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From My Seat: Bolton (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  26/01/2013

A trip to Bolton in mid-winter for a cup match is a touch stimulating after a week of horrendous weather and the chance the game could be called off- it wasn’t- so 5,000 odd all assembled in a sell out of tickets and due to the apathy of the Bolton populace many seats were available for those Blues who didn’t qualify for a place in the away end and a few took up the chance if the ruckus in the main stand was anything to go by on the winning shot hitting the net.

The manager picked the strongest side possible which went down well as these Wembley trips are catching on and will be even more popular if we win a final.

The roar went up as we kicked off and for a good ten or twelve minutes we put all the good stuff together. High tempo, quick closing down, joined up stuff and good movement around and in the box. Many thought this would be a stroll in the park and a convincing score would ensue and easy passage to the next round. I think the players thought that too as they started getting a bit lax and passes were missing the mark, dawdling on the ball saw the opposition start to nick it and move forward. Bolton gaining in confidence and it all got worse near the quarter hour mark when Mirallas called it a day and was replaced by Gueye. Looked like another attack of Rodwellitis, hope it’s not too serious but doesn’t look good.

However, no sooner had he left us we had another decently crafted attack and the ball fell to Victor who hit it hard and wide but seemed to hit a running Pienaar and ricochet into the net. All celebrated—well you have to when they have been so scarce lately no matter how they go in!

That might settle us I thought but it had the opposite effect. Bolton pushed on with some good joined up stuff of their own and we seemed pleased just to repel them with hacks away in hope one would fall for us. By the 25min mark we had warnings, Spearing was being given far too much room and was knocking balls in all directions, Pratley was getting down the right with too much ease and one of his crosses was just about dealt with. We didn’t learn and Pratley was allowed another run and cross this time it found the Bolton forward Sordell who had made a near post dash untracked and fired a low shot in that gave Howard no chance. The silence of the faithful said it all.

Bolton now had the bit between their teeth and we were at best sloppy and at worst just awful. Gueye played and looked like a player who doesn’t normally play; Victor was well just Victor with poor touches and over hit passes not to mention very little movement. It was hard to tell Fellaini was in the match and Pienaar just didn’t look himself at all. With the other players blowing hot but mainly cold the rest of the half belonged to the hosts. Gueye did manage a good cross to the head of Victor but rather predictably he headed wide when at least hitting the target seemed easier. A corner taken near the end of the half summed up our efforts. The move to create it was decent but Baines corner was poor but even so no one showed any movement toward it and Bolton had an easy clearance. I think Manager, players and faithful were glad to hear the half time whistle, a half in which only Howard could face the manager with no fear.

The half time chat centred on the sub after Kevin succumbed. Most thought it should have been Oviedo. The way we mess up when do get in the box was also well aired.
Second half and the manager had sent the same team out that had left the field with no doubt a flea in their ear after telling them that more and better was expected of them.
We started well, Baines got in a good cross that Gueye got his head to but hit Big Vic and this time the deflection went wide.

The half then went into a more end to end game and we were doing better but sloppy passing and poor decision making was thwarting us. Bolton were still a danger but Howard was equal to most and one save from Alonso was first class. Going forward it was frustrating for the Blues as the Bainaar link was faulty; Fellaini was no more in than out of form. Jelavic ran the channels and across the box but no one could provide him with an accurate pass that may have resulted in something.

Pienaar burst into life and went solo but then chose the wrong option in hitting one of his trade mark curlers toward the top corner which he rarely succeeds with and didn’t on this occasion when three Blue shirted players were very well placed to receive a pass with a better opportunity to score. To be fair a little later he got a great shot in that the keeper had to be at full stretch to save. Time was ticking on and the game becoming frenetic as it became ‘you attack we will attack’ We looked the more dangerous at that game but Bolton still had you looking for a sofa to hide behind at times. Howard was quite a rock and I thought at least it would take a ‘Gud Un ‘to beat him.

80mins gone Heitinga is readied to come on, ah we all thought he is going to right back, Nev in mid-field and Fella up in place of Big Vic who had gone back to some old ways and was less effective than the miss-firing Gueye. NO it was a straight swap for Jelavic, even the ultras booed. Now, now lads it was the managers 500th game in charge (no trophies) and he has learned a lot as injury time would prove what a smart move this was. Fella up top and Johnny in mid field.

