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Season 2011-12
COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Tamworth (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  07/01/2012
 32 Comments (Last)
We are through to the next round and, in FA cup terms ,nothing else matters. A gate of 27,564 ? of which approx 4,500 were from the West Midlands ? means we still have a hard core of some 21,000 which I suppose isn?t bad considering our recent performances and the perceived position of our club being one of negative progression.

The team and subs as texted through were acceptable considering our position on the injury front and were expected to be enough to see off the Conference?s 15th placed team. Before the game I met up with some Tamworth fans who stumbled across our local boozer and they told me their average gate was around 1,500 so to have brought 4,500 fans shows that the FA Cup still has appeal outside of the closeted arena of ?Premier League rules all? It meant something to those fans and fair play they showed it throughout.

We took the field resplendent in white tracky tops and the time of applause for Gary Ablett was celebrated by all. 46 years of age and struck down by such a condition left me applauding along with respect for Gary for those with no profile that we never hear of yet the heartache will be no different for their nearest and dearest and friends.

The game started with us well in control and within five mins we forced a corner which was taken superbly by our on loan Yank Donavon. It eluded keeper Collister a life time Blue and found the head of Heitinga who unerringly found the net. The celebrations were OK but of the ?We expected this? nature. We continued on top and the keeper blocked well from Big Vic and then Bilyaletdinov blazed well over from no more than 15 yards.

The recently acquired McFadden had chances to score his first goal since August 2010; first he headed wide and then after a cheeky back heel from Bilyaletdinov fired just wide of the post.

We looked comfortable but that feeling of needing a second goal was never far from the mind yet you could not see it coming as we did OK so far but things just petered out at the business end. Tamworth seemed to take heart from our hesitancy and roared on by their faithful tried hard and on the half hour mark this nearly paid off when Patterson was allowed to run to the edge of our box and his shot was close to the post, fortunately the wrong side but none the less a warning. According to the proey he was a team-mate of Landon at LA Galaxy and tested us again by firing straight at Howard and the faithful started to get a touch agitated and let our lads know.

The half ended and whilst well on top many bemoaned our lack of convincing firepower but a glance at the subs suggested little would change.

The second half started much the same as the first finished with us on top but without that final ball and clinical finish. What we didn?t want was any more injuries but after less than a quarter of an hour Fellaini went down in some discomfort after a true Conference tackle and many held their breath.

After treatment he was up and made his way to the touchline and it was only then that I noticed Coleman being led off limping in a way that suggested six weeks and Baines being thrown on. I hope the lad is less of a worry than my assessment. It is always strange to me how long subs warm up before we make them and it may be for a very good reason yet when Coleman came off Baines went straight on with no prolonged warm up and as far as I could tell was none the worse for it. Fellaini came back on and looked OK.

We played on but without much quality which leads to not much conviction but it was enough to remain in the box seat. Just before the 80min mark we at last put some joined up stuff together and the combination of Baines and Donovan down the left suggested that is something the manager can work on as they combined to set up Bilyaletdinov who shot well but it was beaten away by that pesky Blue Collister.

Drenthe replaced McFadden on 65mins and Denis replaced Big Vic on 75mins. Drenthe appeared to be playing on roller skates as he cut in and fell over a few times. As far as Denis goes ? well if you are a fan of his well OK but I am bewildered as to how we have signed him. Is Sven a better judge than our man?

On 80mins Drenthe once again cut in and appeared to be brought down in the box and the Ref. agreed and pointed to the spot. If I am honest from my seat it looked a little soft. Bilyaletdinov, Heitinga and Baines contested the take but Baines prevailed. The Blue fan keeper watched Baines place the ball then strode out and squirted water onto the ball, the Ref. noticed this and booked him. You think you have seen it all then this.

Just like the keeper at WBA daft tricks don?t seem to faze Baines who merely took it all in his stride, stepped up and plonked it home with keeper going the wrong way.. 2-0 thank you and good night. Donovan still had time to make it 3-0 when he strode forward and from some 25 yards crashed a shot of the angle of post and bar with the keeper well beaten. That would have ben some goal.

Final whistle and fans made their way out of the ground with a philosophical air?were through. One thing throughout the game that puzzled me was that Phil Neville was booed throughout the game by the Tamworth fans. What could he have done to upset a Conference side when he has never played at that level. Could it be that most of the support was made up of West Midland clubs supporters rather than their own?

MotM ? Heitinga?He scored and was untroubled throughout.

