From My Seat: Crystal Palace (H)

All in all a cracking night out, a thrilling game and some good performances from our lads.

Ken Buckley 08/12/2015 25comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace

Palace at home on another wet and windy night ensured I checked out the Winslow roof as I made my way down Goodison Road. Well you cant be too careful can you? Team was as expected with Cleverley in for the injured McCarthy.

Palace kicked off and you could see they were set up to defend deep but with pace aplenty to execute quick breaks and it was Palace who started quickest. Wickham had a shot that Howard made a bit of a meal of before clutching it to him as he sprawled. Mori was to the fore in making a few clearances and from one Barkley got the ball just short of the box and curled one just wide. Palace were having the better of this first quarter and from one cross hard and low the ball was hammered from point blank range and hit Howard and was cleared with some difficulty.

After that early pressure we started to regain some composure and on twenty minutes Barkley and Lukaku combined well. Lukaku turned his man and hit one leaving keeper stranded hit the post and rebounded outDrat said the faithful! We were playing some joined up stuff now and pushing Palace deeper than even they wanted to go. From one move we got Kone in but his left foot shot was wide and a bit wild really.

The half hour mark was reached and Coleman and Deulofeu forced the Palace defender to give away a corner which was cleared but Stones who had stayed up sprayed one wide to Galloway who took it a pace forward and hit a low one across the box that but for a sliding hack clear by a defender would have been a tap in for Lukaku

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It was our turn to dominate now as Deulofeu got a cross in that eluded Lukaku. Coleman joined the attack and found himself middle of goal some twenty yards out but his powerful shot cannoned for a corner off a relieved defender. The corner came to nought. Then Deulofeu raided again and got another corner which we kept in the box with some neat incisive short passes but that final touch and shot could not be found. Barry set up Lukaku in the box but a corner was the best he could get as the Palace filled the box with players making even a chink to shoot at hard to spot. Pardew sure has got them well drilled, which I took as a complement to our team.

The half ticked down with both teams giving the ball away as both tried in their own ways to conjure something. Cabaye had orchestrated well for them with Barry at the hub of our best attacks and Barkley looking more like the player he is tipped to become.

H/T 0-0 with most I spoke to enjoying the half and thought it only a matter of time before we scored.

We started brightly and quickly gained two corners which came to nought, then Palace had two corners which we dealt with and from the second one we broke and Kone received the ball and headed for the box. Barkley made up good ground but Kone could not find the right ball to put him in despite having two attempts, his first effort came back to him and his second was just behind Barkley who did get his head to it but his body shape was all wrong by then and the ball toward goal was weak and the keeper dealt easily with it.

Palace now started to push a few more forward on the counter and the game became end to end again which caused tension and excitement in both boxes. Deulofeu was causing havoc to their rearguard now and we were getting the ball out to him as often as possible. With Lukaku looking like the complete centre forward the combination of the two of them seemed most likely to get us in front yet Palace always seemed to have so many bodies in there and getting the vital touch to break our momentum. We gave Deulofeu a rest and went down the left and sent Galloway on his way but he was fouled and gained a free kick which Barkley whipped in dangerously and at pace, it hit someone and then the post and again came out, Thats twice the post has won.

The hour mark arrived and our present manager swapped Galloway for Baines. Galloway had done nothing wrong but his attacking had been better than his defending which is a bit odd for a player who is a centre back in waiting. Our next big chance came when the hard working Lukaku neatly set up Cleverley on the edge of the box with a clear sight of goal, he hit it sweetly and with GOAL in our throats the Welsh keeper made a great tip over save by diving across and up and palming over from just inside the top corner. An excellent save.

It was all Everton now and although being almost camped in their box we had to be wary of their fast breaks as a few times they had our hearts in mouths. We were committing more men forward and that left us looking a touch short as they looked to break. That is how they had come to play and they were showing they were well drilled in it and always dangerous. We did force three corners but all were crowded away.

75 minutes and although we were on top a quick break saw Cabaye beat Stones but not Howard who diverted it for a corner. That was delivered in regulation fashion what went on with our marking I do not know but Dann had a free header which he did not miss and we were one down. Totally gutting and against the run of play but you have to say they made no secret of how they would deal with us. Still a downer though. What is it with us and set pieces?

