One for the boss upstairs

Despite a dreadful opening 20 minutes or so the match really entertained and we were treated to some excellent goals.

Paul Traill 01/11/2015 15comments  |  Jump to last

The day after Halloween and the day began for me rising from what felt like the dead on a mates couch in Crosby. Following a friends Halloween party I was unable to get a taxi home and so stayed over, awaking at 8am still dressed as a zombie and getting a taxi back home for a few hours of precious sleep. Ste arrived at 11.30am, picking me up aand driving over to Goodison Park.

It was just Ste and I in the pub with Gaz unable to make this game and Gary only just about making kick off and meeting us at our seats. It was good to catch up with Ste over a beer or two and we were pretty happy with the team news with Coleman and Oviedo returning to form a more settled defence and Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone both featuring. Jack Rodwell featured from the substitutes bench.

I bought a match programme along Goodison Road which featured a really nice tribute to the late, great Howard Kendall. A minutes' applause was asked for on the fourth minute of the match in respect of Howard, and this was wonderfully observed by both sets of supporters. We could have been a goal down by then of course when Van Aanholt's drive came back off the inside of the post in the opening exchanges. Everton were struggling to get a handle on the game and Sunderland again struck the post a little later on, this time from Adam Johnson's strike following a Tim Howard save from Jermain Defoe.

We also survived a penalty scare when Gareth Barry, filling in at left back with Bryan Oviedo unfortunately heading down the tunnel with another injury, got in the way of a shot by Stephen Fletcher. The shot hit Barry's hands though Andre Marriner couldn't be certain if it was ball to hand or handball. What was certain however was that Everton were struggling and should have been behind with only really a powderpuf Lukaku shot and a wayward Barkley drive efforts from memory.

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This all changed when Gerard Deulofeu was released by an excellent through ball from Arouna Kone. The Spaniard did well to cut inside his defender onto his left foot and stroke the ball into the net through the legs of Pantilimon. Everton ahead though it was scarcely deserved.

The goal did ignite us however. We found our spark and doubled our lead when Arouna Kone found space and took aim with his left foot from the left edge of the penalty area. It was a great shot though I felt Pantilimon may have done a little better with it. Nevertheless we found ourselves two goals ahead.

Sunderland appeared deflated and had we turned the screw a little more we could have gone in at the break three goals ahead. As it turned out we went in at half time just the one goal ahead when Jermain Defoe hit a superb half volley past Tim Howard following a poor mistake from John Stones. I could not take the grimace off my face and was dreading the second half at the break, during which, members of Howard Kendall's family were welcomed onto the pitch in what was a nice moment.

My worst nightmares came to fruition, albeit temporarily, early in the second half when Stephen Fletcher headed Sunderland level from a Van Aanholt centre. I'd have to see it again to identify if anybody was at fault for the goal. I couldn't tell from the Lower Gwladys if it was a cross Howard should have claimed or one Funes Mori should have headed out but it was a good header by Fletcher and Everton looked to have blown it.

Thankfully there was still plenty of time left on the clock and Everton made the most of it to rack up another four goals to make for quite an incredible scoreline. Our third came when Deulofeu's cross was turned into his own net by ex-Liverpudlian Sebastian Coates. Sunderland then prowled forward for another equaliser and this is when Everton really clicked into gear with exquisite counter attacking. Gerard Deulofeu played an incisive defence splitting ball into Romelu Lukaku who rounded Pantilimon to slot home for our fourth goal; and, just two minutes later Arouna Kone made it 5-2, finishing calmly, this time with his right foot, after an excellent flowing move which also involved Ross Barkley and James McCarthy. It was nice to see Kevin Miralas, who was warming up at the time, join in the celebrations also.

It was now party time as Everton were pinging passes around. One move contained what would surely have been a record-breaking number of passes leading to a Premier League goal had the final ball been a better one once we got behind Sunderland. That would have been something special, though it was Kone's special day. Celebrating a new contract to tie him to Everton until 2017, he completed the perfect hat-trick when he headed in a brilliant left footed cross from Lukaku to make it 6-2 to Everton.

Lukaku was substituted to give Leon Osman a run out as we eased off the gas. You feel we could actually have scored more had we kept on firing at Sunderland but we'd done more than enough.

So despite a dreadful opening 20 minutes or so the match really entertained and we were treated to some excellent goals. Lets make no mistake, Sunderland were very poor defensively and it won't be that easy every week but with the run of games we now have until the new year we can go into them with the confidence that we can beat a lot of the teams coming up.

More than anything else, I'd like to think that the game was won for Howard Kendall and that he was watching down with a big smile on his face.

RIP Howard Kendall.

