A trip to the capital always ensures early mornings and late nights but winning always seems to make return journeys that much quicker and Saturday was no exception.

The team showed no changes from the last game allowing the manager to keep faith with those that overcame Chelsea much to the disappointment of many travelling fans who wanted Lukaku in from the start.

However we started well and within five minutes Mirallas cut in from the left and fired a wicked one in that Jaaskalainen did well to palm away. A good effort that was to prove our only worthwhile effort on goal all half. That first half was best described as dull but there was a lot of good joined up stuff leading to the final third but that was were where our attacks petered out.

Players who had been blob on last game were finding this one hard to get into and mistakes were aplenty, Jags seemed more prone to mistakes than most and Barry showed the lack of match practice that was supposed to show last week although I think adrenalin alone got him through his debut in such fine fashion. Our inability to create an opening started to attract mutterings regarding Lukaku for Jelavic.

We were looking the better team but while we remained goal-less the set piece masters were still a big danger and some of their counter attacks caused concern and non-more so than on the half hour mark when a fast attack down our right saw the speedy Jarvis cut in and find Morrison criminally unmarked and his shot hit Jags changed direction and left Howard stranded and nestled in the net More mutterings from the faithful.

We tried to respond but somehow we were just not at it and as the half ticked down it became obvious to most that changes would need to be made, we were toothless.

Half-time and many suggestions of the changes needed but the only point agreed on was that Lakaku must be one of them. The manager duly obliged and Jelavic and Naismith did not appear but McCarthy and the much cheered Lukaku did.

The changes seemed to have worked as from the off there was a different feel to the game and the travelling faithful were up immediately as Lukaku showed strength in feeding Mirallas who was off like a robbers dog and rounded the keeper but was driven a little wide and needed to cross rather than shoot and his cross was scrambled away but that passage of early play set the scene for both players and fans to rise to the occasion.

We were dominant now but another slight setback saw Osman go down and had to be led away limping. Oviedo took over on 50mins. Many were calling for Deulofeu but the manager had made his choice. We continued to dominate and the Hammers could hardly get out of their half. A whipped Baines cross was just too fast for Mirallas to head home, it was close though, Barkley was coming into the game more and was strong with the ball at his feet a little too strong on one occasion and got a yellow.

However, it was the youngster who was instrumental in gaining us the equaliser. His strength and fleetness of foot saw him skin Collins who unceremoniously pulled him down right in Baines territory. After the usual melee and wall placing up stepped Baines his boot making contact with the ball produced a sound that suggested he had good contact and the ball arrowed passed the keeper. Hit the top corner and the Blue end erupted. Bainsey must be one of Europe’s top dead ball users at the moment.

We were well on top and it seemed just a matter of time before we struck again. Their Manager threw on a couple of strikers to try to disrupt our rhythm and get some ball of their own on the hour mark and just 15mins later one of those subs Petric was to force yet another mistake out of Jags who tried to usher a ball out of play that never had the legs and allowed Petric to nick it from him and find Nolan in the penalty area well positioned. From my seat McCarthy seemed to bundle into him and he hit the deck. Ref pointed to spot right away, up stepped Noble, Howard went the wrong way we are behind again. Unbelievable given our supremacy.

The good thing was we didn’t sulk but continued to look for a way through with Barkley and Lukaku causing problems openings were starting to appear but the clock was now against us. 80 mins passed and fidgeting was taking place amongst the Blue ranks When Barkley yet again went on a surge that took him passed Noble who thought it best to bring him down, wrong call on two counts, 1-It was within Baines range 2-It was a yellow, his second so he saw red. Same procedure as the first kick only this time the trajectory was to the other corner. Unlike last game when he clipped the bar, this one was down just a touch, keeper didn’t move, ball hit inside of post high and into the net. All hell broke loose and it was unusual and refreshing to see the scorer spurn all those rehearsed celebration moves and genuinely celebrate just like a fan, hell he could have been jumping next to me such was his glee.