Overall ? A good day out. A few pints in good company, an FA Cup win and in the draw for the next round and all our ills can wait till Tuesday night. Now that could be hairy but hey who knows this is footy after all and even the Conference didn?t look that far away from the Prem at times today.

The hard core reminded us "We are on the way with Moyes?s army" plus the "Davy" song and the odd "EV-ER-TON, EV-ER-TON"; other than that, the atmosphere was yet again akin to a Library. Yet just five more cup wins and we are winners.... Can we?

See you Tuesday ? worry beads in hand!!!

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Dick Fearon
1   Posted 07/01/2012 at 22:46:46

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Being unable to catch the game on TV I was wondering how Bily went at centre mid. Many on this board have said that is his best position. Did he live up to their expectations?
Mark Riding
2   Posted 07/01/2012 at 23:36:53

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A few seconds of highlights on ITV.. no mention of Gary Ablett.. no interviews.. no images of their goalie being a tit about the penalty.. no story cos we won..
Oh, Dick, Billy was shite ( surprised face )...
Paul Ferry
3   Posted 08/01/2012 at 00:14:36

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It's Wednesday, Ken, not Tuesday mate! Don't want you to waste a sicky! Thanks for the as ever thoughtful and balanced reporting.
Anto Byrne
4   Posted 08/01/2012 at 00:53:53

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Whats the chance of the team that finished the game starting at WHL? Hmmm... the Stracq is he as good as Bernie Wright or is he up there with Rod Belfit? FFS give the the Greek kid a run he is our top scorer, I believe... from open play anyway?
Paul Joy
5   Posted 08/01/2012 at 11:27:30

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Ken, I can't agree with your view that all that mattered was we are through to the next round.
A home draw to Tamworth was an opportunity to give a little bit of cheer to our fans. Score some goals - maybe even play a bit of football for a change.
We did not take that opportunity against plainly inferior opposition. The football played by us was yet again woeful.
The only players who had a competent game were our 2 centre backs - anyone else?? Absolutely not.
A truth from yesterday was that there were players in blue shirts who would not have been out of place in the red of Tamworth.
So overall it was an opportunity missed (a recurring theme of our season) and our suffering fans left the ground unhappy with what they had to witness.
But yes we are in the draw and we will all listen with anticipation later today but I can't see us being in the hat for too long this season.
Kevin Sparke
6   Posted 08/01/2012 at 12:25:02

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The attendance wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for what is now a second rate competition - looking around the grounds: 9,000 at the Ricoh Arena To watch Southampton v Coventry... 14,500 for a Midlands derby... Birmingham v Wolves... Fulham v Charlton another derby 20,000; Newcastle v Blackburn 30,000; Boro Shrewsbury 12,000...
Ray Robinson
7   Posted 08/01/2012 at 13:28:57

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Attendance was ok but take slight issue with Ken when he asserts that a hard core of 21,000 were there. In the Park End where I sit, there seemed to be a host of one-off attendees bringing their kids. No bad thing at all, but most of the regulars seem to have given this one a miss - perhaps a statement ahead of next season when it comes to season ticket renewal?
Paul Joy
8   Posted 08/01/2012 at 13:36:45

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Agree with Ray Robinson - the gate was boosted by Tamworths 4,500 though and the Top Balcony was similar to the Park End lots of one off attendance with kids and a LOT of stay away regulars.

The gates are a reflection of the quality of football not the economic climate.
Mike Elbey
9   Posted 08/01/2012 at 14:19:46

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Paul is spot on, the attendances are down to the dire, negative football the manager and team are swerving up at present.

I have been a big fan of Moyes for obvious reasons down the years and I understand that he has been given no support from our pathetic excuse of a board.

However team selection and tactics are down to one person and one person only - the manager. His selections and tactics have been negative all season but this past week have been ridiculous. It was bad enough having aheitinga and Neville in midfield against WBA which was one of the most dire performances I have seen and totally masked by the late winner. However, to select those two against the bottom side at home was unbelievable and scandalous and an insult to the traditions f our club.

His tactics are driving the fans away, I have been a season ticket holder for over 30 years but if the current fare continues I will not be re-newing next year, simple as that.

