Kone bags a treble as Everton's attack catches fire

Orchestrated magnificently in midfield by Gareth Barry – on any other day he would have been a shoo-in for player of the match – aided by the greater license to get afforded to McCarthy and then executed by a forward line of Deulofeu, Kone and Lukaku that was simply irresistable at times, it was an attacking exhibition to savour.

Lyndon Lloyd 01/11/2015 24comments  |  Jump to last

Kone scored his first hat-trick in Everton's colours, doubling his tally with the club in the process

With just one home win in the Premier League all season and no clean sheets since April, Everton's home faithful hadn't had much to celebrate prior to this match. Fortress Goodison it certainly hasn't been, but while Tim Howard's goal would be breached on two more occasions this afternoon, the Grand Old Lady was at least treated to a feast of attacking football.

This was a game that had a bit of everything Everton under Roberto Martinez lightning counter-attacks, defensive naïvete, a hamstring injury, a header conceded in the six-yard box, sublime forward play, a lead thrown away, Goodison seething... you name it.

What you don't normally associate with Everton, though, are Arouna Kona goals. Before today, the Ivorian had three to his name in two-and-a-half years, his role in the team more as a foil for Romelu Lukaku than being the main man. But against a hapless Sunderland defense the Ivorian took centre stage, the man-of-the-match champagne and the match ball. He even threw in an assist to boot, one which appeared to have put Martinez's side on course for an easy afternoon.

Kone's superbly-weighted ball over the top of the Black Cats' defence sent the marauding Gerard Deulofeu clear to drive towards Costel Pantilimon, turn inside the last man and tuck his shot through the goalkeeper's legs put the Blues a goal up after 19 minutes.

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That goal had helped confirm the shift in momentum in Everton's favour following Sunderland's unexpectedly dangerous start. Twice in the first quarter of an hour the ball had come back off Tim Howard's right-hand post: first when Steven Fletcher cut the ball back for Patrick van Aanholt and the Dutchman swept a shot onto the "woodwork"; then when Sunderland countered off Ross Barkley's poorly-placed pass, Howard denied Jermaine Defoe with an out-stretched leg and Adam Johnson bounced a shot off the frame of the goal.

Barely disrupted by a hamstring injury to the unfortunate Bryan Oviedo and the consequent introduction of Brendan Galloway, the Blues began to assert themselves further as the first half progressed and, after Seamus Coleman's drive had been beaten away by Pantilimon, Kone doubled the lead by finishing off a wonderful passing move outside the visitors' penalty area.

Gareth Barry fed Barkley who, in turn, found Kone and when he picked up Lukaku's return pass the chance appeared to have got away from him but he struck a superb left-foot shot high into Pantilimon's net to make it 2-0. The striker's all-round link play had been excellent up to that point, justifying his inclusion in the starting XI for a League game for the first time since the goalless draw at Swansea in September, and better was to come in the second half.

Everton would throw away the comfortable two-goal advantage they had established by the fifth minute of the second half, though, bringing an increasingly expectant Goodison back down to earth as a veil of gloom and deja vu descended – briefly – over the stands. A speculative ball forward by Sebastian Coates in the third minute of first-half stoppage time looked to be a routine assignment for John Stones to deal with but instead of coming across Defoe, he gambled on the bounce and lost as the striker toed it past him, set himself and then cracked a shot goalwards that took a decisive nick off the defender's toe and over Howard.

Perhaps it was because the middle of the field had been so open in the early stages that there had been little need to but Sunderland had not made much attempt to test Everton's now infamous vulnerability to aerial balls in the first period. The first time they did, though, they struck gold. Coleman was left without sufficient assistance from Deulofeu in dealing with two Sunderland attackers and Van Aanholt profited from the time afforded him to whip in a right-foot cross that Fletcher rose to meet and plant into the corner of the goal with a header.

The Toffees' response was to simply resume testing the Black Cats' porous defence by attacking with pace and direct balls and, after Deulofeu had picked up a booking for another embarrassing dive in the box and Kone had dragged a shot wide, they restored their lead in the 55th minute. Deulofeu was again the provider of a wicked ball into the Sunderland box that looked destined to be headed home by the stooping Lukaku until Coates' boot did the job for him, steering it into his own goal.

