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From My Seat: Stoke City (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  30/03/2013

Proper footy back at last and we head for Goodison via our watering hole. Hot debate takes place on many subjects Everton wise whether to do with the Chairman and board or the manager but the outcome is as on many other occasions inconclusive. The majority view seemed to be for the board to quickly find a suitable buyer that would have the interest of the club paramount and to provide the present manager with the necessary funding to allow progression and indeed break or at least crack that pesky glass ceiling. Not as many in the room of nonsense today and the attendance of just over 33,000 reflected that.

The walk up to the ground was fun as we were joined by the Stoke flag waving army singing their particular songs and good banter took place. Some confided that they feared the outcome here at Goodison so I told them on past performances against Stoke we were a touch fearful too. It's the long throws and set pieces that scare us. Still on to the ground and teams announced. It appeared the manager had gone with every fit senior pro and a bench of hopefuls and wanna-bees. From the off the formation looked a flexible three at the back two wing-backs two central mid-fielders with a front three. Now that is novel I thought and throughout the match it sort of worked with plenty of interchanging of positions.

We had a fright early doors when one of Stokes main weapons came into play. Shotton,he with the catapult arms, hurled a missile into the box which had us all over the place and but for a good save from Howard and a poke from Walters that hit the bar we would have been behind. From then on it became a war of attrition with us trying to get it down and play and Stoke looking to hoof and win second ball and go down easily to force dead ball situations that are their strength.

Our play did start to bear fruit as we got a bit of a grip on the game especially through mid-field with Osman and Gibson productive and but for some sloppy passing we would have created more, as it was we saw Baines cross for Jelavic to head straight at the keeper when clear. We had a moan and a laugh when Coleman did sterling work down the right and went passed a couple of Stoke defenders to give him sight of goal as he cut infield but his resultant left foot effort was very wide indeed.

Stoke powered about and forced a corner which was very well dealt with by Howard whose punch out found Mirallas who set off from his own half at great pace and despite a near mishap whilst passing N'Zonzie he continued at pace as all sides of the ground stood as one to see him glance his shot off the out coming keeper and the ball nestle perfectly in the corner of the Park end net. Players and fans celebrated in good style after witnessing a great pacy run and a perfect finish one-on-one.

For once we didn't go deep and hang on — we attacked! And Jelavic played in Mirallas whose pace again troubled the Potters rear-guard but alas his shot flashed past the far post. We won a free kick near the edge of the box and Jelavic took. OK he bent around the wall but the pace on it meant no more than a pick up from the keeper.

Jelavic got in a two and eight with Shawcross over something and a bit of concentration was lost allowing Stoke to gain a chance for a shot which Howard did well to palm away from Blues fan Walters. With just one minute added we went to the break a goal to the good.

H/T chat centred on the managers position and most again thought he would stay but unlike previous chats this time added the caveat 'only if he had assurances regarding a sensible budget'. Most applauded him for this stance.

Second half and really it was all about us looking for a second but at the same time full concentration would be required for the barrage of hoof balls, set pieces and long missile like throws.

Jelavic headed a corner away strongly with everyone back to defend then we we forced a corner that Mirallas took with venom Stoke cleared again with everyone back. City did it last game so it is just not us that uses that tactic.

Stoke had a free kick that beat our defence but Huth headed wide and so the game went on in this fashion. It was becoming a game that you wished was over as it got a bit boring as we tried to piece things together on the deck and Stoke to lump it and look for dead ball situations. They were dangerous with these but our rear-guard dealt with them well albeit with a couple of scary moments but in truth Stoke looked a bottom half of the table side.

If ever a player tried hard it was Jelavic but everything he did seemed to go wrong for him, and us, yet the crowd in general afforded him support.

As the clock ticked and the 80-min mark loomed the sight of Mirallas sitting disconsolately on the turf and after treatment limping off with the right leg of his shorts lifted to the groin area left him and us worried. He did come back on at the end to clap and wave to the fans so fingers crossed.

Ross Barkley came on in his place for a ten minute cameo, he got through without mishap and received good encouragement from those assembled.

We had some last attacks and the angel Shawcross got booked for pulling back Jelavic in the 'D' . Baines hit the wall and in the aftermath Osman was felled and got a free kick almost from the same spot as Baines had just fired from. This time Jelavic took, curled it around the wall and the keeper went full length to push away for a corner but the Ref gave a goal kick. How he didn't appreciate the save when over 33,000 others did I just don't know.

The game ended in frantic fashion as Barkley was penalised for a tackle that most thought was good but the Ref didn't and the lad foolishly kicked the ball away and saw yellow. Then a last hurrah from Stoke saw the sub Adam throw himself to the ground on the edge of the box and the Ref bought it or was it that he is a player on loan from the club with the most dubious and biased decisions, anyway the free kick on the whistle had us all nervous until Howard punched away the effort and the whistle went.

MotM – Mirallas just from the returning Jagielka.

Overall a good evening out to witness a typical Stoke encounter. You almost can forecast how things will pan out and we got 94 mins of it. With other results going against us we will just have to soldier on but Spurs next and no Fellaini, Pienaar and possibly Mirallas it could be hard going. Still the more we have out then more will get a chance to prove a point.

Here's hoping

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Gareth Fieldstead
027 Posted 31/03/2013 at 03:39:03
Great as usual Ken but although this is all getting a little tiresome, considering Moyes and Kenwright have held several talks about a new contract, wouldn't they have discussed what budget he would have for every scenario? For example CL qualification = 20 million, EL = 5 million etc. Would we really want Kenwright securing further loans with high interest just to give Moyes 10 million to spend? There are no guarantees either that Moyes will sign the right player or we would finish in a higher position.
Ajay Gopal
029 Posted 31/03/2013 at 04:33:45
Well said, Gareth. I just don't understand this " give the manager what he is asking for". it just doesn't work this way in any business.

