I was recently away for a few days and with my better half already out of the house I locked the door and posted the keys back through letterbox…breaking the fob on my car keys in doing so. If that wasn’t frustrating enough, imagine how I felt just the other day when the car refused to start the reason being that the fob on the car key had triggered the immobilizer on the vehicle. Unbelievable.

So with the car getting fixed I was mercifully given a pool car to get around in though this has an exhaust problem which restricted me to 55 mph on the inside lane of the motorway…making for quite a frustrating drive from work to Goodison Park for “the start of our adventure in the Capital One Cup” to quote a bit of Martinez from the matchday programme.

I’d like to be able to tell you that all this frustration had been let out at the match but this wasn’t the case. Indeed more frustration followed when Kevin Stroud blew his whistle to signal an extended 30 minutes of extra time. This meant I had to listen to the fella behind me yell repeatedly at the top of his lungs for even longer, though most importantly, watch Everton toil for even longer until Marouane Fellaini saved our bacon five minutes from time to set us up for a date at Craven Cottage in four weeks.

The evening started well enough. My rickety temporary car got me to Goodison with an hour to spare. I met Sue, Gary and Gaz in the pub. It was great to see Gaz in particular who spent a lot of the summer in intensive care with a head injury following a fall down some stairs. Great to see him making a full recovery and getting back to normal.

Moving onto the ground and we had great seats directly behind the goal, my only gripe being the bloke behind who just would not stop shouting all match long but that’s the miserable git in me I suppose.

Quite a few changes for Everton. Robles debuting in goal; Oviedo getting a chance at left back; Stones debuting in the middle; Hibbert returning at right back; Hetinga given an opportunity to play midfield hard man; Deulofeu also making his debut and Naismith and Kone both given their first starts of the season (Kone his first for the club). Indeed only Jagielka, Osman and Barkley survived from the team which drew 0-0 with West Brom at the weekend.

In some ways the match was quite similar to the weekends draw with the Baggies as we offered a lot of pretty passing with no real end product. Having said that, Kone, Osman and Naismith were all guilty of missing presentable first half opportunities with Kone somehow missing from inside the six yard box twice in the first half, Osman twice fluffing his lines in the same opportunity and Naismith heading tamely towards goal. Barkley, Deulofeu and Heitinga could at least claim to be unlucky not to have scored with their more difficult openings.

As we’ve found countless times previously to our cost, if we miss our chances and leave the back door open we are susceptible to conceding soft goals. We did that again and found ourselves behind on 36 minutes when Luke Freeman scored past Robles to give Stevenage a shock lead. It was important we responded and Lord knows how crucial the timing of the goal was when Deulofeu took it upon himself to bail Everton out.

The Barcelona protégé taking on the full back, cutting inside onto his left foot and placing the ball past Chris Day. A lovely goal by the Spaniard which reminded me of Arteta in his pomp. The half time whistle blew straight away and the teams went in for half time.

You hoped Everton could build on this momentum after the break and whilst they were much improved for 10 minutes or so we soon drifted back to our in-cohesive mode of over-complicated passing and dreadful finishing with Kone again the most wasteful. The substitutions didn’t help. It seemed Martinez told Jagielka and Distin they were to get a half each and then on 66 minutes Coleman replaced Hibbert. This left just one substitute left with two used up on defenders.

Thankfully the final substitute did make the difference with Fellaini causing enough havoc in the penalty area and stabbing home after a spot of pinball in the penalty area though it was entirely preventable - a Stevenage defender inexplicably booting the ball across his own penalty box for no apparent reason to begin the pinball. Fellaini did have a couple of opportunities prior so I suppose you could say Stevenage didn’t heed their warning.

There was time for a slight scare even after this though Robles showed some safe hands to keep hold of a late effort on goal from Stevenage.

I breathed a sigh of relief after all that frustration and nipped home in the noisy motor. I was then further relieved to hear my car has been fixed and for much less cost than expected. I hope Everton’s journey improves just as swiftly as it’s certainly been a challenging one so far this term.

