From My Seat: Southampton (H)

Overall it was a day out and the chance to see fringe players and academy hopefuls. The disconnect between manager and many fans is growing but there was no organised protest today.

Ken Buckley 16/04/2016 27comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Southampton

Here we go with another home game... (gulp) the first for some time but the air has not been cleared after the international break and a couple of away fixtures. The number of fans calling for managerial change seems to have grown and anti-Martinez banners have made an appearance.

This is rather sad as we really need a united front to give us the best chance of a decent run up to the Semi-Final and to the Final itself. Even with the banners displayed at Watford, the faithful did sing ‘We all belong to Bobby’s army’ so there is still the will to roar the players on. But, unless the players come out all guns blazing and play the game like their lives depend on it, then that fan support can quickly die away. If the players truly want us all to stick together, they need to take the lead and that fan support will come cascading down the terraces from first to last whistle.

We made our way to the Room of Nonsense, ordered the beer and set to putting our thoughts on which we thought was more important – the derby or the semi. It was almost unanimous – the semi-final. The thinking being that, although the derby is normally the must-win game, but this season with our poor showing in the league, the chance of a sniff at a trophy is paramount.

We are just going nowhere in the league which left quite a few willing to see some of our big hitters rested on Wednesday. This might surprise some of you but I have noticed before that the match-going fans often don’t gel with the thoughts put forward on our site. I think the chance of reaching a cup final will ensure great support; however, going out after showing no extra fight from our dismal home form then things may well look very different.

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The team came through and a few oohs and aaars were heard as it was very much a make-do-and-mend team with a couple of academy lads, namely Connolly and Davies, on the bench. I think a fair number of fans took that line-up to mean we had sacrificed this game in the hope of having strong teams for the next two matches. By the end of the game, many were of the opinion it may be best to concentrate on the semi-final.

The walk up on a sunny day but with a cold wind was one for chatting on all things blue yet with little emphasis on the forthcoming game. Speaking to many matchday acquaintances, not many were expecting anything but another home defeat. Hell, it’s depressing stuff. Six changes made to the starting line-up and whilst many were passed as physically fit it was soon obvious match fitness was not to be on show, understandably, but of little use to either players or fans as passes went astray and first touch and timing were embarrassing at times.

Koeman had earlier said that a win today would see them in contention for a top four berth and as the game unfolded it was hard to see any other outcome but, by hook or by crook, we somehow kept them at bay, albeit with great fortune at times but the Saints manager will never be given a better opportunity to bag all the points.

There was a chance for our fringe players plus two academics to stake claims for a game at either Anfield or Wembley – or indeed both – but this scribe failed to note anyone putting in that type of performance. It was not that they did not try but more of not quite being up to the required standard in thought and deed.

Mirallas started on the front foot and early doors Fonte thwarted him three times with first his belly stopping a shot from a Deulofeu cross then deflecting his shot wide for a corner. Then, after getting the better of Fonte, the Saints man clearly pulled him back but our ref Mr Pawson made some sort of gesture that meant play on. Strangely, after this opening period, Mirallas went missing from the play for long periods and only appeared in flashes for the rest of the match.

Saints were now controlling the game and a large portion of the crowd were merely waiting for them to take the lead. Yet we hung on in and hacked and headed balls away and rode our luck as, on 20 minutes, Tadic put one just over then Long beat our offside trap but blazed over. It seemed all Saints now as from a free kick Joel resembled the agility of Beth Tweddle as he flew across his goal and palmed the ball wide. He got a clap for that.

Half-time could not come quickly enough as we held our breath as Stones made a great tackle in the box to rob Pelle for a corner which arced in and someone got a head on it and the ball glanced past the far post. The whistle that signalled half time was very welcome. A poor half really and you could not miss the vibe that said, "Let’s get home and prepare for Wembley."

Half-Time: 0-0

The half time chat was a bit bewildering as we really didn’t know what to make of it. No good castigating manager or players as we certainly had not prioritised this game and in truth no one seemed that bothered even though we seemed to be looking at another home loss.

