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Season 2011-12
COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Let's just take the points, eh!

By Paul Traill   ::  19/11/2011
 8 Comments (»Last)
With Ste on holiday it was just Sue, Gary and me for this one so I took the opportunity to drive to the game, parking up and into the pub for a cheeky couple watching Arsenal, or pretty much just Robin Van Persie, defeat Norwich to keep the pressure on the rest near the top?nearer the bottom we had more pressing matters at hand ? the must win game versus Wolverhampton Wanderers.

We got the team news in the pub and were all surprised to hear Rodwell and Distin were both absent with injuries. This meant Osman played central midfield with Heitinga continuing in defence alongside Jagielka. Fellaini also returned to replace the injured Neville. Kevin Doyle lead the line for Wolves with Stearman and Roger Johnson partnering at the back. Karl Henry and Stephen Hunt also featured in midfield. The unknown referee was Mr. Jon Moss. Following a nicely observed minute silence to remember those who fell on duty for our country, we attacked the Park End in the first half, or should I say Wolves attacked the Gwladys Street as Everton started nervously with Wolves seizing the initiative early and putting us under pressure from the off. It was quite a rancid start ? quite a rancid game as both teams scrapped away.

Our only early chance came when Saha volleyed into the ground with the impressive Hennessey tipping over the bar. After a dreadful start we seemed as though we were getting back into it a bit more when Fellaini clipped Edwards in the penalty area, down went the Wolves player for a penalty. Up stepped Hunt, smashing pretty much down the middle to give Wolves the lead. It was just as well Everton weren?t behind for long in this one as I think it could have made for quite an ugly atmosphere. As it was, Jagielka headed home a little fortuitously from a Baines free kick from our left ? the two England lads combining to good effect.

This got Everton going for what remained of the half and almost immediately Drenthe was bursting through at the Wolves defence only for Johnson to steam across with an excellent tackle. From the resultant corner, well, not directly from the resultant corner but within the momentum we?d built up, I thought we?d scored as Cahill looked set to score in front of goal but he was denied. The Park End roared for a penalty, Saha went mental at the referee though I was unable to tell what had happened from the Gwladys Stret end, so at half time it probably should have been better, though certainly could have been a whole lot worse as I sipped my half time Bovril.

The second half?I mightaswell cut straight to the end as that was total dross from both teams. Wolves were happy to defend, Everton were clueless with how to attack. Countless hoof balls, umpteen misplaced passes and a multitude of scrappy tackles rendered this game redundant. It was seriously terrible. We should have grabbed the winner earlier than we did do when Cahill contrived to hit the ball against a defender from roughly two yards out. From the rebound the ball was gathered by Hennessey who clattered into I think Johnson. Incredibly Wolves received a free kick for that. Cahill?s number was called shortly afterwards for Vellios as Everton finally stepped it up a gear, grabbing the winner when from a couple of successive corners Hunt pushed Saha as he steamed in to meet the corner and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. If truth be told, I didn?t believe for a second that Baines was going to score following his meek penalty in the Carling Cup versus Chelsea, but he took it well, sending Hennessey the wrong way and tucking the ball into the corner. Relief all round really.

Having defended what they had literally all half Wolves now went for it, coming closest when I think substitute Fletcher curled one just wide of the post though I think we were most terrified when Baines conceded a free kick in quite a threatening position though Wolves failed to capitalize and drifted it harmlessly wide. A few counter attacks later from ourselves and that was it. Full time and three points. Barely, possibly-maybe-slightly deserved but if ever we needed a win, any win, this was it on the back of the run of games we?ve just had?and with the run of games we have I?d take a few more of them if necessary before we start to see better performances. It?s all about the points at the moment.

Onwards and upwards eh!

