The Most Fun This Season Yet

Into the last 16 we head and who knows how far we can go, especially with the golden ticket of the Champions League at the end of the rainbow.

Paul Traill 27/02/2015 25comments  |  Jump to last

Having craftily booked Friday off work I arrived at the pub with a bit of a spring in my step, catching up with Gary, Sue, my other half and a few others before setting off to Goodison Park.

It was good fun in the pub. Seeing Liverpool go a goal behind to Slaven Bilics Besiktas whilst Tottenham lost on another TV... and Celtic on another, it was entertaining and we headed on up the road all smiles.

Onto the match and Tim Howard continued in goal, Luke Garbutt was given an opportunity at left back with Alcaraz slotting into defence alongside Jagielka. Darron Gibson, following his impressive cameo against Leicester City, was given a starting birth alongside the returning Gareth Barry and James McCarthy. Kevin Mirallas also started the game. We attacked towards the Park End in the first half.

I dont know if Young Boys were trying to take advantage of Tim Howards recent form but early on they were trying shots from distance, all of which were wayward. This all changed on 13 minutes when from a corner kick Sanogo somehow bundled the ball in following a Howard save. I havent had the benefit of a replay but it looked to me like Howard might have done better with the initial effort. There were appeals for offside also and though there was a little confusion, the goal stood and Young Boys had the lead.

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The next 10 minutes were just awful. Everton were chasing shadows all over the pitch and just couldnt get hold of the ball. Things could have got a lot worse when Scott Sutter hit the crossbar from close range. Everton were all over the place and the crowd let them know it.

Thankfully this wasnt the case for long when Naismith was sent tumbling in the penalty area by Wolfi (should that have been a red card by the way?). Seamus Coleman darted a long way to try and grab the ball but Lukaku had beaten him to it and thankfully slammed it into the corner of the net... just. That was a big relief for Everton as we were really struggling before that.

Just five minutes later Everton had turned the game around with a quite brilliant goal. Gibson started things by playing a lovely first time pass out to Garbutt who ran the ball on. His cross was pulled back to Lukaku who hammered the ball in on the half volley. Everton all of a sudden 2-1 ahead.

Heading into the ground we were well aware Liverpool had gone into extra time in Istanbul and word had gotten around that theyd gone to penalties. A rumour spread that they had lost on penalties though this turned out to be folly, until some people in one of the corporate boxes started celebrating wildly. The penny quickly dropped that they had been keeping an eye on the Liverpool penalty shoot out on their TV. Goodison erupted in glee. It was great fun!

The players seemed to buzz off this reaction and were excellent for the rest of the half, and even wrapped up the game when an excellent through ball from Gibson was finished by Mirallas.

So Everton were 3-1 ahead and it was party time at Goodison Park, a party which was extended to the away supporters in the second half. Young Boys fans were outstanding entertainment after the break, singing, jumping, raving and spinning their scarves. At one point the rest of the stadium applauded their efforts. The second half, though not without chances, was a bit of a damp squib and the Young Boys supporters certainly put a smile on everyones face. On the pitch, Arouna Kone came closest to scoring with his opportunities when he struck the base of the post but it mattered not, Everton finished 3-1 winners, going through 7-2 on aggregate.

As I get married this year I dont have the holidays or the cash to go on another European trip this season. Should we somehow make the final I imagine Id find a way to go, but otherwise I just cant go anywhere this season so Ill be watching the draw with excitement and envy tomorrow. Ajax would be interesting. I cant even imagine how many Evertonians would make the short hop to Amsterdam for that shindig!

So into the last 16 we head and who knows how far we can go, especially with the golden ticket of the Champions League at the end of the rainbow. With Manchester City and Arsenal as good as knocked out, and Tottenham, Celtic and Liverpool definitely out, if Chelsea fail to progress against Paris Saint Germain we would be the only British team flying the flag in Europe this season.

THE PRIDE OF BRITAIN! With our league form, youve got to love the irony.