Five minutes after that, the two-goal lead was restored thanks to an absolutely sublime forward pass from Deulofeu that sent Lukaku away into a one-on-one with Pantilimon that he completed with aplomb, rounding the Romanian keeper and sliding the ball into the empty net.

And two minutes later, Kone extended the lead to three, finishing off a rapier-like Everton counter attack that had James McCarthy bursting forward ahead of Barkley, collecting the 21-year-old's layoff and then putting the Ivorian in past the defence with a neat reverse pass where he fired in from the angle. It capped off a devastating seven-minute surge of irressistable attacking football from Everton and it allowed Martinez to pause, withdraw Deulofeu and throw Kevn Mirallas into the action in a bid to get him firing again and, perhaps, back among the goals.

The Belgian almost managed it, rounding the 'keepern in the 73rd minute in a similar fashion to Lukaku but finding his path to goal blocked by two Sunderland defenders and then curling a shot inches past the post a couple of minutes from the end. In between, though, Kone had ensured that he would grab the headlines by completing his first Everton hat-trick, thanks to a world-class assist from Lukaku.

The Everton No.10 collected the ball in space just outside the box, looked up and spotted his strike partner before bending a pin-point cross with the outside of his boot that Kone rose to head deftly inside the post to make it 6-2 with 13 minutes left.

Sunderland were spared further bloodshed as the Blues eased off the pedal a bit in the final 10 minutes and Duncan Watmore, a thorn in Everton U21s' side over the last couple of years, set about trying to earn a consolation for the visitors with some energetic attacking in front at the Park End and forcing Howard to paw away his lobbed attempt when clean through a minute from time. Howard also had to parry away fierce drives from Defoe and Yann M'Vila in stoppage time but there would be no further goals for the Black Cats.

Everton's defensive fallibility continues to be a concern and will continue to be exploited by better or more organised sides &8211; that susceptibility to high balls into the box is likely to be tested sternly at Upton Park next weekend, for example. And as the more experienced head at centre half in Phil Jagielka's absence, Stones's occasional lapses in judgement and propensity to allow opposition forwards too much space could become more of a concern if it becomes a trend rather than temporary evidence of a continuing learning curve. It's particularly important given Funes Mori's desire to get forward and the fact that Deulofeu cannot always be relied upon to track back and perform his defensive duties.

It's hard not to simply brush those aside for a moment, though, and just enjoy some truly excellent forward play from Martinez's men. Orchestrated magnificently in midfield by skipper Gareth Barry on any other day he would have been a shoo-in for player of the match aided by the greater license to get afforded to McCarthy and then executed by a forward line of Deulofeu, Kone and Lukaku that was simply irresistable at times, it was an attacking exhibition to savour. It demonstrated the potential that lies in this Everton team when they play at speed and just how deadly they can be in the final third when that pace and directness creates havoc in opposition defences.

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Reader Comments (24)

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Nicholas Ryan
1 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:20:35
Fair summary, Lyndon, as ever. However, I must take issue with one thing.

Both you and the BBC website, say that Gerard Deulofeu was booked for a terrible dive. The incident happened right in front of me. His back leg WAS clipped; but he made the most ridiculous meal of it. (I think he would have scored if he had kept his feet.)

But it was clear the Ref was not interested in booking him. He then had a 30-second rant at the linesman, and came right over ’into his face’. Only THEN, did the Ref intervene.

It was clear from the body language, that the Ref was booking him for shouting at the linesman, not for falling over and/or acting.

Mike Gaynes
2 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:21:36
Lyndon, great points on the defensive concerns, but I'm less worried about Stones' man-marking or Funes Mori's positioning than I am about communication at the back. It wasn't an issue today, but with Jags out, who keeps everybody organized?

Funes Mori is actually the senior man in every way except Everton time of service -- he's older and vastly more experienced at senior level -- and I would expect that he, rather than Stones, will be calling the signals back there.

Now somebody please feed Coleman some pasta and get him back to full energy.

Jakob Herd
3 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:29:00
You wonder what these young players like Barkley, Deulofeu, Stones, Lukaku and Galloway are capable of in two to three years time when the flaws in their game have been ironed out. Let's hope we keep them together and add a few more.
Mark Andersson
4 Posted 02/11/2015 at 00:31:28
Good report, I think the smile on Kone's face summed up the relief of the Goodison faithful.

Six great goals, can we have more of the same again, please?