Player Ratings:
Howard: Only really had the one shot at him and that was a penalty. Rather underworked. 6
Baines: Slotted his penalty home well. Defended well though didn?t get forward as much as he?d have liked. On the radio on the way back Graeme Sharpe but that down to him not trusting Drenthe to get back and fill positions when he?s needed. 6
Heitinga: So-so. Kept them at bay generally. 6
Jagielka: My man of the match. Far too much hoof ball for my liking yes but defensively he was top drawer and got on the scoresheet also. 7
Hibbert: Solid, but we all know of his attacking frailties. 6
Fellaini: Was poor in the first half but he got to grips with it in the second and got the better of Henry and co?eventually. 6
Drenthe: The odd flash of brilliance but some frustrating basic errors at times. Needs to gather come consistency if he?s to be a regular starter. Eventually subbed for Bilyaletdinov. 5
Osman: A bit hit and miss. Showed some lovely touches and turns at times but went missing at others. 6
Coleman: Didn?t quite go for it enough if you ask me. Still learning I suppose. Always positive though. 5
Cahill: If ever a player needed a tap in it was Cahill such is his lack of goals this year. Well he had the tap in and still missed and was then subbed. I hope this doesn?t shatter his already battered confidence further. He desperately needs a goal. 4
Saha: One of his more frustrating game. A few nice touches and clever bits of play but frustrating in the main. He just doesn?t look hungry enough to get into the box and score for me. Still, the best we have up there so we?ll have to persevere for now. 5

Substitutes:
Vellios (for Cahill): Put himself about a bit and caused them a few problems. 6
Bilyaletdinov (for Drenthe): Not on long hard to judge.
Stracqualursi (for Saha): Not on long hard to judge.

Reader Comments

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Rob Hollis
1   Posted 19/11/2011 at 23:14:11

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The team are dross. They have acquired the personality of the Manager.
Trevor Lynes
2   Posted 20/11/2011 at 01:00:58

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The current board will NOT buy any players unless we are in the bottom three in January.

The squad is threadbare and, as I have been saying ever since Lescott left, WE HAVE NO COVER FOR BAINES IF HE GETS INJURED!!!

I'm sick of the DROSS and losing interest in a club I have supported for donkey's years.
Dermot Ryan
3   Posted 20/11/2011 at 01:24:25

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Great result (not performance).

One whinge: Why bring on Bily, who can't defend for toffee, when we no longer need a goal and need to protect a lead? Who benefits from that? Certainly not Bily whose confidence must be in the toilet.
Peter Bradshaw
4   Posted 20/11/2011 at 01:55:04

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Drenthe was our only attacking outlet, he ran at the defence, put some great crosses in. The problem was we don't get enough bodies into the box.

Safety first shit from Moyes, Wolves's odd corner for example; everyone back, the ball is belted out and just comes straight back.

Anyone can see that Vellios should have started alongside Saha, and Tim come on as an impact sub when the defence was tiring.

Your scores for the players show you must have been watching a different game... Osman a higher rating than Drenthe? ? unreal... Osman was left behind like the referee's whistle in the second half, nowhere to be seen.
Ian Kearney
5   Posted 20/11/2011 at 09:38:09

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Agree with you Peter, thought Drenthe was the pick of our players, constantly looking to create. Osman was nowhere, in his preferred position against weaker opposition.
Jon Cox
6   Posted 20/11/2011 at 11:37:26

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So, we're 2-1 up Wolves throw caution to the wind, we need a pacey guy who can at least keep the ball, so we take off Drenthe and replace him with Bily.

That has to rate with Rodwell playing wide right mid.

You couldn't make it up.
Howard Don
7   Posted 20/11/2011 at 18:51:48

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Peter (4) We were saying the same thing on the way home - it has to be time to start Vellios wilth Saha. Someone pointed out Saha prefers to be that bit deeper and Timmy is at his best when coming from deep so end result is not enough predatory presence in the penalty area. Vellios, for all that he's a bit raw, still is an out-and-out striker, it's got to be worth a go with him and Saha. Timmy coming on as an impact sub sounds good to me.
Dick Fearon
8   Posted 20/11/2011 at 22:30:30

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Money or no money, Moyes should be thoroughly ashamed of what his team serve up on a regular basis.

I was flabberghasted when he put Bily on at that stage, there was no sense or reason in it.

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