From My Seat: Stoke (H)

Overall quite a disappointing afternoon and made worse when you look back on other losses and remember our present manager telling us they must learn game management, correct defensive positions and not to be bullied after each one. If his milkman is reading this, give him a knock will you and ask him how he thinks it is going because we fans are just not seeing it.

Ken Buckley 28/12/2015 32comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 4 Stoke City

A bumper crowd descended on L4 and the Room of Nonsense soon filled. Beer flowed as handshakes were exchanged and who-did-what stories exchanged. Those of us that had been to Newcastle relived the game with excitement but bemoaned the horrendous weather conditions. No one got back early. Our mate Leggo had got himself in trouble with his long-haired one as, on Saturday morning, she sent him out for a 4-pint green top milk but he never got back until half nine Sunday morning his excuse being that he could find nowhere open that sold them until he found himself in Newcastle. I dont think his apology for the lateness of the milk run has not yet been fully accepted. The teams were beamed through and the talking point was the non-appearance of Mirallas even on the bench. Many wonder what is going on with that lad.

The walk up to the ground was windy but dry and even some singing broke out at one point. The fat van had its longest queue for many a day, more than double that of the Blue Dragon! And with the Fan Zone belting out songs the human carpet of bodies in Goodison Road had the excitement levels rising.

Z-Cars and then a minutes applause for those that had passed on this past year, a true Blue every one.

Stoke kicked off and off we went on a journey that would both lift and deflate spirits right to its very end. It took ten minutes for our first shot on target from Barkley that had bottom corner written all over it until a deflection took it for a corner. Stoke retaliated and a decent pass and shot sped past the far post. With fifteen minutes coming up we were looking to settle when Stoke showed us the simplicity of a move executed quickly that got them into our box and with our defence all over the place Shaqiri was invited to slot home from close in. And hey ho we find ourselves behind at home again.

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The rowdy Stoke contingent were in full voice. I thought our lot looked a little sheepish. However with Barkley and Barry prompting we set off looking for the equaliser and just after the twenty minute mark Barkley went on a stop start run that unsettled the Stoke defence. He did another stop and the rolled the ball square to McCarthy who quickly moved it to Lukaku and our hot shot obliged. 1-1 and all to play for. Barkley was now showing some England form and made a powerful pacy run to their box flummoxed more defenders with a back heel pass to Galloway who with a side footer of deliberation only passed it wide of the far post. From my seat that looked a good chance gone. McCarthy on his comeback game was subbed off for Cleverly just after his assist and Lukakus goal. That was a shame with a load of games on the near horizon.

Coleman raided at pace into the box and was felled by Pieters. Our ref Clattenburg pointed but only for a goal kick. "Bastard!" said a man behind me. Then just before the break Deulofeu let us down again as well as himself by making a fast determined run on a counter attack but on reaching their box the ball ran away from him so he threw himself to the ground but all he got was a booking. I find that embarrassing.

However we were well on top now and as I mused how well a goal would do us just before half time Stoke went down our end and a superb ball from Bojan, who had impressed throughout the half, left our defence on its heels and Shaqiri lifted a half volley high over Howard and down into goal and for the first time ever in my time watching the Blues the ground remained silent. Not a cheer from the visiting fans or a groan from the home fans.

Second half and we had first shot from Cleverly in the box but it was blocked away but then Cleverly was involved at the other end when Johnson beat Cleverly and came along the byline heading for goal but Howard and Mori between them halted him before further damage could be done.

The crowd were getting restless as we kept possession by going backwards and sideways and then forwards as we tried to find a chink in Stoke's very well-drilled defence. We needed patience to stand a chance but with Stones and Kone passing to the wrong colour shirts too often for the crowds liking patience was becoming a rare commodity.

