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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Sunderland (H): Home comforts

By Paul Traill :  27/02/2011 :  Comments (0) :

Simo and his bro accompanied the usual clan for this one. Simo is off to serve in Afghanistan in a few weeks. Not so similarly his brother is off to travel Australia in a few weeks so there was quite a big emphasis on having a few pre-game beers.

Sunderland were in town... and you always know when they are, such is the nuisance many of their fans seem to make of themselves. One Mackem near us in the pub was so drunk you wondered if he was even going to get into the ground.

Get into the ground we did... albeit slightly later than usual? we could hear Z-Cars just as we walked past the church. Saha fit again and replacing Cahill in the starting line up. We attacked the Gwladys Street in the first half and pretty much went for it from the off, Beckford getting himself on the scoresheet early on after a pass from Osman. Whether Beckford?s goal remains on the scoresheet once the ?Dubious Goals Panel? have taken a good look at it remains to be seen?it looked a pretty obvious Bramble own-goal to me.

If there?s any doubt about the first goal there was certainly no question about Beckford?s second goal which he stroked / scuffed home with his left foot following an excellent surge into the box by Arteta. That was 2-0 seven minutes before half time and we were able to really enjoy our half-time Chang. I?m glad I rarely bother with the half-time beer as that Chang stuff is so strong it hits me for six. The only worrying moment of the half was when a defensive mix-up presented Sessegon with a very good opportunity but Howard was thankfully equal to it to tip it onto the crossbar.

The second half kind of passed me by as it was all so comfortable for Everton. I think it?s the first game all season when I?ve actually been able to sit back and simply enjoy the match, confident we had the points in the bag. Was a nice feeling and hopefully one we can replicate a few more times this season. Osman twice came close to scoring which would have added a little bit of gloss on the scoreline but two goals and a clean sheet certainly made for a satisfactory afternoon for all concerned.

Naturally it came at a price with Fellaini and Beckford both coming off with injuries? hopefully not serious ones of course, though on the flip-side it was good to see Saha, Rodwell and Cahill all come back looking to have no ill-effects at all. After the match, we went back to The Brick for a few pints to watch the rugby before grabbing a beer in town and then all going our separate ways. Was a nice afternoon at the match, let's hope for a nice evening at the match on Tuesday and hopefully the secure passage into the FA Cup Quarter Finals.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: Not loads to do but crucially made an excellent save at 1-0 to keep us ahead. 7
  • Baines: The usual blend of defensive solidarity and attacking creativeness. 7
  • Distin: Looks much more comfortable alongside Jagielka than Heitinga. 7
  • Jagielka: My Man of the Match. Whilst we sat back a bit in the second half Jagielka had plenty of mopping up to do and did it superbly. 8
  • Neville: Fine. Solid. 7
  • Fellaini: Was doing well until coming off injured. Let?s hope that?s not a serious one. 7
  • Arteta: Excellent. Just like the Arteta of old. Hopefully he?ll keep it up. 8
  • Osman: Did very well. Created one and could have scored a couple. 7
  • Coleman: Looks tired and certainly needs a break. I?d have a look at playing Bilyaletdinov on the left, Osman on the right and just using Coleman as an impact sub for the most part of what?s left this season. 6
  • Saha: Very good in the first half. Faded in the second before being subbed for Bilyaletdinov. 7
  • Beckford: One goal, possibly two. I still don?t think Beckford looks a very good all round player. Some of his passing is atrocious but it is early days for him so he may get better. What he is though is a good goalscorer. Reminds me a little of Michael Owen in his early days, i.e. you won?t see much of him all game but he?ll pop up with a goal when given a chance. Let's hope his goalscoring continues. 8
  • Rodwell (for Fellaini): Got on with the game and did well. 7
  • Cahill (for Beckford): Good sub. Great nuisance value. 7
  • Bilyaletdinov (for Saha): Didn?t really offer much but not an easy time to come on and get into a game. 6

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