One other thing, surely yesterday was an ideal opportunity to give Saha the chance to find some form against vastly inferior opposition, instead we give game time to one of the worst centre forwards to have graced Goodison in Stracqualausi - Brett Angell revisited if ever the was one. Mind you, if you shop in Poundland......
Leigh Lewis
10   Posted 08/01/2012 at 14:37:21

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When I was younger I used to visit my Granddad who had a prominent facial scare diagonally across his left check. The first time I called with my mother I plucked up the courage to ask about the cause of such a blemish. He regaled me with stories of running away to sea, cutlass fights with pirates, much daring do. I was transfixed and asked, ?Is that all true, Granddad??
?Of course not son, but come back next week and I will tell you what really happened.?
I returned week after week to be entertained by magical tales of adventure.
Comparing this with my visits to Goodison Park, as a young boy I always looked forward to my visits in the ?60?s; but now I have finally run out of patience with the club the Chairman, the Manager, and the players. The stuff that is served up on the pitch is simply unacceptable.
If he was still here, my Graddad would certainly have something to say about it.
We are papering over the cracks, the problems being that the pattern doesn?t match on the join, there are air bubbles everywhere, some strips are pasted on upside down, the paper has not been trimmed, overhanging the skirting board. In short it looks a sorry mess.
Kevin Sparke
11   Posted 08/01/2012 at 14:33:39

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Moyes must be an awful manager - he's managed to lower the average attendance of 9 other Premier League clubs - 2 who are above us in the League and 2 of who were in the Championship last year...

You cannot confidently say with any authority that yesterday's poor attendance is purely down to poor football that's being played - there're too many other variables; including in our case. A mixture of a) The FA Cup doesn't have the magic it once had for the big clubs, as the rewards are not as they were; consequentially most of the big clubs send out inferior teams b) Attendances are falling consistently in areas of high unemployment and economic problems c) we're not winning games and drawing/losing without exciting football...

You can bleat all you want about it all being down to Moyes' tactics, but he doesn't pick the teams, direct the tactics of other clubs whose average attendances have fallen and at a higher percentage difference than ours.
Leigh Lewis
12   Posted 08/01/2012 at 14:57:49

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Kevin, you seemed to be contradicting your point with c)
Mike Elbey
13   Posted 08/01/2012 at 14:55:34

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Kevin,

What the hell have the other clubs got to do with it ? Completely irrelevant post.

The fact is attendances are falling at Evrton due to a combination of lack of ambition from the board and dire defensive negative tactics from the manager. He has no control over one, he has over the other.

I would still go whatever board was in charge, they do not decide to pick 7 defenders at home with only 1 up front. The main reason for low attendances is Moyes tactics without doubt. 3000 drop in season tickets this year, it will be a similar amount net year.

The big problem we have now is that we have a board whose sole aim is to remain a premier league club without spending any money and we have a manager who will probably be able to achieve this but only by playing some of the most dire football ever to be seen at Goodison. The result is gates will be down to 20,000 within the next 3 seasons....
Kevin Sparke
14   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:01:39

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No, I'm not Leigh... I'm saying it's probably a combination of all three factors - not purely down to one point.

James Martin
15   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:02:38

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Yesterday was just further proof of what a shocking waste of money Fellaini is. £15 million for that? He was absolutely horrendous yesterday and served no other purpose than to occasionally chuck himself into a Tamworth player to try and get possession. Slow, lethargic, sloppy in possession and gave away a load of fouls.

Bilyaletdinov, bad as he was, actually looked like he could contribute some attacking impetus to the game and at least won some headers and tackles and managed to play balls at a pace faster than Fellaini's stupid pea rollers out wide. Fellaini dictates the tempo of all our play so it's no surprise that, whenever he is in the team, we play turgid, slow football with no attacking thrust.

The fact that players like Osman and Cahill who have shown good consistent performances over many years take all the stick and he gets away with it just for a few stupid pirouettes around Bellamy is ridiculous. Everton's football this season will not improve as long as he is in the team. Not even half the player Carsley was.

Yesterday was also proof that whatever 'it' is, Magaye Gueye doesn't have it, and that 4-4-2 does not magically just make all of Everton's problems disappear. The two games we've used it have seen no difference in the abject quality of the performance than the games before.
Ryan Holroyd
16   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:20:17

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James

Whatever your opinion of Fellaini, could you please stop posting that he cost £15 million, even the Everton website has his price at £12.9 million.
Brian Waring
17   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:23:12

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I thought Fellaini was out still injured, and had to keep reminding myself that Fellaini was actually playing!
Mike Elbey
18   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:18:10

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James,

Good point re Fellaini's passing. In fact the whole team seem to think a slow dribbling pass that makes the next player wait for it to arrive is the way to go ? is it any wonder there is no pace to our attacks?