We showed spirit and had a go back and within minutes a through-ball saw Lukaku get on the end of it, beat his man and hit the bar. The thought this is just not our night came to my mind. Three times we had hit the woodwork now and that would have deflated many teams but fair play to our lads they kept at it. Then at last we got our reward. Coleman started a move that saw the ball delivered to Deulofeu and this time his low hard cross was met at the far post by that man Lukaku and its 1-1 and Goodison rocking.

Those last ten minutes were bedlam as the Street tried to suck in a winner. We went for it and committed more forward which Palace noted and put a couple of pacy lads on and at times it was hairy stuff as they broke on our forays forward. In these last ten minutes Deulofeu was out on his feet and his passing was all over the place which made me wonder why our present manager didnt put Mirallas on for a final push. It seemed mental tiredness with Deulofeu more than physical.

3 minutes added goes up on the board and a big Come On engulfed the ground. Palace had one attack when Much robbed Barry and shot but thankfully missed. Palace had got the point they came for and used time wasting tactics to see out time. We had one last attack and Kone was fed in but alas he could not control to clinch it and the whistle blew.

All in all a cracking night out, a thrilling game and some good performances from our lads. Stand-outs for me were Barkley who played his best game for a long time. Stones looked assured and classy, Coleman back to form and Barry immense yet again but for my man of the match it had to be Lukaku closely followed by Deulofeu. To be fair no one had a stinker which bodes well for the future as well as suggesting a fine team is being assembled. The club should try their best to keep hold of these lads and probably the best way to keep them is to recruit three top class players in the summer. Let us hope it is possible.

At this time of the season I take my first look in any depth at the league table and use my most unscientific way of forecasting finishing league position. It usually ends up with the position youre in now plus or minus two places so tonight that tells me we are on to finish between 7th and 11th but with the way this season is going my reasoning may be somewhat off. I hope so.

Norwich next for another daft oclock kick off and three points are a must but until the final whistle we can take nothing for granted.

UP THE BLUES

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Reader Comments (25)

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Dave Pritchard
1 Posted 08/12/2015 at 06:52:14
Generally a good performance from us. Only real gripes were being a bit hesitant to shoot at times and the absence of an attacking sub for the latter stages.

Also, a shame we didn’t get Dann last summer if only to stop him scoring against us.

Christopher Timmins
2 Posted 08/12/2015 at 06:53:59
Ken,
I note your first attempt at a stab of where the team might finish this season. Already 10 behind the top team and 7 behind the two Manchester clubs, 3rd and 4th respectively, the top 4 is a big ask at this stage. Somewhere between 6th and 10th with a real chance of winning some silverware.

Last night was a point gained against a side who have done extremely well in the North West over the past two seasons.

Trevor Lynes
3 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:20:52
As I see things most teams are setting up to stop Lukaku as he seems to be our only real goal threat. He was the only player who looked like scoring an equalizer after we went a goal down. We are on the edge of being potential contenders but we do not have enough craft in the side and enough goal threat from elsewhere.Deulofeu had a fine match but he had shot his bolt with a quarter of an hour to play. When we really need a winning goal it is criminal to have Mirallas kicking his heels on the bench. It looks like he is on the bench unless we have an injury to Kone, Deulofeu or Lukaku (God forbid).

It will be interesting to see what happens during the January window. We have no substitute for Lukaku and Lennon is not an able deputy for Deulofeu. Good to see Baines back though and all our kids are playing really well.

Alun Jones
4 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:22:56
Excellent report, Ken, and a good summary of the game. Despite our dominance, Palace always seem to be a tricky spikey team and so I am not surprised they came away with a draw. Still we are beginning to gel I feel as a team at least going forward.

The Premier League this season is going to be a roller-coaster ride and last night’s result shows how difficult it's going to be this season with so many teams fighting at the top of the table.

Having watched us drop two points yesterday, I am still raging at the Bournemouth result because to me that was a far less excusable draw than the Palace game.

I do think, however, that when it's 0-1 or 1-1 at home with time ticking down, you really need to use your bench and that’s the one thing I don’t understand about last night’s game. Fresh legs, fresh impetus with both Mirallas and/or Naismith possible late entries and either might have made the difference between 3 points or 1.