Player ratings:
Howard: Following the Arsenal game I've finally begun to agree with what seems like the majority and call for Howard to be dropped. I recall a brief time under the David Moyes regime when he came under some scrutiny and his performance improved. I felt his performance was improved today also. Maybe we should criticise him ore often! 7
Oviedo: Was doing fine until he limped off injured. A real shame for Bryan and you wonder if he will ever be able to get himself fully match fit again. Luckily Leighton Baines appears to be on the way back soon however. 6
Funes Mori: After a rather nervy start when he lost a few headers he seemed to compose himself and improved, particularly in the second half. 6
Stones: Made an awful error for Sunderland's first goal but like Funes Mori, improved for the second half. 6
Coleman: Not as influential as he can be but did OK. 6
Barry: I was pleased to see him captain the side. He had a pretty average game generally, some good things, some bad. 6
McCarthy: Was very dominant in midfield and ran all day. Nice to see him get up the pitch with an assist also. 7
Deulofeu: Worked hard and did a lot of running, scoring a goal and creating two assists. Nice to see him starting to settle. Could have a big impact in these next nine games prior to Christmas. 8
Barkley: After a bright start to the season he seems to again be struggling a little and not quite imposing himself on games as he can. Hopefully it's just a blip and he can get back to his best. 6
Kone: My man of the match. His best performance in a blue shirt by far which included a perfect hat-trick. Hopefully he can maintain this level of performance. 9
Lukaku: If you play someone up there with him you get so much more from Romelu Lukaku. A goal and two assists. Not a bad afternoon at all. 8

Galloway (for Oviedo): Coped fine and stayed solid defensively. 6
Mirallas (for Deulofeu): Got involved and almost got in on the act with a drive which curled just past the post. 7
Osman (for Lukaku): Nice to see him playing. Not at his best but got involved. 6

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Reader Comments (15)

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Steve Hogan
1 Posted 01/11/2015 at 21:03:41
Welcome back, Paul. Accurate summary of the game, just the individual marks I disagree with. I actually thought Barry ran Kone close for MotM, we play much better when Barry is in the side and I wish he was 10 years younger, as I think he is a better all round technical player than the much hyped McCarthy.

I also thought Ross was much better than a 6? He is currently the only midfielder in our ranks who collects the ball, turns and runs at opposing defences. He doesn’t always get it right, but we would be a much poorer team without him.

But hey, it’s all about opinions?

Tim O'Connell
2 Posted 01/11/2015 at 21:25:07
I very much agree with Steve H. Barry was the catalyst to a lot of the good things and Ross is so important to our attacking play; otherwise good report.
Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 01/11/2015 at 21:44:27
Good summary, Paul. I'd say you got Ross' rating about right... he really didn't trigger much today, but his control of the ball in midfield was vital at times. And he was at the center of a very cool patch starting at around 66:15, when Timmy rolled the ball out and we had a two-minute string of 47 straight passes – most of them one-touch -- that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen from Everton. Whether that’s your style of footy or not, you gotta love it. Ross got a bunch of those touches.

A few other observations…

Goodison’s tribute to Howard was class. So was the participation of the Sunderland fans and even some of the players, joining the applause at 4:00. Thank you, folks.

Geri’s through ball to Rom was superb – and elegantly finished -- but I’ll take Rom’s ball to Kone for the best moment of the day. What a talent he is.

Damn, it’s fun to have a player on the field who brings you out of your seat just by having the ball on his foot, but having someone in an Everton shirt flopping like that is embarrassing – and inexcusable. Geri, you’re brilliant… just play, son.

Nobody should be surprised when Stones has rough moments, particularly defensively. He’s younger than some of my shoes. Yeah, Dafoe made him look bad, but Dafoe’s been doing that to a lot of people for a lot of years. Stones will learn.

Funes Mori impresses the hell out of me. Yes, he did get trounced by Fletcher in the air, but he’ll adjust to the EPL physicality and I doubt that will happen again. Amazed how quickly he has settled in… and just when we needed him to.

Gutted for Oviedo. He’s been my favorite Blue since the day he arrived (I actually suggested on TW that we sign him after watching him cut open the US in a WC qualifier)… his gamewinner at OT is one of my greatest memories ever, and his broken leg one of the worst. By the time he gets back from this injury we’ll be arguing whether Baines or Browning should be playing LB, and I think this may have been the last time we see Baby. If so, best to you, lad. Your hair was perfect.

My favorite comments from the Live Forum today:
“inept, shambolic, unprofessional take your pick soon as Martinez gets the hook the better”
“what an absolute farce”
“Fucking suicidal shite from some of our players.”

And on we go. Up The Blues!

Ian Glassey
4 Posted 01/11/2015 at 23:02:00
I can't agree with your mark of 6 for Barry though, Paul. I thought Barry ran the game today, a class act.

I know he is not everybody’s cup of tea but we are a much better team when he plays like he did today. An 8 for me.

Jim Lloyd
5 Posted 01/11/2015 at 23:17:05
It’s amazing how we view the players performances so differently. I agree with Ian regarding Gareth Barry. I thought he was outstanding today. I think we pulled them all over the place today; and that’s not easy with a Sam Allardyce team.
Anthony Dwyer
6 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:16:32
Good summary, Paul, but I agree with most of the boy's comments above, Barry was outstanding today and Ross made us tick.

I’d personally have given marks of 8 and 7, with Barry getting the 8. But hey, it seems most of us agree with 9 out of your 11 so seems a fair set of comments.

