Everton 0 - 1 Wolves

Up at 5:30 with breakfast, lunch and dinner all prepared the night before. The dogs popped out for a quick one and I was on the road by 6:20. Such is our support we had a 77-seater double-decker coach from Devon with maybe half a dozen spare seats – not bad to see a team which so many seem way to keen to criticise and write-off!

We we’re having a good journey with no sign of Bank Holiday weekend traffic but just outside Liverpool, we pulled onto the hard shoulder. One of our group was unwell and the efficiency of the club committee members was impressive as our stricken friend was cared for whilst we awaited an ambulance. One arrived within 15 minutes or so and off they went. Thankfully it was nothing serious and he made it back to the coach for the return journey!

Down to the Harlech Castle which was empty of the usual ToffeeWeb crowd but Neil Copeland arrived soon after and we were then honoured by the presence of John McFarlane – 85 years old and still going to the match – what a guy!!

The team was announced and it was pretty much what I would have gone for though clearly weak up top as Danjuma has impressed me out wide but not in the middle. At least young Branthwaite was playing.

The game was quite similar to Fulham – we were on top, playing much better football than last season and creating far more chances. It was hugely improved from the Villa game with Doucouré popping up all over the place and the two lads up front working very hard. Garner and Onana were a bit in-and-out but both showing that they have a lot of ability. We will see the best of them once we have two proper wingers in the team and a target man up front.

I couldn’t tell from my position whether the offside goal was or wasn’t offside –  the huge pillar right in front of me spoiled my view but it was typical of how things go against you at times like this.

Article continues below video content

You could see their goal coming, to be honest, as Pickford suddenly became involved with an incredibly stupid mix-up with I think Tarkowski, when he thought the defender would get to the ball rather than him, where in truth it was his ball to deal with. Southall would have cleared the ball, defender and attacker all at one go but Jordan is no Southall.

He then should have cleared another one whereas he pirouetted in his 6-yard box and thankfully the ball was cleared but why did he not take command of the cross which led to their goal?

Their keeper put on a masterclass of how to command the goal area and, whilst he looked a few inches taller than Jordan, surely if Jordan extends his arms he can beat most forwards to a high ball? Gordon West was nicknamed Dracula because of his dislike of crosses but he learned to punch them away and most forwards let him get on with it as there was always a chance with Gordon that he’d punch the forward instead “by mistake”!!!

Their goalie plucked every cross, corner and free-kick out of the air. Why did Dyche not get the message out to stop slinging high balls close to the keeper? Surely some outswingers with Tarkowski or Branthwaite standing in front of the keeper to stop him coming out would have been a better idea?

Did this not occur to the more seasoned players that maybe the tactics had to change? Everyone near me and indeed on the bus home could see this – why couldn’t the professionals?

I am not too downhearted as yet with our start. There are four other teams with zero or one point and, Villa apart, we have played better and created more than last season. Chermiti looks promising and, if Beto signs, then we have two physical options up front.

We have badly missed McNeil and Harrison will add raw pace as well as graft. It should all look better shortly. In the house, by 11 pm – just in time for the Dubois fight – it didn’t look a low blow to me and the lad did well.


Pickford – 5: one fantastic save but did his best to gift them a goal, he will never be a favourite of mine.

Patterson – 5: a mix of good and not-so-good, he reminds me of the young Coleman. Only one way to learn and that’s by playing.

Young – 5: looks an ageing player to me and I’d play Mykolenko who is much better defending.

Tarkowski – 6: did okay.

Branthwaite – 8: so cool, confident, excellent on the ball and has got real pace too. We must keep him as he could be worth £100M in a year or two. Man of the Match by a mile.

Garner – 6: I really like this lad and he reminds me of Paul Bracewell. Watch him go once he is played in central midfield with two wingers and a centre-forward!

Onana – 6: he was in the game a bit more and kept his position more too. Better!!

Gana – 5: giving possession up too often and nowhere near the player he was, he needs replacing once the wingers are fit.

Doucouré – 7: worked hard, popped up all over the place, winning possession, and never stopped.

Dobbin – 7:- another who never stopped working. Was kicked around a fair bit but picked himself up and went back for more. He has something but needs to put on half a stone of muscle. If he copies what Keegan did after he signed for “them”, he can make it but it means very hard work in the gym!!