Second half and it was to be much more of the same. Kone had not had the best of halves and I wondered would we see our £13.5 million wonder kid or is he under wraps to be unleashed in the semi-final? I doubt it’s the latter. As the half meandered on, it did indeed get a bit boring as Saints played all the footy and we got forward when allowed but the move always seemed to end in a backwards pass, sideways was less noticeable. It did give us a chance to talk amongst ourselves, though, and the fact that fans were treating some of our efforts with jokes I thought, just what have we come to?

It was all Saints and Tadic had one against the bar and Stones produced a superb tackle in the box to deny Pelle. Mirallas was still mostly missing but he did make some backtracking runs that halted a couple of attacks. Along came the 70-minute mark and for once a ball forward played and this time three Blue shirts followed it in and a corner was forced. We won the first contact but it was cleared only to Funes Mori who lashed home a left foot pearler. From the celebrations by the players you could have thought it was the winner at Wembley. As we kicked off the Gwladys Street broke into the "Everton, Everton" chant but that was about it.

We are one nil up after being on the back foot for most of the game and I wondered ‘can we manage this half out and take an unlikely three points?' I should have known better as, within ten minutes of us taking the lead, I had my answer – No! Tadic got in down the right and after putting the ball into the mix it seemed to hit three or four players and we did seem to have chances to hack away but the final bounce went to Mane who converted. Talking to a Saints fan after the game, he told me that player had not scored for something like twenty-odd games. Had to be us didn’t it?

It gets worse as we lost Coleman to a hammy. Now, have we got another seasoned right back? I don’t think so. Oh dear.

However, this gave us a chance to see the academy lad Connolly make his debut and his first job was to make a great headed clearance from a corner; our senior players struggle to do that. Barkley came on for Deulofeu to help yet he hindered more than helped on quite a few occasions; to see us to the end the other academic Tom Davies came on.

Remember the name – he seemed to have that midfielder’s devil about him and some very good pace as he showed with one superb tackle in our box that an inch either way out and it was a pen. He put some of our players to shame as he got about the pitch closing down and harrying anything that moved. Always eager to get forward which brought him high praise from those assembled. I was glad I was there to see it and now hope that this raw talent is nurtured in a way he deserves and his feet kept on the ground.

The final whistle was welcome, many had left by now but, of those of us left, some booed and others clapped the lads off.

MotM – Stones. Gibson did okay after such a long layoff.

Overall it was a day out and the chance to see fringe players and academy hopefuls. The disconnect between manager and many fans is growing but there was no organised protest today although we did have a one man pitch invader who seemed to be heading toward our present manager but was headed off by three stewards. He threw a haymaker at one of them but missed and with his route to Martinez blocked he spoke to our captain for the day, Osman, before being led away to the Park End and was greeted by a loud chorus of boos from the patrons.

The walk back to our Temple of Learning was enlivened when passing the Fat Van the programme seller was at the top of his voice yelling ‘Still Time to get your matchday programme’ but seemed to have no takers so he changed his cry to ‘Still time to change your manager’ which brought a roar from those within earshot.

Over a pint of the nectar we made arrangements for Wednesday and Saturday effectively writing today’s game off, which is sad. A quick straw poll revealed that most wanted our present manager to keep his strongest line up for Wembley. Again sad but at least understandable.

It would seem most believe that the FA Cup is keeping Martinez in a job and the outcome of those games will see his involvement with us either onward or out. However, the only people that can do anything significant about this situation is our board. Could it be that they will see fit to let him keep building and get us to the Promised Land? Who knows... but the post Wembley fans reaction will reach new heights in offering suggestions.

Never a dull moment down Goodison way. See you at Wembley... TWICE!!


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Reader Comments (27)

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Steve Hogan
1 Posted 17/04/2016 at 08:42:07
At the risk of sounding boring, surely Martinez has now reached the 'point of no return' in the eyes of the vast majority.

I simply can't believe he has the ability or foresight to turn it around now or next season should he be kept on.

If the club is going to show REAL ambition, they MUST set their sights higher than Martinez, another 12 months of going backwards would risk potential relegation, and that would simply be a catastrophe.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 17/04/2016 at 09:17:39
Never a dull moment Ken? Well Not until the football gets in the way!