Christopher Arellano
7 Posted 02/11/2015 at 18:49:43
Does anyone else feel they "know" Ste, Gary and some of the others who Paul always includes in his delightfully quirky match reports?

Good job reporting what happened during the match. It's the other stuff I always find so entertaining.

Keep going. Been reading you for ...years...

Stephen Brown
8 Posted 02/11/2015 at 19:27:19
I agree, Christopher. I love Paul’s reports to picture the scene as all the lads meet for a pint etc!

The marks out of 10 also cause a good debate as it has done this time. For what’s it worth, Barry got an 8 from me!

Eugene Ruane
9 Posted 02/11/2015 at 19:57:02
Christopher (7) - you ask..

"Does anyone else feel they "know" Ste, Gary and some of the others who Paul always includes in his delightfully quirky match reports?"

In a word, no.

And the reason is that Paul tells us absolutely nothing about them.

Seriously, what did you learn about them from..

"It was just Ste and I in the pub with Gaz unable to make this game and Gary only just about making kick off and meeting us at our seats. It was good to catch up with Ste over a beer or two and we were pretty happy with the team news"

They're Evertonians who like a pint?

If that's the case you 'know' everyone on TW.

If they're to feature, let's really know about them, let's have - 'Ste is quiet but with an inner steeliness. He likes a few beers and the occasional curry but is into his fitness and always in control. Gaz on the other hand is 21 stone and eats and drinks until his anus bleeds. Gary is obsessed with Hornby train-sets and Japanese Frankie Vaughan...' etc.

By the way, my mates Tel, Micky, Phil and Tommy agree with me.

Christopher Arellano
11 Posted 02/11/2015 at 23:55:05
Dear Eugene (and Tel, Micky, Phil and Tomm),

You got me. I admit to not actually have taken any notes on Paul’s match reports over the years. So, I really remember next to nothing about Paul’s friends, or even Paul for that matter.

I just think the stuff about waking up on a friend’s couch, dressed as a zombie, not being able to get a taxi, etc are quite amusing. You know: "So-and-so had a wedding to attend and couldn’t use his ticket,..." It reminds me of the American TV sit com series, "Cheers."

I just don’t think I’ve seen any other correspondent write like that.

Your suggestion that If I "know Paul" through his writings, then I know every other Evertonian or whatever that comment was..

Actually, I would not really know. I am American and live just outside of San Francisco I have only seen Everton play at Goodison once, last Boxing day. But I did take Han’s Tours coach to see them at Newcastle and also saw them (via train) at Southampton. So, my circle of Evertonians, and contacts with them, are not very well developed yet!

No one here talks about Everton. No one wakes up thinking about their match. Almost no one here has even heard of Everton. So, given this, you might imagine how much I appreciate Paul’s little encounters with his friends before the match.

So, that’s why I find the little anecdotes (which probably do reveal almost nothing terribly personal) to be so interesting... Hope I didn’t bore you to death and you made it through to the end.

Liam Reilly
13 Posted 03/11/2015 at 14:36:09
Barry was everywhere today; really looked like he wore that armband with some pride.

Ross too; always showing for the ball always probing and very difficult to mark.

Steve Hogan
14 Posted 03/11/2015 at 19:00:28
Uh uh, I can sense the sap rising in out someone’s going to cop it...

How about this for an insight into Paul’s friends... "Ste had a troubled childhood, and a difficult relationship with his estranged father...please fill the gaps."

"Gaz had some puzzled looks from the regulars in the Wilmslow, as being a cross dresser, even in these enlightened times, people just don’t don’t ’get’ it..."

Jim Lloyd
15 Posted 03/11/2015 at 19:42:02
Welcome Christopher anyway. How did you end up becoming a Blue? Do you go to a local pub to watch the match, or watch it from the house?

I bumped into a few American fans after the match, they were chuffed to bits and on their way to Edinburgh. They picked a good un to be at, alright.

Harold Matthews
16 Posted 04/11/2015 at 17:04:20
Enjoyed the report Paul. Loved the lads up front but McCarthy was my main man. Pressed forward more than usual and was involved all over the pitch. Have to mention that the first goal was the result of Funes Mori winning a header in midfield. He was also fouled by Fletcher for the equalizer.

Coleman was not fully recovered from his illness and Stones was never able to go more than half pace. Definitely something amiss but we had no defenders on the bench once Galloway came on.

Ross’s worst decision led to a goal. Sent on a fine counter-attacking run, he should have slipped the ball to the wide-open Lukaku but decided to pass it behind McCarthy who managed to scoop it to Kone.

Entertaining stuff. Two teams with strength in the final third but weak at the back. What our future opponents will make of it is anyone’s guess.

Andy Meighan
17 Posted 05/11/2015 at 22:56:40
Paul a good few days later I’ve logged on and while I generally love your comments and reports I’d have to say you were well off the mark with Barry's rating.

I’ve been a critic of him, especially last season, but this season he’s been amazing and in the Sunderland game I thought he ran the game from start to finish.

Yes, Kone, Lukaku, Deulofeu and McCarthy were brilliant. I’ve watched it back and Barry was outstanding. That said, it’s all about opinions.

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