COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL
Ste and I took the train over, meeting Gary and Sue in the crowded pub. Unlike on Tuesday evening the team news was met with satisfaction. Moyes going back to basics with what seems his best available team, removing some of the hopeless lads from Tuesday evening.
We moved onto the packed ground, Sunderland in their numbers. The atmosphere electric. Such is the infrequency that we have attacked the Gwladys Street in the second half this season, you?re never really sure if we win the toss or if Neville?s superstition dictates that we change ends. Regardless, we switched prior to kick off, Mignolet receiving a generous applause from the Gwladys Street.
Andre Marriner got the game under way and ensured controversy in the game almost immediately by ignoring quite a blatant trip on Drenthe I think by Bardsley which would have resulted in a penalty. I wasn?t aware it was actually inside the box at the time but was informed via text message by a mate in the pub that it was a ?blatant peno?. Straight down the other end and Marriner blows for a foul by Neville which looked very similar and even decided to book Neville early on? all seemed very harsh to me and judging from the crowds reaction I wasn?t the only one to think this.
Regardless, we?d started quite well. Osman, who never really got going today, flashed a header wide following a Coleman centre and our play was generally good though was matched by Sunderland?s excellent work rate.
As happens sometimes, Sunderland got their goal when we were generally in the ascendancy and it was a goal we should have prevented too. Everton switching off from a free kick, Colback playing the ball short to Bardsley who took aim from distance and found the back of the net. Having seen the replay I think Howard really should have saved it. Somebody told me it took a deflection which might have made it difficult though I still think the American was at fault for this one.
The crowd persevered however and continued to get behind Everton. The goal did disrupt our rhythm a little but we soon got it back. Marriner continued to baffle. Bendtner finally managed to get himself into the book for persistent fouls and the crowd started to believe more. Belief turned to delight when Baines centered for Jelavic who headed goalwards but was wayward. Thankfully Cahill was up to his old tricks and anticipated well, following it in and planting his header into the net. 1-1. Game on.
Our best other opportunity in the half came when Cahill attacked a corner ball in from Osman though Mignolet saved. The rebound fell to Distin who smashed well wide with a reasonable opportunity. Really we were the better side at this point though you sensed our luck was perhaps out when Drenthe?s excellent free kick dipped onto the top of the bar and over as we approached half time. At the break it was all square though we had a lot of reasons to feel positive going into the second half.
It was all frustrating in the second period as Everton just couldn?t convert their possession into a goal. There was precious little for Sunderland to go at in the second half but Everton could do very little with the multiple balls into the box. Cahill and Fellaini swapped roles to try and provide more of an aerial threat but all to no avail. Cahill, who was much more like his old self all game, had a drive at goal which was well saved but the closest we came was near the end. Heitinga headed a fantastic effort at goal which was brilliantly saved by Mignolet. Jelavic got onto the rebound but Mignolet was again on hand to deny us. It just wasn?t to be our day.
Leaving the game the general consensus was that it wasn?t for want of trying. Everton worked really hard and for the last 25 minutes or so Sunderland put on the extra midfielder to protect their replay. They probably deserved it I suppose. We did have another penalty shout for handball against John O?Shea though that looked ambitious.
I question Moyes substitutions however. It seemed a good opportunity to give Anichebe a gallop on one wing as he replaced Coleman as Gueye offered little really. Otherwise I?d have liked to have seen McFadden get on for the last 10 minutes or so. Regardless of your thoughts on McFadden he has showed that ability to produce a bit of magic from nothing on quite a few occasions in the past. We had one more substitute to play and I can?t see why we didn?t gamble.
So, a bad week for Moyes? a bad week to be an Evertonian. However, we?re still in the draw and winning at Sunderland isn?t impossible? let?s just hope we don?t witness another six changes to the team against Arsenal this Wednesday.
Looking at the bigger picture, it?s very easy to say "let's put things into perspective" following the horror of what happened to Fabrice Muamba at White Hart Lane. We can only hope he recovers. It?s easy to forget ? it?s only a game.
Howard: Culpable for the goal I think. Not a great deal to do otherwise. 5
Baines: Had a good game. Got down the wing very well and put in some great balls. 7
Distin: Coped well. 7
Heitinga: Excellent display. Unlucky not to score at the end also. Still can?t fathom why on earth he didn?t play on Tuesday. 8
Neville: Had a good game. Coped fine at right back. 7
Fellaini: Decent but can do better. Will need a big game from him in the replay?particularly with Sessegnon back in the team. 6
Osman: Never got going unfortunately?I?m sure if he?d have played ? and played well ? on Tuesday he?d have hit the ground running a bit more. 5
Drenthe: Quite an infuriating display from the Dutchman. Unlucky with his first half free kick and should have won us a penalty ? though was very poor and predictable at times in the second half. Not one of his better games. 5
Coleman: Had a great first half though faded, probably with fatigue, in the second. Was a bit more like his old self ? vigor and enthusiasm. 6
Cahill: My man of the match. Showed his old zest and enthusiasm and got the goal which was a typical Cahill goal. Did well also when asked to sit in the holding position. That?s more like the Cahill we know. Could be key for the replay. 8
Jelavic: From what I?ve seen so far he?ll be fine. He?s very positive, busy and shows excellent movement. Probably not the best game you?ll see from him but I?m optimistic he?ll score plenty of goals for us?hopefully this season. 6
Gueye (for Coleman): Didn?t really get going unfortunately. 5
Stracqualursi (for Drenthe): Didn?t get going. 5
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175 Posted 18/03/2012 at 20:07:10
We weren't great today, but I still fancy us in the reply.
217 Posted 18/03/2012 at 23:01:08
Good report, Paul, but I don't agree with the Neville rating, sorry. He had a steady game but I can't see how did better than Jelavic, Fellaini and was as good as Distin.
Hibbert has been in better form this season and Neville struggles badly against pace. He's terrified of it and surrenders ground far too easily. I don't fancy him against McClean in the replay. Hibbert needs to be recalled.
I can't wait until Gibson is fit as well, he brings the best out of Fellaini.
226 Posted 19/03/2012 at 00:09:19
282 Posted 19/03/2012 at 10:39:32
As for bringing Hibbert back, Luke ? No thanks
418 Posted 20/03/2012 at 08:25:50
I am fed up with Moyes dropping our young talents for shit players like Coleman and Straqualursi.
Coleman has done nothing this season, and Straq just does not have any skill at all.
It is boring the crap out of me to watch Moyes go about this team, I think Moyes has lost it for real and he needs to resign!
424 Posted 20/03/2012 at 09:57:23
Apart from one great goal against Charlton, I can't remember him doing much else for us. He's weak on the ball, lacks half a yard of pace, pace that's needed in today's hurly-burly Premer League... and has a terrible first touch.
It galls me when I see the likes of him and that whingeing fucker Anichebe on the bench ahead of the likes of Barkley, Vellios and other promising youngsters. He's a drain on the club's resources and bringing him back was a massive massive mistake. He was shit first time round and he's not going to contribute nothing now. All-in-all, a bad move.
490 Posted 20/03/2012 at 18:56:37
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