From the kick off we were looking for a winner and with Lukaku marauding with strength and finesse he was gaining millions of ‘fan favourite points’ by the second.

Eighty fifth minute arrived and I hope we get a good amount of stoppage time I thought as there had been a couple of lengthy delays, within seconds I was hoping for very little stoppage time as Lukaku went on the rampage again and fed Mirallas. I can see him now twisting and turning his man and from the by-line get in a great fast cross that seemed destined for a Hammers head but the bull that is Lukaku showed either bravery or stupidity as he soared between ball and outrushing defender. He connected with the ball and the net bulged, the defender connected with his head and he lay prone on the turf as delirium was the order of the afternoon on the terrace. After a lengthy stoppage he was got to his feet and led off in shaky fashion — but he soon returned — to a hero’s welcome.

Seven minutes of added time was shown and many wondered would we face an onslaught and succumb. Well we have seen that happen a few times, This time I thought we played those minutes better than I have seen us do in many a year. We looked confident in playing keep-ball and adept at keeping the ball near the corner flag in fact the seven minutes went quite quickly and at the whistle everyone, players and fans had a right knees up.

MotM – Baines/Lukaku

Overall a very satisfying trip out and, when you come back twice from behind to win, the euphoria is such that it is no time for joined up thinking, just celebrations and ceaseless talk on how it all unfolded. None really agreed but no one cared just bloody great — mine is a brown over.

Fulham in the cup next and I expect a load of changes but yet a strong team. I am not going back down to London so best of luck lads. It’s the MNF next. 8:00 ko so that’s tea in L4 and then off to shoot some magpies...

See you there
UP THE BLUES

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Mark Pakulak
583 Posted 22/09/2013 at 23:30:08
While the match was great on TV, I really envy you for being able to witness it in person. Great report! Looking forward to seeing the Blues crush Fulham this week! Go Blues!
Iain Love
585 Posted 22/09/2013 at 23:22:46
I always look for Ken's reports as I feel they are more akin to a fans perspective than a pundits. I had hoped that Lukaku would start but I can understand about not changing a winning team, but hey ho, there you go.

Great win and an exciting climax, although I did feel an away win was in order. We finished with what I would consider my ideal lineup... possibly Pienaar or Deulofeu instead of Oviedo, and hopefully the one for the next league game.

What I wonder at this early stage is IF we are up there round the next transfer window will we try to buy Lukaku (with the underspend from the last one). What a MASSIVE change when he came on, it was like watching a different team, one with teeth. As Moyes said about a "knife to a gunfigh", Lukaku is like a cannon and one that we should not lose.

I don't agree with fans who say "Right, that's it, if this doesn't happen, I'm not going anymore" but, if we don't get this lad, I will feel more let down than at any time in my last 47 years of supporting Everton.

Dennis Stevens
586 Posted 22/09/2013 at 23:32:29
Thanks for the report, Ken. Your reports are a great substitute for the real thing.
Jamie Sweet
625 Posted 23/09/2013 at 01:49:34
Great report as always thanks Ken.

Just wondering if you and those around you are starting to warm to Martinez a bit more than you alluded to in a previous report?

Derek Knox
634 Posted 23/09/2013 at 02:42:33
Can only echo my fellow TWers, a great report as always Ken, makes the long trip even sweeter with a hard fought, but well deserved win. I think the confidence(well hope so) will grow from week to week now, and we will get to see our strongest starting eleven from now on.

Now that all the fixtures have been played out for this week, we remain the only unbeaten side in the Prem. which can be a double-edged sword. Hopefully it will drive us on to maintain this accolade as long as we can.

The downside being, it can also be a spur for opposing teams to try and deprive us of the title, but although early days,I have not seen anything that we should fear in any of our future fixtures. I always try to watch as many games as I can to guage what's coming next.

Hope the Cup game will be taken seriously as well, in that I mean by fielding as strong a side as we can. We have never won this Cup under any of it's titles, but come perilously close on more than one occasion.