That patient build-up finally paid off as the hour mark was near when a bit of good joined up stuff got the ball to Cleverley who looked up and hit a great thirty yarder into the box and into Lukakus chest where he controlled and hit the back of the net. Delirium from the crowd as a superb assist and top draw finishing had us level again. Now the crowd was up as they roared the lads on to take the game. Ground not quite rocking but the loudest we have heard for some time.

Just as the celebrations subsided Cleverly was subbed and Naismith entered the fray. This seemed most strange as the lad had just put in a superb pass that led to a goal and then sprinted about 40 yards to celebrate. I found out later it was an Achilles injury so thats him and McCarthy out now. It never rains for what it pours. It seems as soon as someone assists Lukaku in scoring they get injured!

Naismith almost had us in front soon after his entrance when he hit a powerful one but it was deflected for a corner. The crowd were still up and willing on the Blues as they had the upper hand in this phase of the game and on 70 minutes a delightful move picked out Lukaku running the left channel, he found Barkley who without looking squared the ball into the feet of Deulofeu who side-footed home. 3-2 and Goodison was on fire. We only sing when we are winning sang the Park End as the Street got on with the Deulofeu magic bit.

Ten to go came along and we are three two up but a worry was that we were rather open. Were we going for another? If so it was dangerous as Stoke had already showed us what they had on the break. I had the impression that we were getting progressively nervous and our concentration and decision making was getting flawed. We seemed a mixture of many styles but master of none and so it was proved when we allowed Arnautovic to get a cross in across our six yard box. Howard sort of half-dived, flapped, then punched but it gained no ground and remained in the six yard box for the freshly on sub to smash the ball home. That was a downer.

We went straight back at them but not in a very structured way which allowed them to get on the ball and go on a quick counter as we were not holding a shape and I said to my mate that we were looking vulnerable. On 90 minutes and the board out ready somehow we let a Stoke player to charge down the line toward the Park End, allow him to cut in and head along the byline where Stones went to ground in a tackle in the box. The Stoke man went down and after what seemed like eternity our ref Clattenburg pointed to the spot. Everton players protested vehemently but as ever to no avail and those of us left had to sit and watch Arnautovic hammer the ball straight and true and another home loss was witnessed. The whistle went, fans not happy and let it show.


Overall quite a disappointing afternoon and made worse when you look back on other losses and remember our present manager telling us they must learn game management, correct defensive positions and not to be bullied after each one. If his milkman is reading this, give him a knock will you and ask him how he thinks it is going because we fans are just not seeing it. On the walk back the number of fans loudly criticising the manager seems to be growing. We have heard it before of cpirse but it does seem to be growing more of late.

Perhaps we will hear a bit more on take overs shortly as our Chairman is well again and he did his two hour Christmas day Rock n Roll show on Radio 2 He said he had been poorly but was now OK.

Spurs next and I only hope some of these lessons to be learned our man talks about are on show to the faithful. Still its an unpredictable game so let us hope for better. Then we have a whole host of games in quick succession please let us win a few of them. See you Sunday.


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Reader Comments (32)

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Steve Hogan
1 Posted 29/12/2015 at 01:14:38
At the end of the day, it wasn’t Clattenburg that lost us this game. Despite the pathetic comments in the post match interview, ’the stubborn one’ finally dropped the ’phenomenal’ gibberish and laid the blame firmly at the door of the referee?

A somewhat predictable response from a man rapidly running out of ideas. Even the Martinez fan club are running out of excuses for the latest collapse.

When oh when is he going to learn? I predict never. It’s simply not in the man’s make-up.

For gods sake just stop the nauseating positivity, it just doesn’t wash anymore, we have a REAL problem in the goalkeeping position, can you at least acknowledge there is an issue there?

Can you hold your hands up and admit defensively, we are an absolute shambles, at least I would feel we were singing from the same hymm sheet.

I’ve never known Evertonian’s en masse to be so angry and frustrated at what they see on the pitch at times.

Paradoxically, we have such obvious talent going forward, but at the moment, it’s simply wasted.

