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From My Seat: Newcastle Utd (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  18/09/2012 After what seemed like an age we were back at Goodison after a somewhat insipid international break.
The pre match was tastefully done in honour of the 96 and to celebrate the victory of the campaigners in at last exposing the lies of the time. Shame on those responsible and surely they will be charged for what they did.

Mascots in Blue and Red led out the teams, the Blue with No 9 on the back and the Red with No6. Ball-boys had 96 on their backs and the thorny question of which music to play for the period of applause was brilliantly chosen. The Hollies ‘He aint heavy he’s my brother’ sort of well fitted the bill. As the song was played the 96 were featured on the big screen.

Then to the game and within 5mins we thought we had taken the lead when from a Mirallas astute pass Fellaini shot and forced a great parry from the keeper but Jelavic pounced and slid home. That brought a double disappointment as the goal was chalked off for offside and Jelavic needed lengthy treatment after colliding with a post.

Play continued with Everton in the driving seat yet there was always a sense that we were weak in centre midfield as both Osman and Neville both ran hot and cold and this was typified by Neville when through lack of concentration just poked the ball too far in front of him and in trying to rescue the situation clattered the Newcastle man and received a deserved yellow card – there was just no need for such action.

On the other hand after some 15mins a great piece of joined up footy took place as the Blues put together a move of some 20odd passes which culminated in Pienaar providing a deft flick pass into the path of the inrushing Baines who flashed his shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the park end net. Were on our way I thought as to that point it was all Everton only let down by some strange hesitancy in both mid-field and at the back. Mirallas was having a storming first half with pacey runs and strong shots with either foot and gaining adoring fans by the minute.

Jags darted forward in another piece of the joined up stuff and shot powerfully very narrowly wide it might even have scraped the post.

Although the half was all Everton we still got the jitters through unforced errors allowing Cisse a sight of goal but luckily he dragged his shot wide when better could have been expected and all from a poor header from Neville presenting him with the chance and then Osman for no sound reason had a shot/pass toward our goal and but for Baines scrambling it off the line his blushes would have lit up Goodison.

And so the half came to an end and it could be described as both thrilling and dodgy as far as Everton were concerned.

The half-time chat centred mainly around the non-appearance of Oviedo yet he is listed in the programme as our No8. Also the Fellaini interview was mostly seen as a case of if he kept up his displays to the standard of the Man U game then we would expect offers and if Everton’s valuation was met then he would be away but thought he really should have kept his mouth shut and let his football frame his destiny.

Second half and no changes for us but Ba came on for them and within 5mins had equalised courtesy of a woeful attempt at ball control from Osman gave the ball to Cabaye in midfield who punted forward and the strength and pace of Ba left Jags and Distin in the shade and his sort of scuffed shot trundled home after a token gesture from Howard that defies description, that left a few of us exclaiming ‘What the hell was the keeper doing’ but maybe in fairness both Jags and Distin should look at themselves for leaving him one on one.

We then lost composure and the long ball was seen more and Big Vic who had replaced the hobbling Jelavic just on H/T was leading the line without much conviction so the manager pushed him to the right mid-field berth with Mirallas up front on his own but he was finding the workload hard but never shirked a chase.

Jags was looking a little ropey at times and was glad for Hibbert to rescue him a couple of times after he had got himself into bother. Then Neville who had been booked lunged in after again losing close control of the ball and was fortunate not to see a second yellow and off.

We then had another spell of a dozen passes or more that saw Pienaar sashay into the box and instead of shooting picked out Fellaini who slotted home only to be flagged offside. Now that must have been close.

We went to sleep at the back again and allowed Cisse free passage into our box and bring hearts into mouths as he lobbed just over the bar. Jags and Distin were being questioned by many as were both Neville and Osman such was the regularity that the Magpies were getting through the middle with ease.

Big Vic livened things up by chasing a poor back pass and got to the ball at the same time as the keeper and both went to ground with the ref penalising Vic. It was a right scrappy game now with both teams tiring and the ball banged backwards and forwards without much thought. We got the odd flash of the good stuff though as Baines and Pienaar combined and Osman was offered a good chance that he side footed just wide. Then it seemed our luck was right out as Fellaini was blatantly tripped and fell heavily onto the turf and after much shoulder manipulation he was deemed fit to continue.

Next we were all up celebrating our second goal when Jags sent one across and Big Vic headed in of the underside of the bar. The players’ arms went up as a Newcastle boot sent the ball out, play on said the Ref after looking to his linesman who was unmoved as he had been in giving Fellaini off side earlier. From my seat he had both wrong but maybe I was guessing and hoping but I swear they were damned close. Pienaar did get booked for something after that episode.
Fellaini put in Big Vic with a fine through ball but Vic looked to be ploughing through treacle in wellies and the chance went.

Mirallas who had a fine game finally hit the wall after his exertions and had to be replaced by Naismith. When Mirallas is up to premier league pace he looks as though he will be a ‘Gud Un’.