Darren Hind
5 Posted 02/11/2015 at 06:31:56
Nice report Lyndon.

During the 2nd half we strung together what must have been 30-40 passes without a Mackem getting near it. Anyone get an accurate count?

Kieran Fitzgerald
6 Posted 02/11/2015 at 07:33:15
The defensive lapses haven’t gone away. That’s been a constant since the start of last season. It just seems to be a Martinez thing.

The one thing that really bugged me was how we just stopped for a period after our second goal and then the sixth goal. I caught the game on a live stream from what looked to be an American channel. After our second goal, the commentators spoke about how the opportunity was there to score loads. Yet we seemed to slow things down and gifted them a couple of great chances.

After our sixth goal there was still seventeen or eighteen minutes to play. Yet we slowed things down again and allowed them a number of great opportunities. Rather than being clinical and aggressive for the full ninty once our first goal went in, we resorted to tippy tappy football for large chunks of the game.

And I know, we did score six yesterday. And I know, we did win the game. But it was very obviously just one of those games where we could have conceded six and been dreadful.

Paul Tran
7 Posted 02/11/2015 at 08:18:47
I noticed that as well, Darren. 30 plus passes. When does ’tippy-tappy shit’ become controlling the game and tiring the tripe out the opposition? Discuss!

Jim Lloyd
8 Posted 02/11/2015 at 08:36:13
Good observation, Paul. If we’ve got the ball, then they haven’t and they can do the running around trying to get it.

It’ll break down at times and it’ll look slow at other times but if it’s mixed, as it was yesterday, with lightning breaks forward we have the players to cause havoc.

I thought James McCarthy yesterday looked a lot more like the lad in his first season with us. So, early days but the signs are looking promising.

Ian Jones
9 Posted 02/11/2015 at 08:56:10
I have had a quick look at the keepball session. It lasts for about 2 minutes, about 80 odd passes from the moment Mirallas came on until Mirallas passed it for Kone to knock in. But Kone made a hash of it and the chance was spurned....what is Kone like. Give him an opportunity and he fluffed it.


Peter Murray
10 Posted 02/11/2015 at 09:12:00
Credit where it is due: Roberto got it right in terms of tactics and personnel. Well done, Howard.
Philip Yensen
11 Posted 02/11/2015 at 11:46:44
Darren, however how many passes there were, it took 4-5 passes for each of our goals. That Roberto thing about passing is well over-cooked. We also had a few little tip-tap passing, piss-taking bouts of ball play which slowed our play to a standstill.

If Coleman has lost the ability to go on his marauding runs, we might as well play Browning who is a better defender.

The most experienced "defender" is Tim Howard and he should be barking out orders; alternatively move Gareth Barry into the back four and Funes Mori into the holding role. The way we’re leaking goals, what have we got to lose?

Mike Goodwin
12 Posted 02/11/2015 at 11:47:23
I was watching the Everton squad warming up before the match, and they did a session where they all knelt down and started stretching. Kone was unable to join in with this exercise and just jogged up and down on the spot while the others performed.

It highlights just how precarious his knees are and how he has to manage his fitness regime. It is a worry that he will inevitably break down at some point.

Such a shame, as he has some great attributes as a player.

Eugene Ruane
13 Posted 02/11/2015 at 12:35:42
Mike (12) - On my way to the game yesterday, I was reading a recent copy of ’WSC’ or ’When Saturday Comes’ to give it it’s full title (one of the very few football publications worth reading).

There were two interesting suggestions on the letters page – one concerning the warm up, one concerning penalties, both incredibly simple:

Re the pre-match warm up, the writer of the letter informed us he had read some article that featured the line – ’when Eden Hazard was brought off after 80 mins, he was dead on his feet’.

The letter writer, quite logically, suggested that maybe if the player hadn’t spent 15-20 mins, bending, stretching and sprinting about like a loon before kick-off, he may have been able to last the last 10 mins.

His solution, fuck the intense warm-up off and go back to 5 mins gentle knocking the ball about (couple of shots for the strikers, couple of saves for the keeper).

The penalty suggestion also appealed to me.

The writer (a different writer) expressed disappointment at lack of originality and effectiveness at the current mode (used by supporters) of trying to put off the penalty taker.

Basically making a noise and waving hands.