One things for sure, he will ultimately destroy, the very thing he has created.

Cue exits for Lukaku, Barkley, Deulofeu and Stones who will soon realise, if they haven’t already done so, this manager is going no-where.

Andy McNabb
2 Posted 29/12/2015 at 01:57:02
Thanks Ken.

CONSISTENCY. We have not an ounce of it.

We are not playing good football because defence is a vital part of a good performance. We play with a structure which appears to leave us wide open every time the opposition is on the ball.

I wrote on here when Martinez was appointed about my bemusement as to how a manager who has just experienced relegation could be our first choice. Sorry to say I told you so but we are simply Wigan with, broadly speaking, better players.

The league is so tight this year, that should we continue our recent DDDLWL form, then we will soon find ourselves looking nervously at the bottom 5 or 6 places.

Jay Harris
3 Posted 29/12/2015 at 02:50:33

Great to read your reports Ken but maybe not the result today.

The obstinate one is now running out of excuses.

Small margins, referees, injuries, the conditions, the internationals bad luck, we are still learning, we have learnt our lessons etc etc etc.

Does he not realise that other teams face the same issues.

I would probably be more patirnt if he didnt come out with such shit all the time. No qonder the players seem confused.

Roll on new owners and a new manager and hope it is in time to keep our young stars.

Andy Peers
4 Posted 29/12/2015 at 03:05:38
If the team is announced for the next game and Howard is on it then Martinez has not learned. It is not just his lack of command of the box but also his organization of his back four.

Everything is right in front of him to see, so he should instruct accordingly. He is not brave enough to be an Everton goalkeeper. I am not blaming him alone but Martinez refuses to address our Achilles heel.
Dave Long
5 Posted 29/12/2015 at 03:24:09
As Andy Peers says there is a marshmallow centre to Tim Howard. He doesn't want to hurt himself and it costs us points. Our players get injured so often.....even Anichebe had a hamstring yesterday. How do we compare with the rest of the league?
Mark Andersson
6 Posted 29/12/2015 at 03:37:29
As always Ken your reports are both entertaining and seem to have a calm reflected aurora about them. Although most readers are once again either fuming or scratching their heads in bemusement.

If Blue Bill is really a fan, he will be feeling the same. So the reality would be that he gives Roberto a bollicking for bad results and for talking utter shite. He should also give him a warning to up his game or he is out.

Neither will happen so the room of nonsense will remain the same, with 30 thousand sat in silence hoping for that penny to drop, but knowing it really won’t.

Big Rom has upped his game this season and will be sort after come come May. As will Stones, who even though he had a terrible game last night still oozes class and potential.

New owners: Roberto we can sell two of our best players and raise just under a £100 million – what can you do with £30 million, Roberto? Lots – and get you into the Champions Leauge.

You're the man for us, then. (Phenomenal!)

Anto Byrne
7 Posted 29/12/2015 at 04:19:18
The most galling aspect of the game was when their second goal went in. It was with out doubt pure class and a wonderful goal and right up there for goal of the season. Howard’s reaction or lack of it, his positioning off his line that when the ball floated over him he was somewhat bemused by it all.

The defence is responsible for closing down the opposition and the keeper is responsible for his defenders. The third goal flap when the ball was going to hit the corner flag served it up on a plate.

We have conceded seven goals at home. OK, a few dodgy penalties and some hideous refereeing decisions going against us; however, if we can’t defend, as shown against Bournemouth, Norwich, Palace, and even Newcastle had the two best chances of that game, then something has to change. We have a quality fullback on loan at Fulham... and where the fuck is Conor McAleny at age 23?
Kevin O'Regan
8 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:22:10
What I cannot understand is why oh why on 70 mins., after scoring 2 goals, on the front foot we start passing around at the back and in midfield as if the game is in our hands and we have nothing to lose. Why not go for the killer punch while you're on a high - unless you have a brilliant defence (no) - then you must take the initiative and take it forward with those young guns on form. Stoke are not a team you can mess around with and take chances and try to protect a lead for 20 Mins.+ - I cannot understand that crap. Learned our lessons ? Not by a mile. Very frustrating.
Brian Mahoney
9 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:31:50
It's like Groundhog Day going the game now. I am sick of seeing Howard in goal, as I've said before he will not drop him it's was the same with Barry last season he was awful but continued to be picked. Howard now is a serious liability and the difference between us becoming a top-four side or a mid-table side.