A real plus point last night was the performance of Cleverley who really showed some drive and energy which helped us immensely and limited the dreadful slow slow build up that I have had to endure too many times under RM.

I am enjoying this season very much and I go into the Norwich game with confidence that we are assembling a team that can make a credible challenge for Europe this season.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 08/12/2015 at 07:30:19
Arguably the best performance of the season yet so frustrating it’s another draw, we draw too many games and it’s been our Achilles Heel for years which is why we have always fallen short. If we don’t beat Norwich on Saturday, then we have won just the same amount of games as the very same stage as last season – just 5 wins, go figure that one out!

Yet again, we were let down yesterday by our favourite goal to concede, the old header near the 6 yard box. What I’d like to know is it wasn’t rocket science to figure Scott Dann is arguably Palace’s biggest threat from corners so watching the goal again, my question is where were our central defender’s? Stones and Mori nowhere to be seen and left to Gareth Barry to try and outjump Dann, seriously?

It seems to me we can be fantastic going forward but the same old failings return to let us down. If we could do basic defending we would have won that match 1-0 last night. Yes, we had bad luck but you can’t do nothing about the ball bouncing off the woodwork... you CAN do something about basic schoolboy defending that crops up every week but seems the lesson is never learnt.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 08/12/2015 at 11:06:06
Another very accurate report, Ken. A few things stand out from your summary:

Pardow had his team well drilled... correct; the way he utilised, wisely, his subs and the failure of Martinez to utilise his – especially with Deulofeu tiring for all to see.

I think you might have mentioned Barkley’s pass to Geri, from which the goal came; it was superb. The team is getting better, with a little more help off the manager, it can achieve more.

Jason Murray
7 Posted 08/12/2015 at 12:21:13
Such a frustrating game, mainly because I thought we played really well. Some of the one-touch build-up play was absolutely delightful. The problem was we were trying to walk the ball into the net, there always seemed to be just one pass too many.

Why were so many of our players afraid to pull the trigger inside the penalty area? The only time we showed any urgency was after we’d allowed Palace to take the lead. Prior to this, we appeared to think we had all day to create the ’perfect goal’.

Obviously we were unlucky hitting the woodwork but we needed to be a lot more ruthless to get all three points against a decent Palace team.

Still, an encouraging performance with far more positives than negatives.

Eddy Grundy
8 Posted 08/12/2015 at 12:52:45
Great report, Ken, as usual.

You can’t fault the lads who played, they never stopped trying to get the winner and we should have won on the balance of the game.

However, there was a culprit who could have changed the game and is being paid a king's ransom to do so: Martinez.

I would love to know why he didn’t utilise the bench and I would bet the unused Subs would also like to know too. His inability to change things before it’s too late in a game staggers me; if we can see players blowing for tugs, why can’t he? – and for that matter what are the rest of the coaches thinking?

If any of them read this, a reply would be most welcome.

Joe Cavanagh
10 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:27:28
Thanks Ken - always love reading your match reports for their combination of humour and acute observations. Folks will be pleased to know that it was also an uncharacteristic wet and windy night here in Rio, so I was able to share the atmosphere whilst watching on the box. Brazilian commentators love the Premier League games, and are getting very excited about Everton. At the Sunderland game, they purred with pleasure, so impressed with our play.

On the Palace game, I thought our game plan went a bit to pieces when Baines came on. We looked more vulnerable at the back and down the left against fast and strong attackers, and Baines seemed to spend most of his time camped in their half, without the puff to get back and cover, whilst not adding greatly to our attacking threat.

Like others, I couldn’t understand why Mirallas didn’t come on, just to give Palace something different to think about.

Overall, though I thought we were unlucky not to come away with 3 points. On another night we might have had more luck and put 3 or 4 past one of the strongest defences in the league. Yes, we rode our luck at times at the back, and Howard made some important stops. But if anyone deserved to win, it was us.

Mike Doyle
11 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:37:22
Great report, Ken – and highly accurate. While agreeing with most commentators that a sub or two in the last 15 mins may have helped, I thought the lads on the pitch were doing well so can understand the decision to leave alone. Possibly the best 90 mins I’ve seen this season.

Praise for the Holy Quartet –but I was also impressed by Cleverley. Palace are a good side and more performances of this standard will see us win more than we lose.

