The day began in the upstairs bar area of the Ship & Mitre pub where The Ruletoros Society had organised an end-of-season get together. Gaz and I attended and, as ever, it was great to meet Everton supporters of all genres and from multiple locations. The burning passion from our club's supporters should never be understated. John, of The Ruletoros Society, asked for a show of hands in the pub for who wanted Everton to lose the match against Manchester City. About half the pub raised their hands. I was certainly in the bizarre situation of wanting Everton to lose the match. It was great fun in the pub. It remains a goal of mine to catch an Everton match in Chile at some point. Hopefully they can get back into the top division quickly following this year's relegation.

Tottenham had lost their match by the time we made it to The Brick which meant Europa League qualification was now practically a certainty… and better still, watching Manchester United’s score come through in the pub meant that 5th position was now also practically a certainty and, as we headed on to the match, we were unanimous in our desire for Everton to lose the match. “Why put up with all that agony for the next 30 years just for the sake of one game which doesn’t mean anything?” was Ste’s take on events. “What’s the point in going to a match which you want to lose?” was Gary’s. The only disappointment was seeing my local team Tranmere Rovers get relegated to the depths of League Two… depressing trips to Newport and possibly Gateshead lay ahead for them next season.

Walking on to the packed stadium and it was quite a strange feeling. Nobody (the away supporters notwithstanding obviously) would ever cheer against Everton and the good things Everton did on the pitch were met with encouragement from the home supporters as Everton battled into the match…Osman, Barkley, Naismith and Lukaku were probably central to most of the good things we did in the first half… or at least what I saw of it. Such was the atmosphere I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention to the match in all honesty.

It was a bit of party atmosphere at times with 5th position effectively secured and so I didn’t know what to do with myself when Ross Barkley looked up and looped in quite the screamer from 34 yards, leaving Joe Hart with no chance at all. It was a great goal and make no mistake, was well celebrated in Goodison Park.

With the circumstances as they were, it was also not too disappointing for anyone when Alcaraz lost Aguero thus giving the Argentine a good opportunity to level the match at 1-1. Score he did though injured himself in doing so and was replaced by Fernandinho for the remainder of the game. That was on 22 minutes and eight minutes later I was watching the rest of the half with Gary having a beer downstairs.

We were chatting away with a few other fellas and only realized Man City had gone ahead when somebody looked up at the screen to see the score read Everton 1-2 Manchester City. Edin Dzeko with the header putting the visitors in front. There was quite a sing-song downstairs amongst 50 or so Evertonians… all in a huddle jumping up and down singing “The School of Science”…beer flowing everywhere.

So distracted by the scenes were Ste and I that we somehow managed to head up into the stadium in the wrong stairwell. We went back down and up the correct one and by the time we’d done that Manchester City were 3-1 ahead… much to my relief, I must admit.

The second half was entertaining. Everton full of effort in attack and Manchester City working hard to preserve their lead and trying to catch Everton on the counter. An exquisite delivery from Leighton Baines was headed in brilliantly by Romalu Lukaku to ensure a twitchy 25 minutes for pretty much everybody.

In the end it was substitute Gerard Deulofeu who perhaps came closest to equalizing when he thrashed into the side-netting late on. Once the impressive Lee Probert called time on the six additional minutes, a few of us could blow a sigh of relief. For me the day worked out perfectly. We went into the game with 5th place guaranteed and had put quite a dent in Liverpool’s title challenge.

Finishing 5th is a remarkable achievement from Roberto Martinez in his first season. He was rightly given a tremendous reception by all on the lap of honour. I’ll be the first to admit I seriously questioned his ability to succeed at Everton but he has more than won me over. It’s a shame we couldn’t quite drag ourselves over the line for a Champions League campaign next season but bringing European football back to Goodison Park is more than adequate. It will be a tough challenge to maintain our progress next season but one which I’m sure Roberto will relish. I’m certainly looking forward to a European trip or two.

So that’s goodbye to Goodison Park until August... and I’m already excited about next season.

Thank You Roberto. It’s all down to you.

Player Ratings:

Howard: Looked a little lethargic with one or two of the goals but I certainly wasn’t complaining! 6

Baines: As good as ever, playing more wing-back than full-back for the majority of the match. Wonderful delivery for Lukaku’s goal. Will be looking forward to Brazil having been ridiculously overlooked in 2010. 7

Coleman: Having now seen Manchester City’s third goal, I felt he could have done a bit more to stop the cross. Regardless, he did OK. A good year for Coleman. Getting in the PFA Team of Season is mighty impressive… and deserved. 6

Alcaraz: Not bad. At fault for Aguero’s goal but didn’t do badly otherwise. 6

Jagielka: Good to see him back. Replaced on 66 minutes. He will likely get a full 90 minutes against Hull City next weekend and should also be on the plane for Brazil. It’ll be nice to see Everton well represented in Brazil this summer. 6

Stones: Struggled a bit at times but that’s what you’ll get from young players. He will only get better and the only way to weed out these mistakes is with games. 5

McCarthy: Did OK. Full of energy as ever. Will be a key cog next season. 6

Osman: Was one of Everton’s brighter players until he was substituted for Aiden McGeady as Martinez went for the jugular. A good effort and fine season from Leon Osman. 7

Barkley: Man of the Match for me and may have given himself a great chance of also joining the travelling party to Brazil. Scored a quite brilliant goal. 8