I admit it wasn't all his fault as our defence is a shambles, there’s no leadership even with Jagielka who in my opinion is not captain material as he won't argue decisions, which was all to evident with the Mirallas penalty farce last season.
Jim Bennings
10 Posted 29/12/2015 at 09:44:31
Martinez doesn’t do learning lessons.

He likes to spout about "we" need to learn, but he’s not including himself in that!

We have conceded 19 goals at home, going back to the end of last season we have won 3 of our last 12 home games, this at what was once a venue team’s hating visiting.

It will be the same next Sunday against Tottenham, great attacking play no doubt, 1-1 with 20 minutes left only to collapse and lose it 3-1.

Lessons learnt??

Get real!!

Peter Mills
11 Posted 29/12/2015 at 10:41:42
Many people ask who we could bring in to replace the current manager. There is one candidate who has crossed my mind, he is available, has played and won at the highest level, is passionate about the game, talks sense, is respected by everyone in football, and happens to be an Evertonian. Jamie Carragher, anybody?
Jim Bennings
12 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:06:32

That's a joke right.?

Carragher is now a diehard Redshite and I couldn't put up with his gobbledegook accent.

This is Everton Football Club.

There should be many managers out there desperate to manage us, Bielsa, Hughes, Laudrup, many more.

We need a manager with some experience of what it takes to WIN, preferably with Premier League experience .

Carragher, Phil Neville, Duncan Ferguson?
It's all just pure fantasy, bulldust.

Jim Bennings
13 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:10:18
The takeover if it ever happens will be crucial to moving this club fowards.

Stay as we are then it's destined for mediocrity.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:11:15
First goal conceded, errors by Stones, Coleman and Galloway, positional in all cases - all lose their man and / or are pulled out of position.

Second goal. Galloway positional error - loses his man.

Third goal, Howard "positional" error (had only 2 yards to come for it and didn't - scared of getting hurt as usual).

Fourth goal, technically not a penalty as I think I see contact with ball first on repeated slomo. But understandable that ref sees no contact with ball.

We miss Jags and Baines.

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:11:41
As usual a good sensible report, how do you sty so calm reporting on the defensive shambles that is Everton, I find it very hard to stay sane watching the same mistakes match after match, with NO chance of the out of his depth manager changing anything.

It is up to " the best Evertonian in the world" to do his job and relieve Martinez of his job, has he got guts to do it?

Peter Mills
16 Posted 29/12/2015 at 11:20:23
Just trying to think outside the box, Jim, throwing it out there......
John Raftery
17 Posted 29/12/2015 at 12:05:01
The last twenty minutes demonstrated why we need two holding midfielders. With Lukaku, Kone, Deulofeu, Naismith and Barkley we had five essentially attacking players plus Seamus regularly bombing forward. The side was unbalanced and after two games in less than 48 hours Barry was knackered trying to cover the gaps. It is mystifying as to why the manager did not bring on Besic to shore up the midfield and make us more compact.
Tim Wardrop
18 Posted 29/12/2015 at 12:13:29
One of the big issues for me, again, are the substitutions. Besic is the natural replacement for McCarthy (high energy, pressing and tackling..getting around the pitch). Cleverley isn't. And then when Cleverley went off he brought on Naismith?? I know Barry has had a decent season, but he can't get around the pitch well enough to the be the only disciplined midfielder in the team. Besic and / or Gibson should have been on that pitch
Christopher Dover
19 Posted 29/12/2015 at 13:00:15
CONSISTENCY, of course we have that.
Every game we are consistently poor defending, we practice it that's why we are so good at it.