Danjuma – 6: worked hard with flashes of skill but he is a wide man, not a central striker.

Chermiti – 7: looks a player to me. A few nice touches, demanding the ball to go to his chest rather than in the air or a heading duel which indicates confidence in his ability to hold the ball up. Michael Kenrick critisied him for a pointless clattering of a defender but I thought that was just what he needed to do. He’s young, a handsome chap and their defenders knew they weren’t in for an easy ride once he did that. It was right out of the Andy Gray - Graeme Sharp book of how to start a game – let the centre-backs know that you will dish plenty out and some of them will be that bit more wary. That’ll do for me!

Reader Comments (44)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer ()

Paul Hewitt
1 Posted 28/08/2023 at 12:25:43
We've played 3 games so nothing to panic about yet. We really should have won our 2 home games, just poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping is the reason we haven't. After the international break McNeil DCL and Harrison will be back, along with Beto( hopefully) and anymore new signings. I think then we will start winning games and climbing the table.
Trevor Bailey
2 Posted 28/08/2023 at 12:50:42
Cheers, Dave. Makes a nice change to see some positive thoughts in amongst the doomsayers.

Have to agree with most of what you say and, although it might be a struggle this season, I can't for the life of me see another relegation battle.

Although I can't get to the games any more, I do watch them all on a stream and there are marked differences from the last two seasons.

I just hope Dyche plays a full-strength team on Wednesday

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:00:02
Another long day for you Dave and your large group of fellow Blues without a victory to cheer you all up on the long drive home.

I agree with you there is no need to panic——-yet, depends on what we do in the transfer window in the next few days, if we are left with the squad we have now then “ Permission to panic Sir” as Corporal Jones often said.

I agree with most of your ratings Dave,a game we could have won although a draw was more likely and a mistake was always going to win this match unfortunately we made it but as you say that mistake was entirely avoidable.

Tor Ivar Stennes
4 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:01:06
After our first 2-3 missed chances I thought this would cruelly go the same way as the Fulham-game.

Branthwaite was a huge positive. Might well be our best defender at the moment.

Mal van Schaick
5 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:05:52
I accept that we have had players out through injury, and I accept that those players will be available eventually, along with some new signings, and on the basis of that we should start picking up points.

However, the games against Fulham and Wolves were winnable games, and we have let those points slip away, the Wolves game with a late goal, and we have had problems with games in the past losing games conceding late goals.

Therefore, we are all ready on the back foot, playing catch up on points, and this in turn will put pressure on players for results. Let’s hope our fortunes pick up quickly.

Eddie Dunn
6 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:19:40
True dedication, Dave. Agree with most of your ratings and also your criticism of Pickford. Their keeper is my kind of goalie, dominating the box. We failed to hamper his movement, which is poor at this level.

I would give Doucouré a "10" for effort. The lad gave his all.
Garner is so wasted out on the right, and when he'd moved inside towards the end, he immediately came into his own.
Once Harrison is fit and McNeil returns, we will be much more dangerous.

I think Forest were adrift last season after six or so games and they recovered. We will certainly not go down.

Barry Hesketh
7 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:20:27
Mal @ 5,

I provided some analysis of results of Everton home matches in the last 3 years, on another thread. What it showed is that 2 out of 3 games haven't been winnable for Everton at Goodison.

Whilst we may have hoped to have beaten either or both of Wolves and Fulham, the statistics don't back it up, in fact both those clubs have won in 3 consecutive seasons at Goodison.

That's not at all to say that it is acceptable to fail to win against those teams, but unless we have a bigger threat on an opponents goal we will always struggle to earn the 3 points against any team.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:38:54
I'm not panicking. I don't know if it's my head saying, it's too early and once we get our first win we'll be fine.

Or my heart says, “I can't take the stress anymore, so give up”.

John McFarlane Snr
9 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:43:23
Hi Dave, it was a pleasure to meet you on Saturday, I can't speak too highly of you and your friends who travel so far to watch the "Blues". I thank you for your kind words, but I think that you flatter me.

On the way to the ground each match-day, I see many who appear to be older than I am.

I think I said in the Harlech that, "Dog owners have their pets chipped enabling them to know where they are at any time. It would appear that when I was born, the doctor must have put a chip in me, which compels me to go to Goodison Park whenever Everton are playing at home."