Iain Love
674 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:09:46
I would hope given our better strength in depth now that we can put out a fairly strong side in the cup competitions. I'd like to see both Stones & Del boy given 90 mins.
Paul Joy
676 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:02:57
Ken you saw the game as I did pretty much. Definitely a game of 2 halves - the 1st was dire and if we perform like that against a better side we will pay for it.
All 3 subs made an improvement but Lukaku changed the game.
McCarthy gave us more energy and like many others I hoped for Deulofeu to replace Osman. But Oviedo gave us balance and gave his best display for us.
How good were both of those free kicks though!!!
I left the ground feeling like I had played the 90 minutes instead of watching it but full of optimism and like all our travelling fans with a big daft grin on my face.

For those of you out there in the ether Ken's reports really do reflect what takes place at our matches - keep up the good work Ken.


Wayne Fortune
689 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:31:10
I think Koné and Deulofeu will start on Tuesday to see where they are. Great report, by the way.
Wayne Fortune
691 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:31:10
Dup
Wayne Fortune
694 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:31:10
Dup
Wayne Fortune
695 Posted 23/09/2013 at 09:31:10
Dup
Tony Marsh
707 Posted 23/09/2013 at 10:19:15
Spot on, Ken, we do look more confident playing keep-ball and Martinez has instilled the winning mentality so lacking in previous years. The players and the fans are now starting to believe that we are Everton FC, one of the country's most famous and greatest football clubs.

We had become so accustomed to hearing how lucky we were and how grateful for small mercies we should be that it dumbed down expectations to an all-time low. Now, under RM, we won't be afraid of any other team in the Premier League and that to me speaks volumes. We are so transformed in such a short period of time, it's a miracle.

Roberto Martinez has given all concerned with EFC something that Moyes never could or never would and that is belief and a sense of who we really are. The identity of Everton FC is being restored with each passing week and it feels great to feel like winners again. All though there is still some tweaking to do here and there, the football we are now playing is a joy to behold. Roberto Martinez has given us back our pride and the right to call our selves a club with big ambitions. For too long we had to endure negative stereotypical small-minded mentality from the David Moyes Camp to such an extent that our own fans started to believe we were a Mickey Mouse club, just like him.

Unbeaten and for the most part barely troubled so far this season with ball retention figures pundits drool over when talking about Barcelona. God bless you, Roberto, for restoring the pride back into this great football club of ours. Keep it flowing.

Jim Bennings
709 Posted 23/09/2013 at 10:31:26
Great match report. I think we are now beginning to realise that Everton Football Club can actually exist without David Moyes, that every single good thing that happened in the last 11 years was not all of a sudden going to turn dramatically sour once that man (over-rated in my opinion) left.

Martinez has got a plan and he has also got the players wanting to win, not scared to try and win and to keep the ball with confidence. Yes, there will be hiccups along the way and the great passing football will not always pay off with even at times it looking mundane but in all of our matches so far we have adapted well. Dictating the game against the sides we know we can and then varying it with a passionate display of fight and heart full of character against Chelsea.

We had a fantastic deadline day, bringing in a mixture of experience and youth but both of the same quality. Lukaku is brilliant and will lead the line surely from now on.

I loved Jelavic when he first came to our club but we have to face it now, it has gone more than just a barren spell and a lack of confidence. Jelavic offers nothing as the lone striker and if ever a contrast of two different fowards was on display then it was Saturday. Jelly was anonymous in that first half, we'd have lost that game had he stayed on for the full 90 minutes. Once Lukaku came on, it was a whole new ball game full of pace, power, raw aggression and no little skill either.

What has happened to Jelavic over the past seven months or so is a mystery, it really is. Where has that player gone who finished every half-chance with so much self-confidence and lethal accuracy? His entire game has gone completely.

The Fulham game tomorrow surey brings about the chance to see Deulofeu start. I would also start Lukaku. The League Cup represents a fantastic chance of winning silverware, a trip to Wembley plus the added bonus of European football. I cant lie and say I wasn't a tiny bit jealous watching Swansea dismantle Spanish giants Valencia in the fabled Mestalla last Thursday. Yes, I wish it was us there. Times are starting to become exciting again at Everton. Let's hope under the new regime something can actually peak and we can see a reward at the end of it.