He (correctly) pointed out this has never really seemed to work and suggested a couple of methods that sounded much more off-putting.

1) Complete and total silence.

2) Intense noise that suddenly and totally stops the second the taker begins his run-up.

Either one could be quite confusing – I suggest Everton supporters are first to try it out.

So remember, ref blows whistle and..cue tumbleweed.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 02/11/2015 at 15:21:37
Darren #5... I counted 47. Never seen anything like it from us.
Paul Andrews
15 Posted 02/11/2015 at 15:35:08

Over 80 passes in that move. If I remember rightly Mirallas should have done better with his cross at the end of it.

That would take some beating for passes leading to a goal had it gone in.

Scott Dixon
17 Posted 02/11/2015 at 16:09:50
I watched some of the game back yesterday and from the Mirallas substitution where we restarted with a free kick to the Mirallas cross into the box, it was 86 passes by my count and a total of 3 MINUTES AND 8 SECONDS OF POSSESSION with no break in play..!
Michael Kenrick
18 Posted 02/11/2015 at 16:23:26
Yea, I guessed at the time it must be up around 45 but I think that’s when it went back to Howard. It just carried on from there. I counted 85 but might have missed one or two right at the restart after Mirallas came on.

Tremendous stuff. But no ’Ole’s audible from the crowd?

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 02/11/2015 at 17:02:25
Michael #18 - re "No Ole's" - I actually heard a few booing around me. Screaming at them to "get it forward".
Darren Hind
22 Posted 02/11/2015 at 18:50:26
Was it really 86 passes?

Michael's right: it was played out in almost total silence. I think a lot of that was to do with how meekly Sunderland allowed it to happen. it felt like a training session. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, I loved it, but normally piss taking will last about 10 passes in the premiership before one of the opposition will unceremoniously end it.
The only people I heard booing were embarrassed Mackems demanding one of our players be put into Row Z.

Paul #7

"When does tippy-tappy become controlling the game ?"

I guess when you are home and hosed and you are ensuring the opposition don't get a sniff. if you do it when you are losing or drawing it's still purposeless shite.

Time and place, un all that

Paul Tran
23 Posted 02/11/2015 at 19:19:03
Darren, couldn't agree more. As long we score first we're fine. Will have to tighten up defensively and/or learn how to come from 1-0 down.
Mike Gaynes
25 Posted 02/11/2015 at 21:11:56
Paul/Scott, I'm a purist and had started my count from Howard's rollout, but if his hands aren't a disqualifier, the count (just watched that stretch again) is 83. The time is even more impressive... 3:18 of unbroken possession.

I get the argument about whether it's control or tippy-tap, but we've all seen Everton teams that couldn't have controlled the ball for 83 straight passes if there was no opponent on the pitch. So I thoroughly enjoyed it.

John Daley #24, many people would argue that "Teutonic mirth makers" is an oxymoron on a level with "military intelligence" and jumbo shrimp.

Mike Gaynes
26 Posted 02/11/2015 at 21:21:48
Eugene #13, my teams have always subscribed to your "other" warmup routine... knock the ball around and practice some shots... and we usually average about one pulled hamstrings a year. As a player, I've never believed in much stretching, and as a manager I've never forced my players to do it. So I think you're onto something there.

Regarding putting off the penalty taker, I was stuck in goal one day when my sweeper tripped the opposing striker for a pen. The striker was Greek. Having once owned part of a Greek restaurant, I knew a bit of the national anthem, and as the player approached the ball, I began singing it. He was so gobsmacked that he almost stopped. Easiest PK save I ever made.

Brent Stephens
27 Posted 02/11/2015 at 21:37:44
John #24 - the penalty taker would fall asleep - that would do it.

Mike #26 "Having once owned part of a Greek restaurant, I knew a bit of the national anthem, and as the player approached the ball, I began singing it. He was so gobsmacked that he almost stopped. Easiest PK save I ever made."

Maybe we sing the national anthem of the said penalty taker so they stop mid-runup and stand to attention. And we keep singing until they are booked for not taking the penalty when told to do so (problem with the Spanish anthem there though...).

Harold Matthews
39 Posted 05/11/2015 at 02:58:18
Ian. #9. "Mirallis passed it to Kone to knock in"?? What match were you looking at?

Jim #8. Totally agree with your McCarthy bit. He was outstanding.

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