Player Ratings:
Howard: Seemed to improve with catching and distribution second half when he was very untroubled. Would like to see their goal again though as I thought he might have saved it. 5
Garbutt: A few miss-controls and miss-hit passes aside, he had a good game and added an assist. Not bad at all. Hopefully we can keep him on the books. 7
Alcaraz: Did OK. Looked comfortable at the back though wasnt exactly under immense pressure. 6
Jagielka: Fine. 6
Coleman: My man of the match. Whilst everyone else lost their heads in them horrible first 20 minutes he was the only one who kept his. He continued his good form throughout the game also and was busy down the right hand side. 8
Barry: Kept us ticking over. 6
Gibson: Always on the move, always wanting the ball and always looking for the forward pass. If hes fit enough, keep him in the team. A good performance including an assist and a big hand in our second goal. 8
McCarthy: Quite busy until substituted on the hour mark. 6
Mirallas: Did very well in spells though seemed to lapse in concentration at other times. Still, his goal might do him so good and if he can just add that consistency to his game he might have an impact yet this season, regardless of where his future lies. 6
Naismith: Full of endeavour and won us the equalising penalty. 6
Lukaku: Started poorly but forced himself into the game, scoring a brace before substituted just a few minutes into the second half. Seemed to be limping off. I wonder if that may keep him out of the trip to the Emirates. 7

Kone: Busy. A good all round player though lack of game time is impacting on his shooting range. 6
Besic: Fine. 6
Osman: Got involved, even having a goal disallowed for offside at the death though Id sneaked off by then. Good to have him back. 6

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Reader Comments (25)

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Matt Traynor
1 Posted 27/02/2015 at 07:52:30
I have to say the match reports on TW seem a lot more accurate than what's appearing in the online media. Almost all of them focusing on us celebrating more the exit of the RS (their first ever loss on penalties in Europe it seems) than what our team was doing on the pitch. One online rag had the attendance at 42,000. When did we increase it? None mention the ovation given to the excellent away support. All of this couched in the fact that we are a mere sideline to the fact that the RS, Spurs, Celtic went out. I know it's a constant gripe but it's embarrassing people make a career out of being poor journalists/editors etc.

Watching on my feed, which having had to do a switch to Setanta from ITV when they went into extra time, it was good to see Gibson playing a full 90 (does he look as if he could do with losing a couple of kilos?) and his range of passing and calmness was great to see.

I mentioned on another thread, but that 2nd was Lukaku's 100th senior goal in football. I think he was 16 when he made his debut for Anderlecht, so despite his poor first touch etc. (or room for improvement?) he's a 20 goal a season man – that in a team that doesn't always play to his strengths. In today's market that is what you pay £28m for... (And I read somewhere that included the loan fee from last season?)

Charlie Gibson
2 Posted 27/02/2015 at 08:07:22
Matt, you're right. Lukaku is a finisher. We berate him for shoddy hold up play, for a poor first touch; in those areas he can be very frustrating (but is improving). But over the two legs we have seen exactly what Lukaku is – a born goalscorer.

He wasted chance after chance against Leicester, but was always in the right position to have the opportunity in the first place. And his 5 goals against YB shows exactly why we have to play to his strengths – put the ball in the box and chances are he'll get there ahead of the defender and get a shot away.

The shape of the team really suited Rom last night; Naismith, and Gibson in particular, were busy between the lines and threaded some sublime passes through the defence. That's what Lukaku (and Mirallas) need. Balls into the box that they can attack.

We look so dangerous on the counter, when we attack with pace and purpose. If Arsenal (and Stoke) come at us in the next two games and we play like that, we might just nick three or four valuable points.