Brent Stephens
749 Posted 23/09/2013 at 12:26:54
Ken, felt as if I was there, reading that. You lucky swine.

"All hell broke loose and it was unusual and refreshing to see the scorer spurn all those rehearsed celebration moves and genuinely celebrate just like a fan, hell he could have been jumping next to me such was his glee".

It must have been mega to be with blue boys at WHU when those goals went in. And yes, that celebration of Baines said it all - one proud lad. Don't go, Mr B, please don't go (neither of you).

James Flynn
769 Posted 23/09/2013 at 12:47:08
Thanks Ken. Great stuff, as always.

Still amazed Mourinho sent Lukaku to a terrific team specifically lacking a hungry, something-to-prove, goalscorer.

Thank you, Jose.

Bill Gall
790 Posted 23/09/2013 at 14:08:43
Normally one exquisite free kick in a game gets you on your feet screaming but the second one by Baines was unbelievable and listening to C.Nicholas on sky sports I thought he was going to have a heart attack.

The only negative in the game was seeing what a huge prospect Lukaku is going to be knowing we will not be able to afford to buy him either in January or the end of the season. Lets look foreward to the rest of the season while he is with us.

Trevor Lynes
803 Posted 23/09/2013 at 14:36:01
The 1st half was really poor and West Ham were poor opponents too which is just as well.

I still feel the players at our club are struggling with the passing game especially in our half.
Lukaku made a big change with his strength and direct play, he was really quick too which with his build makes him a really formidable striker.
He is not yet a new Drogba but I can see it in him !

My only negative is the fact that without Baines two fantastic free kicks we would have been struggling to get more than a draw out of a game we were entitled to win.

Lets hope that Kone can step up to the plate too as Jelavic is not cutting the mustard playing up front on his own.
Jelavic obviously needs a strike partner as he is not a target man who can hold the ball up.
He is a finisher if partnered by a decent target man. Maybe he would play well with Lukaku or Kone but he cannot be played as a lone striker.
If we are to continue with a lone striker then Jelavic will have to be a bench warmer :(

It will be difficult to fit Barry, Gibson, Barkley and McCarthy in midfield as I still believe that Pienaar fits in very well with Baines.

My team would be Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Barry,Barkley, McCarthy and Pienaar with Lukaku up front. The bench could then include Kone Gibson, Osman and Jelavic. with Stones, Robles and Oviedo amongst others.

Mike Gwyer
846 Posted 23/09/2013 at 17:42:50

Iain Love - Prepare to be "let down".

In 45 minutes I can confidently say that Lakaku is the best striker I have seen at Everton since Lineker - the boy will go back to Chelsea and probably get to be their main man. As for us buying him - bids will start at 25 to 30 million (Lakaku really is that good) but Chelsea will not be interested.

Let's enjoy watching him whilst we can..


Jon Cox
894 Posted 23/09/2013 at 19:24:06
Good one Ken. Enjoyed that. But lets have a look at Lakaku. For all those thinking that come January we will buy this guy, think again. There is only one reason this guy plays for us and it’s to do with Chelsea NOT Everton.

Chelsea by the way actually like us that’s why they GAVE us Lakaku. They think that this guy is so good, but 1 or 2 years from the real deal, they will loan him out. It was a lottery controlled by Abramovic.

Pick a club who is not a major threat, loan them a real potent striker, and hopefully they and he will inflict massive damage on our (perceived) enemies.

This, guys, is the real reason we have Lakaku in our side. Cynical? You bet! It’s all about money. Did anyone see by the way, the goal Cardiff scored against Spuds. It was a CARBON COPY of the night we played Villarreal and Papa dupe Reffed.