Player Ratings
Robles: I thought he did quite well. He was pretty helpless with the goal and kept his concentration up when he had to as was generally untested. He likes to distribute the ball quickly. Quite promising but we’ll have to see how he gets on in the more testing environment of Craven Cottage. 7

Oviedo: If we lose Baines we are snookered as we have no replacement in that position. I don’t know if Garbutt can step up but judging on this display Oviedo certainly can’t. We would have to sign someone n very quickly but left back is such a specialist position it’s hard to tell who would be available. For my money Oviedo looked very weak, lacking in confidence and rather timid. Needs to make more of his opportunities. 3

Jagielka: Did fine but only played 45 minutes. 6

Stones: Had a decent debut. Looks comfortable on the ball and seems capable of distributing well. He had a few hairy moments but overall he looks a good prospect. 6

Hibbert: Looked a little rusty perhaps but coped fine before being substituted. 6

Heitinga: He seems more suited to defensive midfield under Martinez and should Fellaini leave I would imagine he would get more opportunities there. He competed quite well and kept things ticking over tidily. Not a bad effort at all. 6

Osman: I thought he’d settle in nicely into Martinez passing style but in fact he seems to be struggling more than most. Will struggle to stay in the team when Gibson returns at this rate I imagine. 5

Naismith: Never short of endeavor but too often you feel the move breaks down when Naismith gets on the ball. Seems to be a few steps behind what other players are thinking most of the time. Where was Anichebe tonight? 5

Deulofeu: 120 minutes will have done him good in the long run but he looked exhausted by the end. He did pretty well. Scored a lovely goal and has bags of skill though his corner and free kick distribution was generally disappointing. I’d be looking to get him into the team as soon as possible, maybe replacing Pienaar on the flank and moving Pienaar in-field to replace Osman. I’m looking forward to seeing him over the course of the season. 7

Barkley: Our best player by a mile. Drifted in and out in the second half but he basically ran the show. He is so comfortable on the ball and loves to dictate play. Certainly the biggest positive of Martinez tenure so far. My man of the match. 8

Kone: Dreadful. He’ll need to improve his match sharpness and quickly. His touch was awful and he squandered plenty of chances. Looks as though attack is still our problem position. 4

Substitutes
Distin (for Jagielka): Very good. Is coping with the new passing system better than Jagielka. Very imposing at the back and keeps things moving. 7

Coleman (for Hibbert): Hardly got going. Was very surprised as I thought he might make a significant difference. 5

Fellaini (for Barkley): Certainly made the difference and highlighted just what a miss he would be if our worst fears are realized before the deadline. Will take some replacing and you certainly realized he wasn’t there during the 90 minutes and took no time a tall to show us what we were missing in extra time. If not for Barkley’s brilliance he’d have been man of the match. 8

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Steve Jones
179 Posted 29/08/2013 at 09:02:16
Good write up Paul and I agree with Phil.
Robles was at fault for heir goal, he should have come out of his area to clear the long ball, poor decision making, but otherwise dd well.
Oviedo not good enough, can't use his right foot to slide the ball inside and forward, so always turns back. Hibbert looked out of place with the system, certainly can't play wing back, and Osman playing too deep to affect the game.Naismith not up to it either, no pace for playing up front and not clever enough in mid field.
It's clear the younger players, Barkley, Deulofeu, Stones are the future this season, much more energy and passion.
Andrew Ellams
182 Posted 29/08/2013 at 09:34:58
Positives and negatives came out of last night which in a strange way is all positive because he should know a bit more about his squad as a whole.

On the plus side we are through to the next round, no injuries to first team players and our 3 youngsters gave us plenty to get excited about in a dire game. As for Kone he was dreadful last night but definitely needs another chance and soon to put some of those missed chances behind him.

That Martinez eh, ruins every striker he brings in.

