is an Everton Legend... END OF

Brian Lawlor
7   Posted 21/12/2010 at 09:41:25

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Paul - you didn't give Anichebe a rating?

Personally, I'd give him a 6. I was dissapointed to see him get the nod as our lone striker and despite at times during the game working hard, there were other times when he wasn't on his toes to react to second balls, showed a really heavy touch and made three rash challenges which ultimately got him sent off and almost cost us the game. Of all the strikers on our books, he's the last one I'd pick.

For me, the rest of the team were superb in particular, Distin, Howard and Fellaini.
Andrew Fair
8   Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:34:53

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Agree on Bily. I think when he comes on as sub he does his duties very well. Not sure if he's ready to start but I hope he comes good. I know City were tired but the way he skipped past their players until Kolo took him out was very encouraging, All positive at the moment obviously ? now let's beat Brum, West Ham and Stoke.
James Cadwaladr
9   Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:37:10

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Peter @ 5: HEAR, HEAR!
David Hodgson
10   Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:40:22

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Great report, Paul, always look forward to yours especially. I like to hear what goes on 'behind the scenes' with your match reports rather than just hear about the game sometimes!

Peter Bourke (#5) ? I agree 100% with everything you just said, I fucking love that man with the same amount of passion he loves our great club!

ps: What a result last night, so proud to be a blue this morning, let's kick on!

Dick Fearon
11   Posted 21/12/2010 at 10:31:10

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Peter (#5), I hear what you say but in my opinion you do not do Tim justice. Long ago he left legendary status behind and now has a place among Everton's immortals.
Liam Reilly
12   Posted 21/12/2010 at 11:12:32

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Cahill IMO, is the most important player Moyes has brought to the club, bar none.
His doubters will get their wish in January when he's off to the Asian Cup and we'll see if the football improves (or indeed, the goals).
Trevor Lynes
13   Posted 21/12/2010 at 12:15:22

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You forgot to rate Victor who played well up front on his own... he was worth at least a 7.
Peter Norris
14   Posted 21/12/2010 at 12:25:36

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Paul ? great report. Great team goal from Bainsey by the way. COYB
Nick Entwistle
15   Posted 21/12/2010 at 13:14:00

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I like your reports Paul, especially the pre match activities, but there's no post match malarky... any chance? Unless of course it's straight to bed without supper!
Chris Perry
16   Posted 21/12/2010 at 13:43:50

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Guy Wilikinson. Probably better than the games we watched, especially the Plymouth away FA Cup game!
Guy Wilkinson
17   Posted 21/12/2010 at 14:17:50

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Victor led the line well until he was booked for a non-event collision with Hart. Weak referee.
Greg Murphy
18   Posted 21/12/2010 at 14:44:54

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Lovely work, Paul.
Simon King
19   Posted 21/12/2010 at 14:47:07

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Leighton Baines... England's number one left back................

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/dec/21/readers-premier-league-team-season-so-far

Say no more!!

Simon Gilmovitch
20   Posted 21/12/2010 at 14:47:59

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I was dismayed today at lunch time when I logged on to the BBC Sport website. I was hoping to see our heroic victory over Shitty splashed across the pages with a suitable victorious headline, only to find the leading article to be about Teves (again) then Denis Wise and then Geordie Carroll. What the fuck is going on?
David Holroyd
21   Posted 21/12/2010 at 17:15:38

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Can we put this Cahill thing to bed for those who say he can't do this or that, did you see that lay off for Baines's goal? He scores goals, covers every blade of grass, gives every defender nightmares... don't forget he is up against players who are five or six inches taller than him.

City last night were a bunch of moaning bastards, especially Barry who moaned at every decision that went against them. Moyes said last season they have no class ? he was right.

David Hallwood
22   Posted 21/12/2010 at 20:35:55

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Simon King#19, the Guardian report had a number of stats, one of them that might surprise the glass half empty tendancy of TW is shots per game:

1st Chelsea 14.0
2nd Arsenal 13.1
3rd Spurs 12.5
4th Man U 11.8
5th Everton 11.6

So to all those that say that all teams have sussed our tactics out, if so, it doesn't stop us getting a hatful of chances, what might have been with an in-form striker...

Lee Courtliff
23   Posted 21/12/2010 at 22:08:02

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I would love to see a goals-per-point ratio rather than a goals-per-game ratio. Just to see who scores the BIG goals. The ones that really matter, when it's nil-nil or you are losing by the odd goal. It's all well and good scoring five in one game but if your team wins 6-0, you could argue that 4 of them meant nothing as you would still have won 2-0.

I realise that you have to kill games off and put teams to the sword, of course, occasionally goal difference comes into play. However, I still believe that any manager would prefer a player who scores big goals rather than one who puts the gloss on games that are already won.

Step forward, Mr Tim Cahill ? in his time with us he has scored 65 goals in all competitions. He has never scored a hat-trick for us and he has bagged a brace in only 4/5 games. That means he has found the net in over 50 seperate matches. Give me him over Berbatov any day of the week.

Tim Cahill is the best value for money signing in Premier League history, in my opinion. My Dad swears to this day that, when we signed him, Moyes was on the radio saying that we should NOT expect to see too much of him in the first team! You got that one wrong, Davey boy.

To all those who still say we should drop Cahill ? what more can you ask from a player than passion, commitment, workrate, goals, BIG goals, a fair amount of skill and the ability to wind up opposition players and fans?