Fellaini got a customary booking for frustration and Howard had to make a great save to thwart Ben Arfa when again he had got right through. Then with a couple of minutes left on the clock Pienaar fed in Big Vic who deftly turned and found the corner. Cue mayhem from players and fans alike—we had done it—except we hadn’t. Yet another long ball beats Jags and Distin who allowed the ball to be chested into the path of Ba who closed on Howard who made the funniest Star jump I have seen in many a day. It seemed sort of demented yet it caused Ba to merely scuff his shot goalwards with speed merchant Distin in hot pursuit but instead of swinging a leg in desperate clearance fashion he seemed to do no more than follow the ball into the net. What a choker yet most galling it was all our own work.
Final whistle and a ripple of boos which in truth could have been aimed at a many on that field- players and officials.

MotM — Pienaar/Baines take your pick.
Overall quite a night out that saw the strangest of games and as far as Everton were concerned throughout the match the play teetered between top class joined up stuff and Sunday morning pub standard faire. Mirallas whether wide right or upfront looked handy and when properely settled I think will shine. Our downfall I thought lay in the centre of midfield and the central defenders who all had a night they will reflect on and know they can do much better. Newcastle sussed it and all second half just hit straight balls into the heart of our defence after first winning the ball off our central midfield.

Still you often get odd games after a break in the league programme and I am sure Finch Farm will hear some choice words and hopefully a regrouping to see us ready for Swansea. Jelavic looked a bit of a worry and Fellaini’s shoulder will be a bit wait and see.
On leaving the ground and along Goodison road a TV crew were interviewing fans as they left the game. Not seen that before and I wonder what it was all about? Are we getting some worldwide exposure?

The Ref didn’t go down to well tonight and took stick but I thought we still had the chance to win it despite him but for our own shortcomings and if truth be told they could and maybe should have taken all the points—we gave them the chances—so maybe a point is ok after all.

So Welsh Wales it is and who knows what might happen there. Never a dull moment following our lot.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Ajay Gopal
440 Posted 18/09/2012 at 07:23:50
Ken, as you say, it was a very strange game. It could have easily been 4-4 or 6-2 to Everton or 2-4 to Newcastle. We put the ball 5 times into the net but only 2 counted ! (1 was correctly ruled offside, but the other 2 should have counted).

A game of wasted opportunities by Everton, poor linesmanship, and a surprisingly vulnerable back 3 of Jags, Distin & Howard saw us pick up only a point. Whereas based on the 1st 30 minutes of play when it looked like there was only 1 team playing football, we should have been at least 2-0 up.

With Sir Alex Ferguson in attendance, Fellaini and Baines put in superb performances (somebody tell me I am being paranoid, please). Mirallas looked very sharp, but I don't think Moyes would have been too pleased with his refusal to pass to better placed players. Pienaar was also guilty of the same when instead of passing to a wide open Osman chose to bend it around the keeper only to see it fly wide.

Osman, Neville, Jags and Distin had poor games (yes Ken, Jags' shot did glance the upright on its way out). Neville for all his great leadership qualities should not be starting games anymore for Everton. We need steel in the center of midfield - the Carsley position is so important for us that Gibson cannot come back too early.

I mentioned it at the time, I just don't see Moyes' logic of bringing Oviedo in, unless he knows something that we don't i.e. Baines leaving in January, etc. We would have been far better served by having good backup in the centre of midfield and a quality right back.

Danny Burke
443 Posted 18/09/2012 at 07:16:51
Great and fair report as always Ken. Seemed like we had finally done it when Vic scored but typical of the 2nd half we let them back in. Both goals in my opinion could have been avoided, from Ossies give away and Howard's poor dive for the first, to allowing a long ball up to cause so much trouble for the second. I get Howards star jump, the obvious shot was to put your laces through it or try the lob, he was making himself big, a scruffy scuffed finish unfortunately found its way in.

Our two goals were quality, great link up and back heel to set up a nice finish from Baines and a great turn and shot from victor. Great to see him celebrate with some passion for once.

As for the ref/officials, I don't like blaming them for results but we had two legit goals not given. Jelavic was rightly offside when he scored an clattered the post (hope he's ok!!) but Felli was a yard onside and Vics header crosses the line. In fairness both were tough calls in real time but the reality is we scored four good goals and only had two given. We really should have won this after dominating the first half, Newc came back into it in the 2nd half but we still had chances and finished on top. We should have been 2 or 3 up at the break an had the game out of sight.

Positives, Vics goal showed he can be a player.
Mirallas looks promising if a little greedy at times, he could have passed to better placed team mates a few times but went for the shot.
Baines and Pienaar are the best creative combo I've seen in a blue shirt.

Finally, a very well done and moving tribute to the 96 well observed by all. Well done to the club and all that attended for that touch of class.

David Chait
444 Posted 18/09/2012 at 08:00:57
The comment about Distin just running the ball into the net is spot on and is the reason I have always advocated he is the 3rd choice CB - he has no right foot. It has codt us more points than people seem to realise.