Hope you're right though and we have two trips to Wembley to look forward to, even if I can't even bring myself to think about the first one just yet.

Maybe if that programme seller is also a prophet, we might just find some belief.

Jeff Armstrong
3 Posted 17/04/2016 at 09:19:09
Barkley came on and was awful,. He is unfit, overweight, will not put a tackle in, or even pretend to make a tackle. The lad is currently a liability, but he will start at Wembley and, to me, that shows how incompetent our manager is for allowing this situation to develop. The lad has bags of talent but is being ruined by a charlatan of a boss.
Christopher Timmins
4 Posted 17/04/2016 at 09:49:47
Ken, you used the word "sad" a lot in your article and indeed it is a very sad situation. It looks as if the manager's time is up and based upon results he can have no complaints. However, I would never want Everton FC to lose a game even a goal within a game just to make things worse for him and hasten his departure.

We have a massive game next Saturday evening and we need everyone behind the team.

Ray Roche
5 Posted 17/04/2016 at 10:01:36
There were some truly dreadful performances out there yesterday, with the possible exception of Stones, Funes Mori and Gibson who, in his first start of the season, showed as much in an attacking or forward passing game as McCarthy has all season.

Osman was knackered, understandably with so little game time under his belt, but he showed Jagielka what being a Captain should be, berating the hapless Pawson as they walked off at half time.

Kone looked like the winner of a Jim'll Fix It competition, where the winner is plucked from the crowd and given the number nine shirt as his prize. Utterly useless. Niasse must be a Bakayoko play-alike if he can't get on instead of Kone who must now rank alongside Brett Angel, Bernie Wright and Rod Belfitt as the worst forwards we've seen. Whatever the story with Niasse, it won't make pleasant reading.

Martin Nicholls
6 Posted 17/04/2016 at 10:06:38
Christopher - well said. Ken - as usual, your report was better than the match! Agree your comments about Davies.
Martin Nicholls
7 Posted 17/04/2016 at 10:10:29
Ray - agree your comments about Kone but in defence (he says, tongue in cheek!) of Bernie Wright, at least he was prepared quite literally (!) to fight!
Jeff Armstrong
8 Posted 17/04/2016 at 10:28:01
Kone, Mirallas, Oviedo, Deulofeu, Besic, where all given an opportunity yesterday to show the manager they where worth a place in the coming games. Each of them where crap, to a man. No fight, no determination, nothing.

To me, it came across as "Not bothered because we're crap, got a crap boss, and we'll get beat in the semi anyway."

Martinez has lost the players, I'm afraid.

Dennis Stevens
9 Posted 17/04/2016 at 12:03:36
It's a grim situation & the deafening silence from the Boardroom doesn't help. I can only hope wheels are turning in the background & preparations are being made for swift action at the point deemed appropriate – although some of us would say that point passed a short while ago.

Well written, as always, Ken, but you're quite right in grasping the word of the moment: sad, sad, sad.

Ray Roche
10 Posted 17/04/2016 at 12:37:30
Martin, I suppose we could have got Bellew out of the stands if we needed more fight. He was sat next to Kenwright and Moshiri was on his own. You saw a glimpse of him rooting through his pockets looking for a receipt or something.....muttered something about getting his money back.
Frank McGregor
11 Posted 17/04/2016 at 12:52:28
Ken, Good report as usual. Very sad to see the team sinking so fast. To be honest, I feel sorry for Martinez, he is completely out of his depth as a Premier League manager.

The one good thing about yesterday's game was Lukaku's contribution: he done more for the team sitting on the bench than Wednesday's game at Crystal Palace.

"I want to play in the Champions league" – give me a break.

Tony Dove
12 Posted 17/04/2016 at 12:57:10
Great report, Ken, only one step away from an obituary really. I think young Davies's tackle just reminded everyone of what uncommitted and clueless dross we've got accustomed to.
John Raftery
13 Posted 17/04/2016 at 13:09:54
There is no question that the semi must be prioritised over the derby. That is definitely the way most match going fans view it. After Coleman's injury we dare not risk injury to any more of our core players and playing two tough games in less than 72 hours is just asking for trouble.