I suppose we could sign some mega-money mercenary who does a few fancy tricks and then falls over. It's ok though because he has a fancy exotic name and he does some modelling so we get to see him on the TV quite a lot, "boosting the profile of our club"!!

Wake up! ? Tim Cahill is a legend. A True Blue. In Tim We Trust. Well I do anyway.COYB.

Carlos Camacho
24   Posted 21/12/2010 at 23:30:50

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Can we talk more about Howard's performance? He was like the old Brad Fredal playing aginst ManU.
Craig Taylor
25   Posted 22/12/2010 at 02:58:51

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It's not often you receive an email from an ex-girlfriend. However, I opened my e.mails to day to find one.

I couldn't understand why she was, jokingly, having a go about ruining a big nght for her family last night. Her uncle Gary was all for celebrating she said.

Then I realised, her surname is Cook. She is the niece of Gary Cook. I went out with her years ago whilst he was working for NIke.

Anyway, I pointed out that the Lescott thing was a disgrace, and asked if she could have a word about Adebeyor and Santa Cruz on loan. For old times sake!!!!

David Cooper
26   Posted 22/12/2010 at 06:54:07

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In the spirit of Christmas (which certainly looked up after beating Man City) I am writing to seek help from fellow Blues who follow our beloved team from a far via TV.

Much as I would love to be at the games in person, the only way is to switch between about 3 different TV stations to watch the Blues. Until quite recently, I would make every effort to watch the game live and suffer the highs and lows that watching Everton always requires. Every now and then, I can't watch it live so have to tape it... which does have its benefits that I can fast forward through the pre-match and half-time crap.

However, yesterday, having to do my share of Christmas shopping, I started watching the match on tape after it had finished... making sure that I didn't inadvertently get the result. So, to all intents and purposes, I am watching it live. Expecting the worst, I am pleasantly surprised when Tiger Tim gets on a Seamus's cross and we are 1 up after 5 mins... then I begin to feel my pulse rate go up, my hands become clammy... can I manage to watch the next 85 minutes as we desperately try to hold on to a one-goal lead.

Then I realise I have a choice... why sit here in doubt and fear for the best part of 2 hours when I can fast forward it through to the end and get the final result? Win, lose or draw there will be less pain... Now, up until this moment, I have NEVER in my life taken this easy option... but now I hear that little voice inside my head "go on... hit FF"....

So I do... I get to 20 minutes in a second... and see we are 2-0 up with a wonder goal from Bainsey and breathe a huge sigh of relief... but I am compelled to hit the FF again until I notice in the 60th minute we are down to 10 men and under the cosh... Again, I give in... flying past Jags own goal until the 94th minute and the final result.... a win!!!! Breathing returns to normal. Big grin... the cat survives for another day.

Now, in the comfort of knowing the end result, I sit back and watch the match again.... no nerves... no anxiety, even when City score, and we hang on... even when Hibbo comes on to replace Jags. I am calm and at peace with the world...

But, after these warm feelings, I begin to question myself... am I less than a true Blue for taking the easy way out.. should I suffer like everyone else who watches the match in real time? Am I any less of a supporter... but have I finally lost my bottle after 50 years????

If anyone else suffers from these worrying symptoms can they please reply?

Merry Christmas to one and all!!!!

James Cadwaladr
27   Posted 22/12/2010 at 07:01:48

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Good to see that Everton players haven't taken to the snood phenomenon but Louis ? What the fuck was that on your head last night?

Answers on a postcard please!

David Thomas
28   Posted 22/12/2010 at 09:40:23

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Lee Courtliff,

Brilliant, brilliant post. Agree with every word. Anyone questioning Cahill's role in the team should not be commenting on football in my opinion.
Laurie Hartley
29   Posted 22/12/2010 at 09:41:26

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David Cooper - I suffer from the same symptoms - I call this the Foxtel Syndrome. COTB
Lee Courtliff
30   Posted 22/12/2010 at 13:07:01

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Cheers, David Thomas. I have been thinking that for a long, long time now. Tim must be the best BIG goalscorer in the league. Or at least in the top 3/4. And we didn't have to play in pink. Great night.
Paul Wharton
31   Posted 23/12/2010 at 13:34:53

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Paul
Thanks for doing the match reports and all the best for Xmas and the New Year.
Dick Fearon
32   Posted 24/12/2010 at 19:08:33

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In the back blocks of this land down under, we are able via live TV to watch every Everton game. Most times it means setting the alarm for god awful hours. It is the same for fans of any other PL team.

What is disapointing is that before every Liverpool home game we are 'treated' to a full length rendition with banners flying of Marsden's yankee dirge lifted from Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Little Gerry with his outsize guitar on the top deck of a green goddess would give us a song when he came to watch us play for the Belvidere Boys Club. Even in those far off days, it was obvious that his future was in entertainment.

After seeing him singing that song in person at Anfield, my thoughts were, what a bloody turncoat and should we ever meet again I would tell him that to his face. The Gerry I used to know was a passionate bluenose and we shared that passion. At least in my case, it really was Once a Blue etc.

Wandering as I have down memory lane caused me to wander away from what this letter is about. Lately, Liverpool have been known world wide for disgraceful back room shenanigans and on field strife. Their supporters are torn this way and that and wondering which way the club is heading but they are all united with that song.

Is it not possible for millions of viewers around the world to hear the bells and pipes of our very own Merseyside born theme from Z-Cars as our players run out.

As with the song of our dear neighbours, such things have everything to do with promoting the club.

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