Watching that game and after going 3-2 up we just pissed about not going forward with intent and not defending with any conviction.

The other thought not been said to much is I thought we started so slow, in fact was asking did they know the game had started, only woke up when Stoke scored.

What happens next? As supporters we cannot get shut of manager, surely the penny has dropped that the defence for all the reasons the fans can point out is not working so why o why cannot the manager.

Final moan, the penalty was given right or wrong but if they had not conceded 3 goals prior to that it would not have made any difference to the result.

But what do I know, only a fan and now not looking forward to next games as if we cannot score four or five goals then destined to draw or lose.

Don Alexander
20 Posted 29/12/2015 at 14:18:47
I too admire Ken's restraint re all things "Martinet" (and that ain't a spelling mistake by the way). When it comes down to it this guy doesn't give a stuff about anything other than his own obsessive ego. He's proved it to be so for years.

The board need to get real. I wonder if the following a concept is summat they might understand;

Hiring him to get us to the "promised CL land" was like hiring a driving instructor to teach the one they love, perhaps a daughter, to drive. After two failed attempts at the test (as per the last two seasons) Dad would be 100% entitled to ask the lass (or the fans) what the problem was. If she said, "Well dad, in the driving test I'm sometimes told to dive backwards as well as forwards and he never tells me how to do that!" the dickhead would be given an immediate elbow in favour of someone competent.

But this is football...........and Everton.

Ron Haslam
21 Posted 29/12/2015 at 14:26:50
I agree totally with Brent Stephens. For me Galloway is a good prospect but gets caught out of position too often. Positionally at fault for the first 2 goals and when in possession passes backwards and sideways. If Baines is fit he should play and I believe Luke Garbutt is far superior to Galloway whose best position may be as a central defender.
The sooner Jags is back and up to pace the better.
Tony Rutherford
22 Posted 29/12/2015 at 14:33:31
Tim, I’m totally with you about the substitutions and the game management Roberto continually refers to.

Basic / Gibson would have been my shout having got back into the game, but again Roberto sees something different from a lot of the fans.

Hats off to Mark Hughes though, his game management worked perfectly. 3-2 down and throw another forward on, and exploit the space in midfield.

As always a cracking summary... and I can’t wait until Jagielka's fit!

David Hallwood
24 Posted 29/12/2015 at 15:47:29
Great report yet again, Ken.... the only consistency we’ve seen all season.

John Rafferty (#17) yes we need DM s and we were unlucky with the injuries to Macca and Cleverley. But FFS they’re professional footballers and thy should be able to do a containing job for 20 Bleedin minutes.

When I was playing (Sunday league) standard and we were in the lead with 20 mins to go we protected the lead and we rarely lost from that position. No one saying I’m a winger I don’t do defence you just got stuck in and stopped them

Steve Brown
25 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:01:59
Howard isn't our Achilles Heal - it is the entire defensive shape of the team due to the manager. Believe that a player who misplaces a pass in training has to drop and do 20 press-ups. How about RM doing that during the match if we make a defensive howler? He have done 140 in the last two home games alone.
Johnny Rainford
26 Posted 29/12/2015 at 17:55:41
Jim #13... if BK and the board want anywhere near the money they are asking for, they had better do something about the managerial staff pronto because the value of their investment is rapidly diminishing this season mate.