Johnny started well his first involvement gave away a free kick in a dangerous area, ‘nice one son’ I thought. From the free kick they got a corner which we defended by the ‘scramble’ method but it worked as we attacked again and an Osman pass found his opposite number. Time ticking, Bolton get another corner and Knight heads just wide to the audible exhaling of breath from the faithful.

Injury time went up. Not a replay I thought as Gueye won a corner. It was fired high and the towering Fellaini tussled with the towering Knight and neither got much on it but the ball dropped, pin ball in the box took place, it was mayhem as a Bolton boot knocked the ball out to the edge of the box where super sub (take a bow Davy) Heitinga calmly weighed up the situation and put his laces right through the winter ball and it was no more than a yellow blur as it flew passed the keeper and strained the net. All hell broke loose. Johnny charged toward the faithful, stewards were falling over themselves fearing an invasion and referee Atkinson desperately trying to get them back for the restart. Then a Blue flare went off, I hadn’t seen that happen before but hey some of the ultras were excited about the proceedings and no harm done (I think) Final whistle and all celebrated including fans in all the other stands who had taken advantage of Bolton fans absence and bought a ticket.

The players came over to share the joy with the front few rows and then left the field. Oh Jonny Johnny was ringing out and all thoughts of a poor sub were forgotten. Before the Blue fans were allowed to leave all the songs they knew were belted out and according to many high on excitement we are going to win cup and league. It just shows how important a win is and no matter how it is gained. If that goal had been Knights oh so close wide header think opposite.

M.O.tM -- Tim Howard (Johnny according to many on leaving)

Overall it has to go down as a poor performance but a win was achieved, we are in the next round and that is all important.

Looking at the bigger picture the injury to Mirallas is worrying as he has looked as though he could blossom with us but if he can’t play he will join Gibson and we will forever wonder what might have been. I can but hope the wonders of medical science can sort both out in the near future even maybe to start next season. I also hope that our key players that do stay fit can come out of the blip in form that they are currently in and maybe we can have our customary second half of the season push.

Today you could just see players we all know are class acts making basic mistakes and seeing by their body language knowing they are not on top of their game and that’s how confidence ebbs and with confidence being a paramount requirement for footballers to perform to their limits we need them to get it back ASAP.

WBA Wednesday and with games coming thick and fast we will need to be performing better than of late if we are to get three points.

Never a dull moment down Goodison way—see you there to witness the outcome.

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Dick Fearon
948 Posted 26/01/2013 at 22:22:16
Ken, on TV I had to suffer the Man U v Fulham + Gunners v Brighton +City v Stoke with not even a glimpse nor mention of our game thus making your balanced report very welcome. Others who were at the game will probably offer their own views yet based upon what reported it seems we were a bit fortunate to progress straight into the 5th round.
Barry Rathbone
952 Posted 26/01/2013 at 22:43:45
As you report Ken the thousands who attend these cup games think it important so putting out a decent strength team is a no brainer - despite protestations of the "4th" brigade.

Is it coincidence we scrape a fortuitous win or do you make your own luck?

Sam Hoare
956 Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:05:51
Think losing Gibson, mirallas and even Coleman blunts us in terms of creativity considerably. We either need to get them fit or find better replacements before the window shuts. No way we will even challenge for 4th as things are.
Dennis Shaw
963 Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:22:51
Ha ha Ken brilliant match report.

We'll sit where we want
We'll sit where we want
We are Everton
We'll sit where we want

Roman Sidey
965 Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:21:39
Sometimes it takes a 90th minute winner to kick-start some form, so hopefully this blip you mention is on the way out for a few weeks.
Andy Meighan
967 Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:04:52
Ken, these players you refer to as class acts can you please tell me who they are? Because, apart from Baines and Howard... and my god he's got his critics... but I defy anyone to name me three better Premier League keepers than him.

If you're referring to the likes of Fellaini, Pienaar, Osman, Jelavic, Neville, Heitinga etc — you're seriously misguided. Because, at the moment, Everton look pedestrian, one-paced... but, most of all, void of ideas.

