COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY
True Grit. The real Vanilla remake.
3.30 breakfast and hit the road, not the best of starts to watch a footy match but hell it?s the cup and the Blues are involved. Still, get there and park and await whatever outcome. 6,000 tickets sold and I reckon more than that had made the trip and a good number had got in. The money making scam of last week was dropped this week as the correct team was beamed to our mobiles and showed Beckford up front and Jags in for Heitinga plus Osman out left in place of Bilyaletdinov. I mention this because last week we had a wrong line up text to us and then amended and they charged us twice, still while money is short every little helps.
The game started and in truth apart from the players? willingness to show endeavour after last week?s debacle it was a bit of a stalemate although we did press and get the backs forward but Beckford found little room to worry the Chelsea back two especially with little or no support resulting in yet another moan about cutting edge.
The home side did look dangerous without threatening until from a set piece that was headed against his own post by Jags, we cleared but that effort seemed to energise Chelsea more and the legs of Howard denied them the opener. Then the eternal diver Drogba went down with the slightest if any touch and you would have thought he would have been out for months rather than minutes.
Of course it was minutes and you do wonder why football puts up with such feigners. Chelsea were now more or less on top without really producing much and we broke when we could but such was the gap between striker and provider it was occasional balls into the box that threatened but ultimately came to nothing.
Chelsea as ever were willing to try anything to break us down and a through ball to Ramires into the box saw Howard make a dash and a sprawl which allowed Ramires to dive but The ref Mr Dowd was up with it and booked the man for diving much to the delight of those faithful in attendance. H/T arrived and most thought 0-0 was ok; it was all on field chat rather than any recrimination for off field activities.
Second half and Chelsea responded by replacing Mikel with Essien and showing their growing frustration at their inability to break us down. They did go for it and we were under the cosh for lengthy spells and until we weathered that storm Drogba had free kicks either picked up by Howard or headed wide. We did fashion a couple of chances when Osman headed goalwards but straight at Cech and then from a good run by Coleman his final ball appeared to go behind Beckford who could no more than scuff off target.
Chelsea came at us again and at times it was akin to the Alamo and we needed to applaud Howard for one stop to deny Lampard and other keystone cop moments involving all and sundry to ensure parity. Cahill had taken some knocks for the team and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Bilyaletdinov. We never laid down and from a Bilyaletdinov cross Coleman headed straight at Cech. We then replaced Beckford with Anichebe and fair play the faithful welcomed him to the fray and he almost repaid the faith when being just short of connecting with a Bilyaletdinov cross. At the other end Lampard chipped over when all assembled thought a goal was on.
The clock was ticking down and from a nothing move the excellent Baines cut in and fired goalwards, Cech had the ball bounce off him and Fellaini prodded home. With the word goal in the throat the realisation that it had been chalked off for offside was hard to bear by all. Final whistle and I have to admit our lads looked goosed with little more to give. Moyes and Round were animated and physio?s overworked and from the off of the extra time we were under the cosh.
Lampard soon put the home side ahead and the game fell flat as the Londoners seemed content with cruise control. Heitinga had been introduced for Osman but seemed unsure of his role but none the less no one was giving up and a blood soaked Jags was sent forward to join Fellaini. We did what we could but without looking likely until right on the death Jags was hauled down and Baines had positive words with Arteta and it was indeed the former who prevailed. Thank God he did as his free kick from beyond the box?s edge was of postage stamp accuracy and gave Cech no chance as it nestled top corner. Now I have been to many matches but that sheer outpouring was something else.
Penalties were now required and who knows. Chelsea score and up steps Baines, he of the superlative free kick, he misses, Misery. Drogba scores, more misery. Jags scores- hope. Howard saves from Anelka, belief. Arteta evens up, more belief. Essien and Heitinga score, no change. Up steps Cole via a slight nudge from the retreating Heitinga (good on yer Johnny) and misses.
Heart in mouth time. Capt Pip steps up, places the ball, retreats little more than a yard, some turn their backs, some cover their eyes, some stoically wait. Whistle goes-Pip fires ?cue the party of parties since semi-final day. Whatever the troubles of the club don?t mither us today as we all came together, celebrated and if we were kept back no-one noticed. Wherever and how you watched it I hope you enjoyed but I doubt it could have matched that player/fan adulation that somehow happens from time to time.
Many will say and perhaps with some justification that today?s result merely papers over cracks but I tell you this 14 players, manager and some 7,000 travelling Blues won?t give a damn and will be fired up for next Saturday and then believe the worry beads can be put away until next season.?but who knows?. Ah the beauty of footy.