I also saw glimpses of what Bily could add in a central role, why Moyes has never tried him in the Cahill role is beyond me. Is he perhaps scared he may succeed and leave him with the problem of having to leave out one of his darlings by any chance?
Leigh Lewis
19   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:19:24

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Fellaini didn't look fully fit, yet another player brought back too soon, risking injury re-occurrence. Just look at what happened to Rodwell and Coleman this week.
Lol McNally
20   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:17:00

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Kevin, you dont get bad soldiers ? only bad commanders.
Paul Gladwell
21   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:24:46

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I am a season ticket holder and won't be going to the Blackburn game as I am on a coach to Haydock for my mates 40th, a few other season ticket holders are joining me and the talk yesterday was "Thank Christ." I am worn out mentally going to the place and I need a break and no doubt thousands more have taken one and thousands more will do next season.

What's even worse is we will struggle to offload those freebie tickets, this is the Everton Kenwright has created with back-up this season from a very negative manager and yet we have lads on here slating those BU lads for wanting some answers as we don't have AGMs ? because the bullied one banned them.


Don't these people realise how serious this is all getting? We will get relegated soon.
Paul Gladwell
22   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:32:45

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Mike sorry mate, Bily was playing a load of plumbers and sparks, he made a few nice passes but his work rate was shocking and he would seriously get the piss taken out of him by the midfields of Stoke etc nevermind the bigger sides.

He is shite... and as for McFadden and Anichebe...
Mike Elbey
23   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:32:25

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Leigh,

With a bit of luck he will bring back Cahill too soon as well !!!
Danny Burke
24   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:29:31

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James #15, it's interesting peoples different opinions. I wasn't at the game so can't offer my own thoughts but the comentators on the radio were impressed with Gueye and thought he did well.
Lol McNally
25   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:34:26

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Fellaini and Bily... £24 mill ? who would give Moyes £12 mill??? ? not me!!! He has not spent well; he plays players out of position when not fit; he is clueless
Leigh Lewis
26   Posted 08/01/2012 at 15:41:00

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Jags is playing on Wed night - with a runner
James Martin
27   Posted 08/01/2012 at 16:24:57

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In fairness to Gueye, he did do a lot better when Baines came on (who was a thousand leagues above any of the players on the pitch, Distin aside).
Dick Fearon
28   Posted 09/01/2012 at 08:46:19

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Danny # 24, I don't take any notice of what commentators say and that goes for all of them.
I am sick of hearing them raving about wonderful Bill and miracle worker Davy.
TV and Radio along with the press and in particular the 'Echo' have contributed toward the fallacy that those two are the be all and end all of our salvation.
Sean Smythe
29   Posted 09/01/2012 at 09:13:34

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It was a nervy place to be in the Upper Bullens. I went with my brother who had paid me a visit. At one point he said 'It's hard to tell who is the Premier League side'. Had to agree.
Paul Hughes
30   Posted 09/01/2012 at 12:04:30

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The most telling point from my perspective was that everyone else seemed to improve by 20% once Baines came on. We are truely fucked if he gets injured.
Bily, Fellaini, McFadden looked like they are - very short of match practice.
Whatever Anichibe is, it is not a centre-forward - he has a Saha-esque aversion of getting into the box.
The Tamworth fans were booing Neville throughout - at least it saved us the bother.
Luke O'Farrell
31   Posted 09/01/2012 at 14:46:54

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James Martin

I'll have some of whatever you've been smoking please. Fellaini is our one truly top class midfielder and yet you still have a go at him.

Why not have a pop at the average players he has around him. He's spent most of the season doing the work of two in the engine room. Mainly because we actually don't have any other good central midfielders.

He would flourish alongside an out and out holding midfielder; unfortunately we don't have one.

You moan about his passing and it's the same boring argument that started about Arteta. If there is no movement ahead of him, that's not his fault. He has to pass out wide or sideways, simply because they are his only options.

Give the lad a break, if you're going to have a go, have a go at the others around him who haven't performed all season. Him, Baines and Distin are the only ones who have done anything this season.
Christopher Arellano
32   Posted 10/01/2012 at 19:38:09

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Hey Ken, thanks for the report.

I read you, and Paul, and don't take the time to say how much the reports are appreciated.

Surprises here?

The booing Neville seems odd. Wonder what the story is there? And, it must have felt rather refreshing to see the excitement of the supporters of these minnows. This was their day in the spotlight.

2-0? Well, we moved on.

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