Lee Gorre
184 Posted 29/08/2013 at 09:29:52
Agree about Robles. Not all down to him as the whole team were slow getting back into position for their goal, but Robles should have come out and cleared it. He looks to casual for me. Oviedo, Kone, Naismith and Heitinga all demonstrated that whilst we have a reasonable sized squad, its lack quality in depth badly. I like the look of Stones, he is very comfortable on the ball and good in the air. He did get caught once or twice but looks a good enough prospect that, as with Barkley, one of the "big boys" will come and pick him off in time.
Kevin Gillen
192 Posted 29/08/2013 at 09:52:00
thank you Paul for the report. Don't agree about Distin over Jagielka. distin could have given away a clumsy and unneccesary penalty away against WBA on Saturday and gave the ball away far more than Jagielka did. A minor quibble. I do agree about Fellaini though. To me he is one of the best and most effective players in the Premiership. He would make Arsenal's team and improve Man U. It is depressing though to realise we are now just a feeder club for the top four. Spurs are moving on approximately four players in the next few days and we have spent less than just about everyone, even Hull City with 20,000 fans have spent more. Blue Bill needs to look harder 24/7.
Sam Higgins
195 Posted 29/08/2013 at 09:02:53
Nice report Paul as always, Phil I think your being too kind. Last night was utter fucking gash of the highest order some of it reminding me of the early 90's. We should be steamrolling Stevenage and far from being a season of promise this is now turning into an absolute fucking nightmare. Baines has made it quite clear that he wants out so he's gone. Felli is probable to follow. We need reinforcements and we need them quick otherwise its mid table and no silverwear. We need a proven striker and a creative midfielder at the very least. Its as simple as that. Without those we are going nowhere. Look at Spurs. Once our equivalents - they are spending nearly £100m on quality acquisitions in this transfer window. Yes I know they are getting a shit load for Bale but Daniel Levy has played it perfectly. If only we had a chairman like that. He would of sold Rooney for £50m cash im sure about that!! Anyway my pont is - everton need to do something and fast, Cause the first 3 games are undicating that there is fuck all to get excited about.
Nelly Verdonghan
198 Posted 29/08/2013 at 10:00:39
Kone is up alongside Bernie Wright, Rod Belfitt & Brett Angell as one of the worst Everton centre forwards I have EVER seen...just to think we paid £5.8 mil for this clown when Spurs are willing to accept £6mil for Defoe...I know who I’d have signed

I posted on this site before Kone came to us that we should never even consider signing him...my opinion based on watching him regularly for two seasons in Spain...how right I was....he is awful and it will get worse believe me

Jim Bennings
205 Posted 29/08/2013 at 10:10:32
It looks like it is going to be a long hard slog this season and I am sorry if I keep on repeating myself but it is down to none other than a downright lack of investment. When will this Everton board see that you cannot keep turning water into wine?

I understand and appreciate Martinez is attempting to introduce a new playing style here but you cannot do anymore with players as limited as Naismith, Osman etc. They are not good enough.

Osman has been a loyal servant to us over the years but we need to put him out to grass now, at times last night watching him and Naismith play was like watching two pensioners play – they are so slow.

I also hope that we know what we are going to miss when Fellaini goes.You can say what you like about his lack of consistency etc but the fact remains, lose him then you lose a talismanic threat... Who else takes a ball down on the chest like Fellaini? Who else is so useful in the air in both boxes? Who else looks capable of scoring goals? It's a shockingly worrying situation and in many ways I feel for Martinez.

Then we move on to who the hell would replace Baines? Certainly not Oviedo on what I have seen of him! Okay, he hasn't played much but for me he looks too lightweight and never really seems to have the ball under complete control; if you like, the left-back version of Arouna Koné.... Koné, there is another one, what a mare he had, although I am going to give it a bit of time before I judge him fairly.

What else do we have? The only two promising things to come out of the night were the outstanding displays by two proper footballers head and shoulders above the rest of what was on the park last night... I am talk Barkley and Deulofeu. There is real promise there for us. At least we are through to the next round anyway... although you sense more performances like lately and it will probably be our last round.

Let's hope we head into next Monday's deadline feeling positive – not gloomy, as we have done on many deadline days in recent years.