Michael Williams
12 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:48:19
Thank you for this report. It really helps me feel the atmosphere.

I can understand the call for subs which seems to be the big criticism coming out of the game. However, except for a few counters by Bolasie down the right which Coleman seemed to defend pretty well, Everton were on the front foot for the last 20-30 minutes of the game and looked like they had a goal in them before and after Dann scored. In this case, as opposed to Bournemouth, I can understand staying with who was on the field.

Michael Williams
13 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:53:49
Hey, Ken, a question for you:

American here, so I ask out of curiosity and I am definitely not criticizing anyone. The fans were so quiet early on for quite a while. I could hear individuals in the crowd talking on TV.

Can you give us a feel for what the frame of mind of the supporters is at the beginning of the games at Goodison? Is the mindset the same every game or does it vary in circumstances?

Thanks again.

James Joseph
14 Posted 08/12/2015 at 13:59:39
Trevor (3) says Deulofeu had 'shot his bolt with a quarter of an hour to play' and should have been substituted - others have suggested the same. Sorry Trevor, don't mean to single you out as a few others have said something similar but it's a good job our current manager didn't agree because Gerry set up the equaliser with just nine minutes to go.

Great report, Ken. If we keep playing at that level we're not too far away from being a good team. Barkley, Stones, and Coleman were superb. Not everything Gerry tried came off but he never stops trying to produce that moment of magic. Cleverley seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on; I'd be tempted to keep him in the team.

Frank McGregor
15 Posted 08/12/2015 at 14:26:58
Good accurate report, it was not our night.

With regards Ken’s prediction, I agree on finishing place of 7 to 9 position with a points tally of around 56.

Ken Buckley
16 Posted 08/12/2015 at 15:46:42
Michael @13

Derby matches excepted, the starts of most games are quiet fan-wise. To get Goodison rocking, something from the field of play is almost always required.

It could be a strong tackle on an opponent we don’t like. I remember Neville on Ronaldo. Maybe a bad ref like Thomas, Clattenberg or Collina who showed bias against us. A good late comeback or many many other things.

Almost impossible to answer your question. I think what it boils down to is that you never know when and where it will happen but you will sure know when it takes place and not forget it.

Keep following the Blues from afar.

William Cartwright
17 Posted 08/12/2015 at 15:56:50
Michael Williams (13) The mindset of Evertonians is a mix of frustration, inferiority complex, jealousy, impatience and a sense of injustice all rolled into one! The omnipresent nemesis Liverpool, the BBC negative bias, the old ground, the lack of investment, lack of a trophy etc., means the band of faithful, knowledgeable supporters have become impassioned as a result of years of waiting for success. Hence quiet Goodison.

However, under the surface they are as loud and exuberant as any crowd can be given the slightest excuse and opportunity. If we can get a good run together, or reach a cup final then you will see their real true blue supporters out in numbers and a lot louder than most.

The younger supporters, who have never seen a trophy winning team must be the most patient in the world and they have my sympathy and respect. Being cast in the role of ’bridesmaid, never the bride’ most of your life, the shine goes off after a while! Especially when we are the league’s record breakers season after season for being awarded the lowest number of penalties per season!

However, we are really proud of our footballing roots, the Holy Trinity, School of Science, the huge success record of Everton in the Community, our youth policy. We are still closet optimists because, in spite of our repeated record low net spend, we still expect to be a top 4 club. COYB!
Michael Williams
19 Posted 08/12/2015 at 16:42:10
Thanks, Ken, for providing me a bit of perspective and taking time to respond. Please keep writing.
Peter Mills
20 Posted 08/12/2015 at 18:17:59
Some of our attacking play was the best we have seen at Goodison for many years, perhaps since that wonderful pre-Christmas spell in the 1986-87 season. It didn't always come off, but let's not be harsh on the team for playing with swagger. We were very unlucky to hit the woodwork three times and to be thwarted by a world class save.

However......Our manager did not find Palace "pleasing on the eye". Actually, I admired their defensive solidity, and the performances of their centre backs in particular. The game is about scoring goals and preventing the opposition from scoring. We desperately need to improve the latter.