So despite the poverty of their performance, for the derby I would stick with most of the eleven which finished yesterday's game. Having seen only five league wins at Anfield in 46 visits, I can easily wait another season to see the next one.

Peter Murray
14 Posted 17/04/2016 at 13:15:56
Regardless of the quality of Ken's article, it just clouds over the pathetic nature of our "Blues" play – again. No heart, with supposed Wembley positions/bench etc. available... it was as if we were "playing" away.

Pathetic, a new low, heartless – regardless of Wembley next Saturday – they couldn't win an argument. No excuses – this was just a new low; under any other manager, positives would be expressed, players would be castigated, but not this "No-mark"!!!

Just how long has Coronation Bill been at Goodison, as currently him & our no-mark are just a joke, an exceptionally poor imitation of our beloved Blues. Please, please let's have some ACTION, from our so-called board, or are watching a different match?? Match of the Day, equally as painful with Lineker, as always an equal, no mark, comment joke!!

I've watched, supported the Blues for 50? years. Get rid – please!!

Gerard Carey
15 Posted 17/04/2016 at 14:14:41
Thanks, Ken. Horrible feeling around Goodison at the moment. Long time since it's been that way. Read on some stats that Everton have made the least number of tackles of all the teams in the Premier League this season.

It's easy to see why, young Davies showed that bit of bite that should shame some of the older ones. Last season, Lennon did the same, his eagerness to get the ball back showed up the others. We look unfit, uncoached, with very little interest in games.

I hope things turn around for the semi-final but I won't hold my breath.

Rob Halligan
16 Posted 17/04/2016 at 14:24:20
Like you John, #13, I've only ever seen us win twice at Anfield, and one of those was a league cup game. I'd go as far as say play the U21 team on Wednesday. I will probably get slaughtered for saying this, but as most seem to think we will lose anyway, no point in risking injury to any more key players.

As me and you attend all away games, including all the European ones, I don't think we should be criticised for suggesting such a team line-up for Wednesday.

David Griffiths
17 Posted 17/04/2016 at 15:54:49
I have a very long memory and a very good recall of what it felt like to be at certain matches in the past. Yesterday reminded me of the death throes of the Gordon Lee era in 1981. Having been 3rd in October and 5th in December, we only won another 2 or 3 league games all season. We had a good run to the quarter final of the FA Cup beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Southampton in epic matches at Goodison. But after losing to Man City in the 6th round replay the rest of the season was horrendous and we sank to 15th.

I remember the home match against Norwich in April which we lost 2-0 (goals by Joe Royle and the late Justin Fashanu). The sense of absolute hopelessness on that day, and the feeling that we would never win another match was exactly what it felt like at Goodison yesterday even when we were briefly 1-0 up. Kone is the new Imre Varadi, Funes Mori is the new Billy Wright, Mirallas is the new Joe McBride and Martinez is a poor man's Gordon Lee.

The present manager and most of the team are absolutely hopeless and the only way forward is to rip up everything about the Martinez era and start again from scratch with a new manager and new players – there are only a handful of the present players I would keep. It will take time, but with the financial clout that we apparently have now, this has to happen. I just can't understand how Martinez is still employed – it beggars belief, it really does.

Mike Allison
18 Posted 17/04/2016 at 16:03:28
David that's ridiculous. Most of our players are good enough and have already shown that this season, just only in patches of halves of games. All that's needed is a new manager who the players believe in and the ones who looked hopeless yesterday will suddenly look like, well, themselves about six months ago.

Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water, spitting the dummy etc.

Brian Dagnall
19 Posted 17/04/2016 at 16:36:13
Thanks Ken, your report is pretty well spot on. Not sure I agree with those who say some players are spineless, to me they all seem to play with spirit, and the congrats to Mori when he scored seemed to me to be warm and genuine. They do care, I feel.