And I for one ain't sure looking forward to the next 4 months Unless we strengthen in this window — and can you really see us getting more than one player in? I can't...

Alex Parr
970 Posted 26/01/2013 at 23:58:24
I was there in the main stand with two mates from work who are Bolton fans. Very poor performance I thought, Jelavic is looking way off the pace. As for Gueye coming on, well that boggles the mind – I would have preferred to break up the Baines/Pienaar axis and give Bryan a whirl on that side, move Peanuts across central and stick Vic out wide maybe. Irrespective, we won I suppose, but much better will be needed if we fancy another trip to Wembley.

NSNO

Patrick Murphy
975 Posted 27/01/2013 at 00:26:20
It was extremely charitable for ITV to give us a whole 60 seconds of highlights within their 90 minute programme, and then to give us another dose of how well Mr Kenwright backs his manager with every penny he can, sometimes you get the feeling that as long as Everton aren't a real threat to their favourites we can carry on without too much hassle.

That is why, Mr Neville, Evertonians get irate with a) A Manager who won't commit himself to the cause; b) A Chairman who couldn't look after a non-league outfit, never mind one of the most successful clubs in English Football.

Si Cooper
980 Posted 27/01/2013 at 00:40:47
They hadn't even bothered to give us a live commentator either, Patrick.

Bastards!

Patrick Murphy
984 Posted 27/01/2013 at 01:07:44
Mind you Si, it is very important that our neighbours get maximum coverage and exposure, they have ITV all to themselves tomorrow and will probably get a damn sight more than a couple of minutes on their highlights show with a 20 minute assessment of Brenda's visionary tactics. I watched some of the Brighton v Arsenal link and guess who the assistant commentator was none other than Nigel Spackman, yet another dark-sider with a TV gig.
Christopher Timmins
053 Posted 27/01/2013 at 11:03:14
Ken, great report. It is beginning to look as if the paper thin squad that we have is starting to take its toll. Our centre forward should have been rested, playing him yesterday did his cause no good. Players are being rushed back from the treatment room, in addition to Gibson, the right side of the team have been for most of the past two months.

Meanwhile, after wasting millions last season, the outfit across the park are about to take their spending to £20M for the window. If Moyes cannot strengthen before next Friday then the Chairman has failed him, we will probably finish 7th, and he should move on in the summer as one or two of the class acts you refer to above.

Kieran Fitzgerald
057 Posted 27/01/2013 at 11:14:03
Sam, spot on with how the loss of those three players has shorn us of creativity. While not happy that Oviedo, didn't get game time yesterday, I can understand Gueye getting on the pitch. Moyes has to try and see what the other supposed creative players have to offer. You would hope that as our next two league games are West Brom and Villa, Oviedo and Gueye get decent amounts of time on the pitch.
Mike McQuaid
333 Posted 27/01/2013 at 19:25:17
Spot on Patrick Murphy re TV coverage. Here in Scotland we don't even get the FA Cup games on STV, but there is plenty of newspaper coverage of Everton given the Moyes connection, Stubbs, Weir, Ferguson etc.

Most of the articles have a common theme – including one today by Craig Burley in the Sunday Mail tipping Moyes for the Chelsea job – and that is 'Aren't Everton doing ever so well to be a top eight club!'

No one refers to us as one of the most successful clubs in the country – what happened before Sky doesn't seem to count. Yet Liverpool continue to be treated with reverence despite their glory days being 30 years ago.

How Match of the Day can justify on journalistic grounds having Hansen and Lawrensen on the show at the same time for a prolonged analysis of what's going on at Anfield is beyond me.

Never mind, I won't need patronising punters on MotD next week when I get down to Goodison to see the Blues for myself against Villa!

Anto Byrne
425 Posted 28/01/2013 at 03:01:08
Can we see more of the French kid for the next couple of games? No mention of the shot against the crossbar and a couple of pin-point crosses for Big Vic to get on the end of. Having played virtually no football, the kid is expected to perform.

I do wonder at the wisdom of David Moyes keeping the out-of-form Jelavic playing when all around can see he needs a rest. What about Big Vic and the Greek kid getting a run with the French kid out wide and going for a 4-3-3 formation? No wait — we have to have at least 8 defenders and a keeper, so that ain't gonna happen.

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