Clive Rogers
922 Posted 23/09/2013 at 21:26:18
The big difference is the manager. Martinez is going to be a top manager. He's a breath of fresh air after dour Davie.
Andy Crooks
926 Posted 23/09/2013 at 21:30:48
Trevor, # 803, I think you are spot on about Jelavic. It was astonishing to see just how much better Lukaku was. I agree that Jelavic is not a lone striker but I believe that Jelavic with Naismith just behind can offer an alternative when needed. I hope Kone gets a chance at Fulham to see how he fits in .

It's all about options and we have more now than we have had in many years.

Andy Crooks
927 Posted 23/09/2013 at 21:40:07
One concerning factor about the game was the astonishing decision to allow Lukaku to remain on the field after his head injury. Another blow on the head, how ever minor, could have had serious consequences.
Peter Leslie
930 Posted 23/09/2013 at 21:43:30
Agreed on likely he made all the difference

Wouldn't be quite so negative on our chances of getting him permanent though : come May, what HE wants will have a lot to do with it:

Can see him scoring 20 goals and being thoroughly infected with the blue virus

COYB

Peter Leslie
931 Posted 23/09/2013 at 21:49:24
Cack bloody autocorrect... Lukaku
Charles Brewer
946 Posted 23/09/2013 at 22:17:06
Some years ago, I was invited by a client, an major insurance company, to go along to West Ham to see the Hammers play Man Utd. There was a free kick out on the right hand side. Beckham took it and scored. It was a wonderful shot.

On Saturday, Baines surpassed it.

I have seen much about Sheedy. Yes, he was excellent, but I don't think I have ever seen a more complete player in English football than Baines. He is a very good defender. Not the best, perhaps, but you would have to go back to the time when a full back was just there to chop wingers to get much better. Cole by contrast is normally out of position when goals are scored against England, wandering about and so the other poor sod gets the blame.

Winger? I remember Derek Temple being booted off the pitch by Dirty Leeds (that is the right name isn't it?) and the ref taking the players off – a better and more decent solution would have been to send half the Leeds team off: I remember Sheedy! Super winger, I remember Duncan McKenzie, the most intelligent (in football terms) British player I have ever seen, right there with Cruyff and Pele. Baines is almost as good.

Free kicks. The nonpareil! I do not believe I have ever seen a better taker of free kicks in world football. Stone cold on penalties, better than Beckham on the 25 yard, "wall in the way".

Overall, role for role, I am not sure I have ever seen a better player.

Harold Matthews
960 Posted 23/09/2013 at 23:12:58
Andy C. You're right about the head bang. Same thing happened to me when I was a lad. After the match, I got the bus home but woke up in Birkenhead General Hospital with doctors round the bed. I'd been out for over an hour.
Peter Cummings
971 Posted 24/09/2013 at 00:04:55
Trevor Lynes, agree with your comment on Jela, the lad had little/no service from midfield and had to pay the price. Naismith was only a shadow of his performance last week so he had to go but would have preferred the French kid as sub who you omitted from your squad selection for our next game. Great report, Ken.
Ken Buckley
015 Posted 24/09/2013 at 08:51:41
Jamie#625. With Baines staying and scoring worldies 2 great wins, Barry and McCarthy slotting in well, Barkley now running at defences with purpose rather than back and sideways and the explosive debut of Lukaku leaves everyone on the front foot and happy. Long may it continue.
Matty Williams
084 Posted 24/09/2013 at 13:08:23
Great report Ken, as usual. Loads of Blues going ape-shit behind the goal with Lulu's winner. I just hope we can stay unbeated as long as possible – consistency is the key in the Prem.

A win at Fulham now would boost the confidence levels to the max. We need to end our piss poor form there & get into the next round> We can win this League Cup now... we must believe & remain positive. COYB

Ben Dyke
910 Posted 27/09/2013 at 22:41:38
Tony Marsh I always look out for your comments as they are sound and entertaining! Do you not think you are being overly nice about RM because you were so fed up with Moyes? Definitely some refreshing signs in the games so far but the jury is still out for me as to whether he will be able to consistently better Moyes league finishes and ultimately that's my main yardstick, even if I do prefer a lot of things about RM.

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