Eddie Dunn
3 Posted 27/02/2015 at 08:13:43
Good report Paul, I agree with your ratings and hope that Lukaku is ok.
Matt, on a similar note to these journalists, watching ITV I heard the Goodison faithful give the voiciferous Young Boys' fans a couple of loud ripples of applause, and waited to hear a commentator or pundit mention it.
They didn't, and it is amazing at how out of touch some of these people are.
I changed channels to watch Lovren sky his pen, and screamed with delight.
The big media story today is Liverpool going out. Well I don't think that they should have been parachuted in, in any case!
Andy Meighan
5 Posted 27/02/2015 at 08:48:53
All of a sudden, Lukaku is a world class striker? Yes, he’s taken his opportunities in Europe well... but, as for his domestic form, well let’s go there:

He could have easily won us the game against Leicester but proved how wayward he can be at times in that game.

That said, the pleasing thing I suppose is we have been creating chances the last few games – something that we weren’t doing enough of over December and January. The acid test comes in the next two tough league games away from home. That’s where I tend to judge strikers; after all, the league is your bread and butter.

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 27/02/2015 at 08:58:00
Love the BBC but even they, on 8.30 Today radio news slot had it all about the teams that went out. And finally, in under five seconds, a nod to us going through. Bastards. Love you no more, BBC. Well, I do, but...
Patrick Murphy
7 Posted 27/02/2015 at 09:03:24
If one of those other clubs had been the sole UK representatives in the EL the lead stories would have been very different. It only highlights how much influence the media has on how the clubs are perceived, it also adds to the mantra that Everton are a small club - not in our eyes of course.

I hope we make it all the way to the final now, but I don’t expect the BBC to bang the drum for us as they’ll be far too busy having a week of anticipating their favourite side appearing at Wembley and their dream of seeing Stevie Me lift a trophy in his final appearance.

It also appears that no punishment will be meted out to our lovable neighbours by UEFA despite flouting the so called fair play rules, one rule for certain clubs another rule for the’s sickening and a tad unseemly but this is football in the 21st century.

It’s for those reasons that Evertonians should back their team to the hilt at every given opportunity even though at times they do make it extremely difficult to do so.

Paul Burns
8 Posted 27/02/2015 at 09:48:28
Everton have a shocking media persona and the buffoons ruining our club never do anything about it. It’s pathetic and the reason why, in most areas of the city, almost every young kid has a red kit on. This is too serious to ignore yet Everton FC seem, typically, to be totally oblivious of it like turkeys voting for Christmas.

This subject deserves a thread on its own, anyone care to get the ball rolling with a proper piece on Everton"s lack of media savvy?

Charlie Gibson
9 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:06:55
Brent, Eddie – as if to hammer it home, the Metro (awful free London rag) had a double-page spread in this morning's Sport section on the Europa League. One page – Spurs. Other page? Liverpool.

There were three lines – THREE LINES – on the page that said something like "Everton were the only British team to progress, beating Young Boys 3-1 and 7-2 on aggregate". That was it in terms of Everton coverage.

I shouldn't have been surprised. As usual, the two London clubs getting big coverage, and the scouse club getting barely a mention.

Andrew Ellams
10 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:12:31
Not sure why the people get so hung up on the media. Who cares what a bunch of lazy journalists think? Lets face it, the RS and Spurs games finished earlier so it was probably easier for them to write their copy and bugger off to the pub.

At the end of the day, they are both out and we're not.

Patrick Murphy
11 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:15:55
Andrew (10) The reason I personally get hung up by the media coverage is because it has a detrimental effect on our club in many many ways not least commercially, it also makes some players feel that they should be plying their trade at one of those darling of the media clubs and therefore makes it even harder for a club like ours to compete on and off the pitch.

If you believe it is purely a case of lazy journalism you are sadly misguided these so called lazy journalists are on the whole highly intelligent and well-educated people and they use their talents to shape the views of the masses on behalf of the proprietors of those outlets.

BTW I don’t remember massive coverage of Everton in the first-leg despite kicking off earlier than the other clubs. ’It’s the Sun wot won it’ may well have been an inaccurate assertion but it and other media outlets do have a disproportionate influence on the population at large.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:41:39
Well said, Patrick.

I see Wofsburg are favs for the Europa. Didn't we play them at some point in the past?!