Overall not perhaps the best of matches, maybe a game between two underperforming teams at the present but just maybe the winners can be galvanized to have an upturn in fortunes.
M.O.tM is always popular and my vote would be for Baines with Howard, Jags, Distin and Fellaini being in contentio
Today I thought that maybe apart from ?Up front man? and maybe flank players we have some quality and until such time as the club can resolve things then we have what we have and hope the quality we have allied to effort and spirit can compensate and produce, just like today, a win in the remaining games of this season and beyond.
All will be revealed game on game. See you next week.
UP THE BLUES.
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1 Posted 20/02/2011 at 06:03:19
Reading the doom & gloom on the TW matchday forum with 3 minutes, tt was nothing short of miraculous to come back to TW and look at the result. Great result, but will this kick start the season ... again ? We have had many false dawns this season - coming back from 2 goals down against ManU in injury time, beating the stars of Man City away with 10 men .... etc. Will this 1 more of them ?
The case must now be strong to bring Baines further up to play Left Wing, and play a back 4 of Neville, Jags, Heitinga & Distin. The rest of the team:
Fella & Rodwell in Centre Midfield, Arteta right wing (sorry, no Coleman), Cahill & Saha in their usual roles. Coleman, Billy, Becks, Osman, Anichebe, to try and change things around.
2 Posted 20/02/2011 at 06:43:41
On slightly different topic, Ajay #1, mentions the TW match forum.
I was deprived of TV coverage so for the first time I turned to the forum for news. I ended up even more frustrated than before and desperately searched out other sources of information.
It was obvious that contributors to the forum were following the game on TV.
Snippets such as, 'That was a bloody disgraceful tackle by that wanker', etc, gives no indication of who 'that wanker' is or who it was that suffered from the disgraceful tackle or where on the field it happened.
It would be good if forum contributors were aware that many others cannot see what they are seeing.
3 Posted 20/02/2011 at 07:34:12
Oh and call back Vaughn and Yakubu, for God's sake.
4 Posted 20/02/2011 at 08:18:36
Dealing with him was candy off a baby for Terry.
I think he would be a much better proposition with a twin striker.
5 Posted 20/02/2011 at 09:41:31
I thought Johnny's "love pat" on Cole was precious. As much as Baines played very well today, in my opinion, Howard earned his wages for the stops that kept us in the game and was my MotM. However, great team effort all round.
It was a superb day for Evertonians and I was so proud of the thousands who packed the Bridge to support our lads. My only hope now is that we get Saha fit and ready for action sooner rather than later.
6 Posted 20/02/2011 at 10:14:24
Looking forward, I do worry that this may be another false dawn. This team seems to be able to raise itself and perform (or at least get a result) in the games against the perceieved 'big clubs'. Look at the Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham and Man Utd games this season. But then we play the perceived 'lesser lights' such as Wolves, Stoke, Bolton etc and we've often fallen woefully short. The players need to take the level of commitment and the same attitude into the Sunderland game and make sure the result is positive. We have no devine right to beat them, so the team (and fans?) should not go into complacently expecting three points.
7 Posted 20/02/2011 at 09:31:45
Evertonians never cease to amaze me,
Last week was unbearable, we`d stunk the Reebok out, Administration was muted, we were in a relegation battle, we had no strikers... so please somebody explain to me where all that confidence came from?
"We`ll do these today" me mates lad said when I picked them up, "yes I know" his arl fella said. WTF?
We were on the bones of our arses playerwise, we were having a weston of a season and we were travelling to the home of the double winners, yet when we met up with our party everybody else was convinced this was to be our day too, the mood was one of celebration, I felt like everybody knew something I didnt..
Inside the ground was no different; unlike at Bolton, nobody was going to suffer in silence, Everton's support was incredible, fist shaking fans demanded defiance from the first whistle and the players responded.
This day will stay with me, not because of the quality of football but because of Everton's support, even when Chelsea fans finally found their voices to taunt "You're not singing anymore" after going ahead, the response was deafening, but it was during the injury time talks that I knew we`d win. Ancelloti and Chelsea looked confident and as Ken says, we looked... err, tired.
Moyes was animated but, if he needed help, it was at hand... the thousands of Evertonians rose as one with an unshakable, logic-defying belief that we would finish the job, banging the seats, clapping their hands, shaking their fists as "We shall not be moved" rang out... I thought the stand would come down.