Steve Jones
216 Posted 29/08/2013 at 10:55:40
Defoe is a tremendous shout Nelly, how many of the chances created in the last 3 games would he have gobbled up?
Shane Corcoran
218 Posted 29/08/2013 at 11:06:04
What's the official line on Anichibe. I get the feeling there could be a lot of activity in and out before the window shuts.
Mark Tanton
222 Posted 29/08/2013 at 11:21:37
Hull Daily Mail carries a picture of Anichebe on the back. Yes, Shane I predicted earlier this week there'll be a few comings and goings yet. 3 or 4 out and 3 or 4 in.
Nelly Verdonghan
225 Posted 29/08/2013 at 11:29:19
Why are people asking about Anichebe??

Nobody is seriously suggesting that Anichebe is the answer to our problems are thay ?????

David Graves
236 Posted 29/08/2013 at 11:52:27
Paul I have to disagree with your summary on John Stone - same rating as Hibbert and Heitinga?? I thought he was excellent. He was strong when challenging their centre forward but is also really comfortable on the ball. He showed real potential last night.
David Graves
246 Posted 29/08/2013 at 12:30:47
Steve @ 179 I agree completely! Naismith, Osman and Hibbert are just not good enough. Osman should have controlled the match and Hibbert cannot play past the half way line. Stones, Barkley and Deulofeu were excellent.
John Crook
250 Posted 29/08/2013 at 12:39:39
Heitinga seemed very happy playing as the holding midfielder and dropping back into a back 3 when need be. He looked excellent against Stevenage, Blackburn and Betis. I think it might be a time to see how he operates in that role in Premier League matches at the expense of Osman who is way off form. I was impressed with Deulofeu, very quick feet. Some of his corners were excellent last night so I disagree with the ratings comments.
Kristian Boyce
262 Posted 29/08/2013 at 13:20:32
Nelly, unfortunately the performance of our other main strikers in the last 3 games, Anichebe is the better striker. I'm no way saying that he is the answer, but it highlights how desperate we are and what poor predicament we are in.

I'd be quite happy to cash in on him, but we are desperate for more up front.

Kevin Gillen
268 Posted 29/08/2013 at 14:02:44
Kristian, completely agree about Anichebe. Jelavic gave 6 free kicks (three for offside) away to WBA on Saturday in the seventy minutes he was on the pitch. I've still got my fingers crossed about Kone but if you look at how Anichebe played alongside Fellaini away last year at Swansea you'll know he has a lot more about him than the other two.
Nelly Verdonghan
297 Posted 29/08/2013 at 14:53:41
OMG...things ARE at an all time low if people think Big Vic is the answer to our problems ...have you not witnessed his general performance & attitude over the last 3 seasons ???

Putting a decent shift in at Swansea for ONE game does not make him the player we need....it’s the minimum you should expect from any pro players....alas he has let us down far too many times over the last few years for me to change my mind....

Big Vic dear oh dear !!

Sam Higgins
352 Posted 29/08/2013 at 16:24:43
Quite agree Nelly. Big Viv is Big load of shite as far as I'm concerned. Great championship player I'm sure but not PL. Nor is Jelly. And nor is Kone by the looks of it. Lets be truthful about the matter. We havent had a decnt striker since Rooney. Beattie, Yakubu, Anichebe, Beckford, Jelavic all utter donkey wank. We need a 20 plus season man, a fucking goal poacher.
Colin Smith
518 Posted 29/08/2013 at 22:06:52
Got to agree about Kone, I'm struggling to think of a worse debut, reminded me of an inferior Paul Wilkinson, its too early to can him after one game, but let's say there was plenty of room for improvement. Oviedo was probably a bigger disappointment, when I saw him last season I thought we had found Baines mark 2 - how wrong can you be, clueless defending & going forwards and a bit lucky to stay on the pitch with a couple of iffy lunges in the 2nd half - a very dodgy haircut completed his night, I hope he didn't pay a lot of money for that. Difficult to defend Naismith as well, while I feel sorry him being stuck out of position on the left wing, even in his best position (playing off a striker) he just doesn't cut it.

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