Gerard Carey
28 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:47:45
Great report Ken. Its a great pity the way the season is turning out. We probably have our best panel of players for many a season. But RM is not getting the best out of them, through his own shortcomings. The thing is our manager is not for turning as the saying goes. Same mistakes over and over again. A greater pity is that if he cant turn things around we will have lost a great chance to be up in the top six or better, a champions league place. And as others have said our so called better players will be off in the summer. What an opportunity lost eh!!!!.
Trevor Lynes
29 Posted 29/12/2015 at 18:47:56
Some time ago the cry was for bringing in the kids and dumping Jags and Distin. Baines has been out injured so now we are down to two young centre backs and a kid at left back with no cover in front of him. Jagielka is the one defensive centre back we have with composure and experience. Stones has thrived playing with Jags and also Distin on occasion.The goals that we have conceded of late are all individual errors. We should have thirty two points at this stage but have thrown points away when in good positions to win games. We have a soft centre at the moment and this is not down to tactics. Howard, Mori, Coleman, Galloway and Stones have all made individual errors which have cost us goals.We badly need both Jagielka and Baines back playing well.

Now we have injuries to both Cleverley and McCarthy and this exposes our lack of top flight cover in midfield. Let us hope that Besic and Gibson can plug some gaps effectively.

I would like to see Baines and Besic in those roles rather than Gibson who is too slow.

The missing Mirallas is another enigma within a riddle!

Joe Duffin
30 Posted 29/12/2015 at 20:43:18
Thanks again Ken for the match report, entertaining and accurate as usual.
Personally, I think Stones needs Jags their to guide him. Too often he is off charging out to try and chase things down - there isn't a leader at the back who will organize and cajole the defence into staying in some sort of shape. When I watched the game again, Stones is at fault for first goal (he comes charging out chasing something when it wasn't needed), and obviously the last one. Whilst he is half decent on the ball, he over complicates things too much.
The confidence at the back is one thing, it opens up space going forward, but at 3-2 we should have been killing the game - the team seemed to panic and not know what to do.

Lastly, I thought Barkley and Coleman were the best two players on the pitch - Barkley rarely looses the ball and his ability to change play is excellent. Coleman is just full of energy, and offers as much going forward as he does at the back.
For our clubs sake, I hope we get into top 4, or you could see 2-3 leave in the summer, Lukaku, Stones, Coleman maybe even Barkley.

Joe Duffin
31 Posted 30/12/2015 at 01:39:53
Glad to see Barry agrees with me :)
Harold Matthews
32 Posted 30/12/2015 at 03:45:50
Some people watch games but don't see anything. Some people watched the Newcastle game but didn't see Besic. I can tell.
Harold Matthews
33 Posted 30/12/2015 at 05:06:53
Sorry, my keyboard cut out. Anyway, some people watch games and see a lot more than me. My eyes are not so good these days.

I'm a big Besic fan but was totally gobsmacked by his non-performance in the Newcastle match. This normally zippy character couldn't keep up with the play. He hadn't played for a while so whether it was mental or physical I just don't know. He may have been deliberately protecting his hamstring. He may have been ordered to protect his hamstring.

With Cleverley and McCarthy off I suspect Martinez didn't want to risk Besic who he probably trying to bring along slowly.

Anyway, as stated earlier, I'm not surprised he was not noticed in the Newcastle game because he was almost invisible. For that reason I have not called for his inclusion anywhere. After his tragic hamstring injury in the Chelsea game all I want is for him to gradually get fit and well. We saw what going full blast after a layoff did to McCarthy.

Laurie Hartley
34 Posted 30/12/2015 at 06:17:52
Thanks for the report Ken. I am away from home at the moment so I haven't seen this game.

What I have picked up from reading through the the various threads is the genuine disappointment of fans because they feel this squad of players is underperforming. I am not talking about those of us with short fuses, but rather level headed posters who seem to know a bit about the game.

My gut feeling is that someone like Mourinho (he is free at the moment) with a new goalkeeper and Vidic (he will be free shortly) could turn them into real contenders. We can still dream.

Harold, have to agree with you about Besic - in the Newcastle game he looked pedestrian and lost. I have high hopes for this lad - he has that steel core that we need. Let's hope we see a fit Besic back on the left hand side of the pitch soon

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