Magnificent, marvellous, inspirational... call it what you want... but if anybody ever tells me again that fans can't influence a game, I will laugh in their face.
8 Posted 20/02/2011 at 10:57:41
Yesterday took me back to Villa Park in the 1980s when we had played awful against Luton Town with a far more accomplished team than the one out there yesterday. At that game, one goal from a free kick went in and then another and we shouted ourselves silly from Birmingham to Merseyside.
Until recently, I had the Radio City commentary of that game on an old worn cassette and when I felt down after another uninspiring home loss or a knockout by a team of minnows, I'd play it to remind me why I still followed this sometimes cruel and merciless with the emotions game.
Make no mistake about it ? this match will burn into the memories of a generation of Evertonians who were 'there', who got behind the team and willed an unlikely victory against all the odds.
This is the day David slew Goliath, this is the day pennies beat billions of roubles, this is the day 'honest' Phil Neville beat diving injury feigning bastard Drogba. This is the day 6,000 lunatics who didn't know they were beat transmitted their belief to 11 weary and down players and lifted their spirits ? Leighton Baines, surely the best left peg at our club since Sheedy!
Everton's debt: £47 million and rising ? less than the Russian paid for Torres... As some wag in the Guardian put it yesterday: 'The only rat to join a sinking ship'.
We're Everton; we're still in the shit; we're probably going to be selling our best players in the summer to keep going; we've an old fashioned ground and old fashioned support ? but yesterday was our 'day of days'.
Long may it continue.
9 Posted 20/02/2011 at 11:37:35
10 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:00:53
11 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:21:08
Have to disagree with Tony #10, I thought Arteta was poor again, too many displaced passes and backward moves and he looked nackered at the end of the 90 minutes. Thank God he didn't take the free kick and left it to Bainsey. Also good on Heitinga, helped us win and beat a team which is full of cheating little shits.
12 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:15:37
I thought during the match that if we had Drogba who holds the ball up so well instead of Rebound Anichebe or Bouncy Beckford, we would have won in normal time. We where useless in the last third and if we think we've turned a corner we're sadly mistaken.
Moyes must look again at the Brazilians and build the team around 2 defensive midfielders in Felliani & Rodwell , drop Coleman into the right back slot and let Arteta , Bily and Cahill/ Osman support Saha (although I would bring the Yak back in place of Vic).
13 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:28:45
After their posturing and diving Chelski can hardly complain about Heitingas gentle shirt front.
14 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:35:50
15 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:28:43
Different to Micheals report yesterday, but to be fair, Micheal is concerned with the big picture and amidst the great feeling we have now, it's something we all have to focus on.
We know the fans give special support, it was immense and if it somehow makes just 1% difference to a game then Saturday was that day.
16 Posted 20/02/2011 at 10:10:57
17 Posted 20/02/2011 at 13:03:50
18 Posted 20/02/2011 at 12:57:01
On a sour note, I agree about centre-mid, at the start of the season I thought it was shaping up to be the best in the country, but shaky defensively and not too good attacking wise, I'm trying to think of an instance when Fellaini or Arteta made a run into the box, they don't really seem to work well together. But then again we still haven't seen the best of the little Spaniard...
19 Posted 20/02/2011 at 13:32:24
Best away game in a long time, the atmosphere was amazing and the sight of Phil Neville giving the Chelsea fans that were left in the ground, a gentle 'salute' was pure poetry. :-)
We shall not be moved, indeed.
20 Posted 20/02/2011 at 14:06:49
Johnny H summed his game up for me yesterday: shits out of a couple of tackles and then plays the big man with the crowd and Cashley. I'm happy with his penalty and the barge but can't wait to see the back of him.
21 Posted 20/02/2011 at 14:32:53
Hard man? ? don't make me laugh; he shoulder-charged a puffter, fecking great that!
22 Posted 20/02/2011 at 14:39:50
23 Posted 20/02/2011 at 16:10:43
24 Posted 20/02/2011 at 16:48:02
Excellent result after riding our luck right through the match.
After viewing the pen claim live and then watching replay after replay, it could have gone either way, linesman wanted the pen the reff didn't, it's still hard to see whether Howard really touches the lad or not, but the fact he stepped over the keeper and took 2 or 3 steps beyond then fell down, looked for all the world to see like a dive in the box.
25 Posted 20/02/2011 at 16:58:18
26 Posted 21/02/2011 at 18:55:59
27 Posted 21/02/2011 at 21:39:19
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