Naismith: Busy as ever. Has been a really bright spark this season when, let's face it, most of us felt he was no use to us. His shooting was a little wayward yesterday but I certainly wasn’t complaining. Has had a good campaign. 6

Lukaku: Very busy today though I suppose he had more riding on it than most with Chelsea still in with a slim chance of winning the league. It’s a shame we haven’t seen that application from him all season. I, for one, feel we should be looking at targets other than Lukaku. 7

Deulofeu (for Jagielka): Did quite well but as is often the case is just too selfish when it comes to the final pass. Would you take him back next season? I’m not so sure though I suppose another loan deal should not be sniffed at. 6

McGeady (for Osman): Full of his usual trickery but couldn’t quite do enough to make that breakthrough. Will be interesting to see how he develops next campaign. 6

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Reader Comments (12)

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David Hallwood
1 Posted 05/05/2014 at 10:22:34
Sorry Paul, can't get my head round any supporter wanting their team to lose, regardless of who benefits, especially when CL qualification was still up for grabs (albeit 5,000/1 outsider). In addition what's to say that the RS are going to get maximum points off Palace & the Barcodes? This is pure 'Premier League Predictor', who would have thought that Chelsea would've only got a point out of Norwich & Sunderland at the Bridge-nothing is nailed on in football.

You made no mention of Dzeko disgraceful time wasting antics or the fact that buying the title does little for the long term health of football, or even the fact that the team is from Manchester; its just wrong on so many counts.

Yes like us all, I hate the RS, and laughed and laughed when DJ Beater slipped and played in back two dozen times because its one of the highlights of the season. BUT willing the shite to lose is fundamentally different to wanting your team to lose to get at them

Jim Harrison
2 Posted 05/05/2014 at 10:55:42
I agree with David, on both not wanting to win and Dzeko.

In the end the result hurt me. I was on my feet for large parts of the second half, bouncing up and down in the living room willing the goals to come.....for Everton that is. I don't really care what happens now. They maybe classless, do we have to follow suit?

As for Dzeko, the ref should have ordered the stretcher on earlier, and not let him just run straight back on as if nothing happened. He did well to stick to his guns and book him but his actions had already had the desired effect by taking the intensity out of the match. It was all plain sailing after that.

Back to wanting to lose, the Arse only just sneaked it yesterday. They might have been a lot more nervous if we had won..........who knows, but either way, I couldn't imagine actually celebrating a loss?

Steve Brown
3 Posted 05/05/2014 at 11:04:56
Sorry I read until the comment in Alcaraz and then gave up. What match were you watching Paul?
Phil Sammon
4 Posted 05/05/2014 at 11:10:21
'it's a bit like those loonies who kill the kids to get at the ex-missus'

Let's just get one thing clear. Wanting a football team to lose is not like killing children.

Steve Brown
5 Posted 05/05/2014 at 11:12:36
As an additional point, could we have a rest now from the applicants for sainthood like David #2 and Jim at #3, as the criticism of your fellow blues is not right.

I would bet there wasnt a blue at the game or watching on TV who didnt cheer when we scored two goals. Sure some of them also enjoyed the fact that the result didnt help Liverpool, but to equate them to people who kill their kids is a complete disgrace David. It's you who has the warped perspective I respectfully suggest.

David Hallwood
6 Posted 05/05/2014 at 15:34:46
My apologies Phil(#5) and to all Twebbers, my analogy was way over the top.
David Hallwood
7 Posted 05/05/2014 at 15:36:55
Sorry pressed the button too soon, but I wasn't in any way comparing the killing of children to a football match, it was just an analogy and as I've already admitted one in extremely poor taste.
Jim Harrison
8 Posted 06/05/2014 at 02:47:22
Steve, in expressing an opinion I have done no different to those who have expressed theirs, kind of what forums are about.
James Lauwervine
9 Posted 06/05/2014 at 10:40:48
Paul, I think that was Alcaraz's worst match of his career, at least I can't imagine him playing any worse. I confess I'm judging from the TV coverage alone.
No mention of Dzeko. A total disgrace and an embarassment. Should have been sent off. Someone should crack his shoulder with a shovel and show the cheating twat what real pain is.
I watched it on TV and the game was totally ruined by the commentary. This is not a new concept but I have never heard such incessant shit in my life. Tyler is a fucking fool and next time we shouldn't let him into the ground.
Laughed my arse off last night though...
Chad Schofield
10 Posted 07/05/2014 at 00:10:14
I'm guessing that the comments have now been edited to a degree, because David Hallwood seems to be having a slight episode after Phil has made a point about something not written!

It was a very strange day and while I don't want Liverpool to win the league, the people I watched it with wanted us to win and for them to mess up... although nobody predicted how it would pan out on Monday night. Certainly though there were many people talking about the strange torn dilemma up until halftime. Not sure if becoming slightly more well oiled or the fact that seeing is losing spurred this on.

I've never spoken to more Liverpool fans at length about football, most of whom had seemed to expect that they'd be winning the league (as well as everything else domestically and in Europe) for the next decade. It would be awful if they won... not because Rodger's hasn't got them playing well, but just the arrogance stoked very much by the media. As a fellow Blue said, even at Man U's height the majority of their fans were not as awful as most RS fans have been since they got into pole.

Trevor Whyte
11 Posted 07/05/2014 at 02:52:41
Strange to give a match report and ratings to a game after writing "I wasn't paying a great deal of attention to the match in all honesty" ... and not even aware to the scoreline at times.

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