No, my problem is with the skill levels when we try to keep the ball at close quarters ... we come second so often. Don't we practise? We look ponderous when playing the ball around, taking one or two touches when a one touch would be better, not sure what sort of pass we should be playing, never making a "1-2" run, And this has to be down to the manager and his style of play.

Good players in our team look average at best because of this ponderous approach. And then we ask our good players to "carry" the likes of Osman, Delofeu, and Kone, who contribute bugger all, and regularly give the ball away. This is unrealistic, no team of players can handle that load.

So I am a bit defensive about some of our players who are being asked to do a "double shift" covering for some of the crap we carry thanks to the blindness of our manager. How could he keep Osman on for 90 minutes, when he hardly did a completed pass?

Frustrating watching the Blues when we make so many elementary errors. If a sliderule pass is intercepted, well that happens, but a 10 yard pass with nobody on, wow, I get really angry.

Bill Gall
20 Posted 17/04/2016 at 16:39:09
With all the criticism that Martinez receives, he is doing what Kenwright sees as a reason for keeping him, and that is an average of over 38,000 at the home games.

Kenwright is the problem at Goodison as he is the one – despite all his cheap talk – that does not see us as a big club and is happy with the plucky Everton talk.

The only way that we will improve on and off the pitch is if the new majority shareholder takes over and places his own chairman in charge, answerable to him.

David Chait
21 Posted 17/04/2016 at 17:19:21
Recorded the game as I missed it. Just to watch the last 10 minutes and the newbies... In that time, I want to mention:

Stones was excellent. And all the idiots writing him off will soon be in tears when he goes;

Barkley had the ball on a string most the time and was trying to run the show and I would say he was;

Besic was having the best game of McCarthy's season... breaking up play, passing the ball on nicely;

Osman was a poor version of Cleverly some nice touches but lost the ball too;

Then Davies: Davies was brilliant! DFM in the Premier League at 17! That's the reserve of gifted strikers. Great touch, confidence and a perfect tackle. You know him and Besic looked superb together. Yep remember the name alright!

In those 10 minutes, the team was buzzing, players had movement and I couldn't believe it was the team I was reading on our live forum. That team was the better side.

John Raftery
23 Posted 17/04/2016 at 18:08:58
Thanks Rob (17). A good idea about playing the Under-21s. Our neighbours seem to have no hesitation in throwing a group of kids into the first team. We would learn more for the future than we will using players who are coming to the end of their careers.

Catterick played a team of reserves at Leeds in 1966. We lost 4-1, were fined by the FA, but a week later won the semi final. Nobody was in the least bit bothered about the Leeds result.

Terry Underwood
24 Posted 17/04/2016 at 19:31:08
To be honest, from what I see on TV, Barkley's bad moments far outweigh his good moments... if we could get a decent wedge for him, I would take it.

As a replacement, I would stick my neck out and say Zac Clough, just relegated to League One with Bolton – may be worth a punt.

Alan Bodell
25 Posted 18/04/2016 at 16:25:48
With the doom on TW I've just got round to log on, we had a totally patched up team of second-choice and and players with extreme lack practice then got a point against a very good side. Yes ,we were in our own half mostly but we had 2 young boys coming on for their first games (Tom Davies will be in the full England team within 3 years).

I want this manager out as much as many but please just fucking lay off Bill Kenwight who is not well at all and anyone having a go right now is a disgrace, there is not an Evertonian with more blue blood in his veins as Bill.

Ray Roche
26 Posted 18/04/2016 at 17:28:05
Alan (#26),

"Tom Davies will be in the full England team within 3 years."

If he played for Spurs, he'd be in now... ;-)

Alan Bodell
27 Posted 18/04/2016 at 19:28:29
Ray, he is still light framed and just 18 so I think one more year on the weights and this kid has enormous potential (I hate to say it, but more than Ross is showing).

If ever I saw a young Alan Ball (I was lucky to see him play many times), then this lad is the next.

Ray Roche
28 Posted 18/04/2016 at 22:42:09
Alan, I agree, he certainly looks the part, I was impressed watching him in the Under 21's on TV recently. To be fair, Ross also showed tremendous potential in his first season, sadly, his progression appears to have stalled recently.

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