Plato Stavrinos
21 Posted 08/12/2015 at 18:47:43
I have commented previously on how quiet Goodison sounds on TV but what amazes me is when we play away we have the loudest fans in the league.
Patrick Murphy
22 Posted 08/12/2015 at 18:59:23
Peter (#20),

Not sure about the comparison with the 1986-87 team, but I do concur that this team still has a long way to go, but not as much as some would have us think. Joe Royle’s remit when he first arrived was to shore up a leaky defence and put points on the board and because of that being achieved his team started to play some decent stuff, but when Joe’s team started to become more adventurous they once again started to concede too many goals and 2-2 seemed to be the par result in many games.

Everton never seem to get the balance correct between being hard to beat and scoring plenty of goals. If or when that happens with this team, we will reap the rewards, however, we are not that rich as a club which leaves a nagging doubt that we may have to start all over again in the not to distant future, which takes much of the optimism out of the situation.

Despite the performance last night, I still believe that our best chance of European qualification will come via the cup competitions, mainly because we have failed to win too many league games when we have been the better side by a distance.

Peter Mills
23 Posted 08/12/2015 at 19:18:23
Patrick, the frustrating thing is that a good coach can organise a defence quite quickly. We play 7 players whose priority is to defend, yet almost every goal we concede is sloppy.

Like you, I feel that this season is crucial, we will indeed lose our best talent next summer if we don't achieve some success.

Andy Crooks
24 Posted 08/12/2015 at 23:27:48
Another top report, Ken. What is your view on Mirallas? Do you think he might have won it for us? What is the reaction from those around your seat?
Laurie Hartley
26 Posted 09/12/2015 at 08:24:07
Thanks for the report Ken - 3 big smiles this week:-

"Drat said the faithful!"
"That’s twice the post has won"
" which made me wonder why our present manager didn’t put Mirallas on for a final push."

We are nearly there Ken.

Up the Blues.

Ken Buckley
27 Posted 09/12/2015 at 09:16:54
Andy @24

Those around us wanted Mirallas on for Kone with about 20 mins to go.

I don't know why he is not getting a runout but most of our gang think it’s personal between him and the manager and he will be away in January. We will see.

Dave Ganley
28 Posted 09/12/2015 at 15:49:57
Good report as ever, Ken. To be honest, that was probably the most entertaining game of the season for me really, which I guess is a strange thing to say considering we have recently slammed Villa and Sunderland scoring 10 goals in the process. In the two games mentioned, yes, we scored a lot of goals, but I felt we went to sleep for large portions of the game.

Against Palace, I felt we showed intensity for most of the game, which is probably due to the closeness of the game. The most pleasing aspect of the game was our willingness to carve out opportunities, which to be honest, hasn’t generally been the case for the full 90 minutes this season. Hitting the bar and post three times is unlucky.

The most disappointing aspect of the game was, yet again, our defensive frailties. I read a damning stat about us the other day in which we have conceded the most headed goals in the league. It doesn’t seem to matter who plays in the back 4. If Jags was playing we still would have conceded a goal. What it boils down to is that we blatantly down do enough/any defensive training as this kind of thing happens time and again. Will we learn? Probably not as this is not an isolated incident.

We do have the potential to be a very good team but lazy defensive duties, allied with not utilising subs effectively, is seriously hampering our chances of achieving anything. It was really obvious that certain players were tiring in the 2nd half so why not freshen things up for the last 20 minutes? We also need to look at having an attacking option down the left hand side. As good as Deulofeu has been recently, and boy has he been good, it's only a matter of time until teams start to wise up and realise that everything is going down the right and totally mark him out of the game.

We really need to keep teams guessing and have an option for the left. If Mirallas is not going to be that outlet, and its looking increasingly likely he is surplus to requirements, then get someone in who can be that player and soon. Figuring out when to shoot on sight would also be a bonus for the team.

To finish on a bight note, I thought Barkley played his best game of the season. He was inventive, some of his passing was delightful and he tracked back and tackled. He can do it so there is his benchmark. He needs to work on his shooting but was really unlucky with his curled effort in the first half. Coleman also had his best game for some time and Cleverley seemed to be involved in most of the things that were good about Monday night. Lukaku is increasingly looking like the real deal too. He has obviously worked on his control and hold-up play and is becoming a match for anyone.


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