Ian Bonnette
13 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:43:16
Another piece of tosh here too by the BBC...

Not even a mention us winning the league or Cup Winnners Cup, just Utd beating us. It's like we didn't exist....

Tony McNulty
14 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:48:45

This issue has nagged at me down the years. Does the media coverage matter?

Regretfully I am more in the Patrick camp (although I wouldn't necessarily agree that journalists are necessarily that intelligent). Unfortunately these hacks affect our image and standing. And when it comes issues such as: seeking a buyer for the club; obtaining sponsorships; persuading some players to join; attracting a new generation of fans etc., the medium becomes the message.

The image we have seems a hotchpotch of some vague nations which include: a sentimental view of 'good ol' Bill', a real fan of the old school; and plucky Everton, punching above their weight in a declining city with a low income fan base who turn up in shell suits at their antediluvian stadium.

Unfortunately, media coverage does matter.

Andrew Ellams
15 Posted 27/02/2015 at 10:57:41
Tony, never worry about stereotypes, the world is full of crap ones. Apparently there are still people out there who think Liverpool are supported by scousers.
Phil Walling
16 Posted 27/02/2015 at 11:41:37
That Everton is the last British club in this competition is a throwaway line tagged on to lengthy reports of the demise of Them and Spurs.

I suppose that when you have won so many domestic titles as those two worthies in the present century, that is to be expected!!!!

Andrew Ellams
17 Posted 27/02/2015 at 11:59:16
I do love making a point with a Spurs-supporting colleague that, despite being just over 53, Spurs have never won a league title in his lifetime and only won one in their history. But hey, they are stil one of the greats of English football...
Dick Fearon
18 Posted 27/02/2015 at 13:12:26
Paul, may I be the first TWebber to wish you all the best on your upcoming nuptials to Sue. Seeing as she is a match goer you are off to a good start.

Until the children started arriving, my wife Helen was a regular match-going Evertonian. In her younger days she played a couple of seasons as center half in our fledgling local Western Australia women's league. Time and tide may have slowed the little dynamo a bit yet she can still name every player in Everton's promotion-winning team.

Best wishes to both of you and may all your problems be little ones.

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 27/02/2015 at 13:45:51
Dick (18) – ask your wife does she remember Gwyn Lewis from that promotion year? I think it is Gwyn, it could be Glyn.
Dick Fearon
20 Posted 27/02/2015 at 14:09:02
Dave, 19, I will ask her in the morning. It is 10:15pm here. Helen is abed. I doubt she would remember anyone named Lewis from that era. Nor can I remember that name.
Andy Crooks
21 Posted 27/02/2015 at 19:09:04
Paul, thanks for another great article. A real good fans view. I don't know what others think but it seems to me that a live view gives quite a different perspective.

I thought Coleman and Lukaku were excellent but Mirallas looks disinterested.

Sam Higgins
22 Posted 27/02/2015 at 19:15:08
Dick I think Paul's misses is called Katja, and Sue possibly just a mate... going on previous reports...

Unless of course Sue is the new squeeze.... I imagine Trail as a bit of a ladies man!!!!

Paul Traill
23 Posted 27/02/2015 at 20:56:12
Dick (18), Sam (22), Katja is indeed the wife to be and Sue mate. Thanks though Dick.
Paul Traill
24 Posted 27/02/2015 at 21:00:16
Sue is a mate sorry.
Geoffrey Caveney
25 Posted 28/02/2015 at 02:24:26
Andrew (17) my favorite Spurs fact is, they won no titles in the first 50 years of the league, and no titles in the last 50 years of the league. Now that is consistency.
Mike Galley
26 Posted 28/02/2015 at 03:15:48
Geoffrey@25 Didn't know that. I've a few friends who are Spurs Supporters. I'll be using that? Thank you. Back to Lukaku, his goalscoring record amazes me. I see a player with all the faults that have been mentioned on here on numerous occasions (poor touch, lack of effort etc) But, nevertheless, that's a decent record!

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