Thanks for the report, Ken. I thought Anichebe had a good game. Held the ball up well and released Mirallas and Jelavic on many occasions. Jela was unlucky not to get the goal from the free-kick - that was one of the saves of the season by Begovic - a fine goalkeeper.

On the team selection, a bit harsh on Mucha to see Howard come in immediately after a fine clean sheet performance against the champions. But Howard did well himself. So, except for Mucha, nobody else will be thinking much of it.

Phil Sammon
031 Posted 31/03/2013 at 04:50:45
Yeah Mucha must have been gutted. He deserved another go.

That said, Howard kept a clean sheet so you cant argue too much.

The only thing I'd say is that without a shadow of a doubt my MOTM was Coleman. He was fookin brilliant today

Timothy Sebastian
033 Posted 31/03/2013 at 05:04:12
It was the kind of game in which we would've have come unstuck a month ago. Holding onto a slender one goal lead, conceding a free kick on the edge of the box, there wouldn't have been a doubt in my mind that we'd have ended the game 1-1. So it does show that the team has become more resilent, or lucky, depending on how you look at it. Whether its more resilent or luck, we're getting it at exactly the right time of the season. We need to be strong at the back, ride out our luck and take chances that come our way for the remainder of the season. If we can do this, our chances of securing a top 5 position will be bright.
Ajay Gopal
034 Posted 31/03/2013 at 06:02:09
And, got to say that Moyes tactics of 3-5-2 paid off - the back 3 of Heitinga, Jags and Distin were superb and the Stoke didn't know how to deal with Baines on one side and Coleman on the other. And if afforded Mirallas the freedom to play across the pitch behind the front 2.

In Mirallas, I really do think we have a star on our hands - he reminds me a lot of Ronaldo, whether he has the mental strength to achieve what Ronaldo has is another matter altogether.

Colin Malone
073 Posted 31/03/2013 at 12:33:29
A great workmanlike performance, every player supporting each other, which in my opinion, would not have been the case if Fellaini was playing.

Welcome back, Jags, superb again.

Brent Stephens
079 Posted 31/03/2013 at 12:51:19
Moyes got the side right yesterday - formation and players.
Mike Powell
081 Posted 31/03/2013 at 12:56:19
Moyes got his tactics spot on yesterday. Did any one else notice how much off a shithouse that yarddog Shawcross is? He was dragging Jelavic all the time and as soon as Jela had a go back, the shithouse went moaning to the ref. I am starting to dislike him as much as rat face.
Pat Waine
092 Posted 31/03/2013 at 13:39:34
Stoke were the away side and still had plenty of the ball. We are inclined to drop too deep under Moyes and invite bad sides in on us.
Mark Frere
137 Posted 31/03/2013 at 17:07:22
I thought we were very average. We will have to play much better against Spurs to avoid defeat, if we lose, our already slim hopes of 4th are over.

I hope we play 4-4-2 with Oviedo playing LM. I think our full backs play better with a man in front of them so they can overlap. Let's just play to our strengths and have a go. COYB!

Franny Porter
147 Posted 31/03/2013 at 18:10:38
Mike, you are spot on about that cunt Shawcross. Can you believe he played for England recently? It would, however, take a fucking lot to make me dislike him as much as the sewer rat.
Brian Garside
177 Posted 31/03/2013 at 20:18:04
SAF is not moaning too much about winning by an own goal. We can also accept "ugly" wins sometimes. I was disheartened by the preference of TH ovet JM. That is one very strong signal he has sent to all "squad" players: "It doesen't matter how well you play.. I shall drop you ASAP." Oviedo & Mucha are evidence of this.

This is a sure fire way to uninspire the players whose job is to push first choice players to greater levels of performance in order to keep their place.

Danny Kewley
187 Posted 31/03/2013 at 21:27:35
Not a game for the purists amongst us but come on it was against Stoke-say no more! Shawcross is as likeable as sourarse & gerrard and has got to be one of the biggest oul 'd arses in the prem so all in all it was 3 pts to the good!!!
Tom Tani
200 Posted 31/03/2013 at 23:24:02
In US sports, there's a saying "you should'nt lose your job because of an injury". The fair weather fans who are sad to see Mucha give way seem to forget the many times Howard has come up big for the club. In fact he played the several minutes of the FA game that caused his injury with broken bones in his back!

Howard has been the # 1 keeper for a reason. Muchas did well agst City, but don't; forget he iet in 3 in another PL match as well.

Steavey Buckley
291 Posted 01/04/2013 at 15:40:27
Having a back 3 and 2 wings backed backed up by Gibson patrolling in front of the back 3 made Everton appear more 'solid' defensively and allowed Baines and Coleman to get forward as much as they like because Distin and Heitinga are comfortable in left side and right side respectively with Jags supporting any of them when there is a sign of danger to either flanks.

When Pienaar and Fellaini return from suspension with Osman can provide a useful midfield trio with Mirallas up front with his guile, skill and pace. Something both Jelavic and Anichebe appear to lack.

Such a defensive set up will be important when facing Spurs, Liverpoool, Arsenal and Chelsea away from home, with no problem reverting to a more normal attack minded team when playing their last 3 games at home, QPR, West Ham and Fulham.

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