I am convinced that if he could naturally kick with his right he would have swung it away.. but he tried to run it down to get into a position to hack it away with his left as you see him trying to do right on the line...

for the disallowed goals, for me this is an issue with Fifa. the offside looked offside because Fella was behind the defenders body but onside because of a lurking leg.. so the ref sees torso and calls it. The goal is all down to the most ineffectual Board in sport.

In the end Jags and Distin as a pair ship stupid goals.. always have.. always will.

Thomas James
462 Posted 18/09/2012 at 09:00:55
Ken, lovely review. We should have made more of our first half advantage and Newcastle looked really sharp in the second half with long balls and hitting us on the counter as they sat deep.

Couple of observations from me. I thought Tim Howard had a strange game, I think he could have done better on both goals, maybe he needs a few games on the bench to focus more it seems too easy for him.

We clearly missed Gibson in central midfield, his ability to pick a pass and push the ball into feet of the strikers makes us play much more attractive football. Unfortunately for Neville he cannot do this and as a result we struggled to do anything centrally to was mainly down the left and sometimes on the right. Hurry back Gibbo.

Steve O'Malley
466 Posted 18/09/2012 at 09:14:23
David #444 go straight to the top of the class mate. Distin's total inability to use his right foot has cost us more goals that I care to mention including his effort that cost us a place in the final last year. There is no doubt that his strengths are his speed and strength, but his lack of positional sense and no right foot are what make him just a good average centre back.
Jags has started better than he finished last year and its only his speed of recovery that sometimes gets him out of jail. I am personally not a fan
I am sure I am not the only person who thinks that Heitinga should be one of the first names pencilled in. He also has his faults but for my money he is the pick of the 3. If he doesn't get a game after the defensive efforts in the past 2 games you couldn't blame him for handing in a transfer request.
As for Howard well for every good save he makes there is one of his usual scratch your head " what the f##K was he doing".
John Sheron
481 Posted 18/09/2012 at 10:07:35
Question; is Tony Hibbert the best tackler in the Premiership? Again, last night he delivered another sweet tackle in the penalty area (when needed) that just could not be successfully executed by anyone else in our league.

I remember he also delivered at least 4 excellent tackles against Man Utd in the season's opener. The timing, body position and crispness of each intercepting tackle is just first class.

He has faults but his tackling just seems to have moved-on from very good to brilliant.

Guy Hastings
485 Posted 18/09/2012 at 10:29:29
John - problem is with (or rather, for) Hibbert is that PNev will always get a game. If midfield is booked with the regulars then he'll be accomodated somehow. This is not a slag at PNev, just an observation on Hibbo's lot at the moment. I've always liked him (flaws and all).
Paul Hughes
508 Posted 18/09/2012 at 11:44:43
Ken, Howard has some "previous" with his star-jump.

Do you remember a similar effort when Kevin Doyle scored for Wolves a couple of seasons ago?

Vinny Garstrokes
524 Posted 18/09/2012 at 12:53:08
A credit to EFC for last night's recognition of the 96 and despite the refereeing errors, a gracious and dignified interview by DM on Sky afterwards. He really is a class act as a man. Only just got my breath back after watching the game though and agree that we should have killed the game off and gone in at half time 3-0 up.

I hope that Jelly is OK – I was impressed that he persevered till just before half-time before calling it a night. I do have a worry now though that unless we can achieve a top 4 finish we are likely to see the departure of Fellaini, Baines, Jags, Jelavic and ultimately Moyes! Hope I am wrong.
Trevor Lynes
591 Posted 18/09/2012 at 17:51:10
A great game between two very committed teams and I reckon the Newcastle strikers will cause any team they play against lots of trouble.

We played the better football but they were physically stronger. We just don't have a big enough squad and thats a fact.

A positive note: Jelavic, Pienaar and Mirallas look great signings!!

Michael Kidd
627 Posted 18/09/2012 at 19:57:37
Two disallowed goals should have made it 4-0. Refereeing crew messed up but we messed up worse. The Toon goals were due to schoolboy defending from pathetic concession of ball by Osman to Jags allowing his man to get goalside (not the only time it happened last night); and then both defenders being too easily beaten for the second. Howard did not cover himself with glory but had non-existent cover in front of him for both goals. I still can't fathom how the best defender in our club (head and shoulders) in Heitinga is on the bench. But even Heitinga will battle when the cover in centre mid is as poor as it was last night.
John Kelly
999 Posted 21/09/2012 at 04:11:47
It was sickening to see Mr Ferguson at Goodison Park on Monday night, druelling over Fellaini. No wonder we were disallowed 2 clear goals – his vibe was in the air.

Why is it, if it's true that he'll be leaving soon, that our best players seem to want to go to a "bigger" club? It's the first season in a long time I think that Everton can actually win the title... yes, win. It's so depressing to see the best players going to the same clubs. It's so boring and predictable.

I'd urge Felliani to stick around and put it up to the 'big clubs'. He for one should see the talent Everton have at the moment and young players coming through. Please don't let him go and dominate the league with another club.

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