If you are visiting the Harlech again I'll make every effort to be there, if only for a few minutes.

Andy Meighan
10 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:46:30
I admire your dedication getting up at silly o'clock clock and the likes. But I'm afraid I can't agree with any of that report and your ratings.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say you're getting a bit carried away.

Garner is and never will be anywhere near Bracewell's level. Yes, he's out of position at the minute, but to me he's too slight, and just another of our midfield players who doesn't contribute, especially goal wise.

As for Branthwaite being a £100 million player in a couple of seasons, yes, he played well, but that statement is way over the top.

As for your criticism of Pickford, I'm afraid we'd be a Championship side only for him.

Oh and Dave, I'm panicking – in fact, I'm shitting myself cos this is desperate.

Peter Moore
11 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:48:25
Really good to read that Dave, despite the result we probably all half expected given the way things are right now.

It's good there are at least some bright glints amongst the gloom and reasons for optimism dependent on hopefully Beto incoming and the injured key players returning.

Paul Hewitt
12 Posted 28/08/2023 at 13:52:45
I think we will finish above Luton, Sheffield Utd and Bournemouth. So we will be fine.
Tony Everan
13 Posted 28/08/2023 at 14:08:20
Some very fair appraisals there Dave.

With regard Pickford he makes some stupendous saves that are match winners, but he does need to be more decisive in taking the initiative in situations like Saturday.

I think most Premier League level goalies would have attacked that looped cross and punched it away. Sometimes though they just fall into that no man's land area that causes uncertainty. Still he should have punched it.

A first look at Chermiti. His first game better than I had expected, a bit stronger, looked physically robust and not a wilting bean pole. Also not afraid to put himself about. We need to see more because his job is to score goals or create something, but looks well scouted, very promising and looking forward to see how he develops.

Agree Branthwaite was Man of the Match, touch of class about him and it stood out.

Brian Wilkinson
14 Posted 28/08/2023 at 14:08:33
A very good read that Dave, enjoyed it.

We must have just missed you at the Harlech pub, me and Steve V were there around 12:30 and remained there until just before 2 when Bill G arrived, but with no other familiar faces around, we went on to the old supporters club, to meet Jim in there.

If you thought Michael Keane was slow, it was nothing compared to the speed of those behind the bar at the old supporters club, price of beer had gone up twice, due to the long wait (okay, slight exaggeration).

Anyway hopefully will get to see you on your next visit to the Harlech and the Old Lady.

Thanks again for a great read.

John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 28/08/2023 at 14:22:28
I wrote on the "Desperate Blues" thread, that Everton lost the first six games of the 1958-59 season, scoring 4 goals and conceding 20. I was based in Cyprus at the time but I'm sure that Dave Abrahams will fill you in with more details.
Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 28/08/2023 at 15:02:08
Thank you, Dave. Catch you at the next one.

It is definitely not the time to panic.

Lose to Fulham and Wolves in games we should have won, knowing Everton, we'll go and beat Chelsea, Arsenal and snatch a late winner at Anfield. It's a long and unpredictable season with a lot of points to play for.

I seem to recall Arsenal having a dreadful start in one of Arteta's earlier seasons. Horrendous goal difference after the early fixtures and there being talk of him being sacked.

I've never been a fan of league tables being published too early and don't look at them until it's relevant. Like your title suggests, not the time to panic.

All games can be won, all games can be lost. I know what you mean about Jordan. I don't want to slate him as he practically kept us up for two seasons. Commanding his area has never, and never will be his strong point. He is a very good shot-stopper.

Beat Sheffield United, Arsenal. We have to, it's on my birthday, which I share with Neville Southall. Then Brentford and Luton to follow. Give it a month and the Everton world on the field of play will feel very different.

Glad to hear your fellow travelling Blue ended up okay.

Dupont Koo
17 Posted 28/08/2023 at 15:13:54
If Garner keeps getting put on the wing by Dyche, he will soon be Simon Davies 2.0 during the Moyes era: Moyes never played Davies once in the centre of the park!
Rob Dolby
18 Posted 28/08/2023 at 15:28:38
Dave you and your mates deserve medals travelling the length of the country to watch the blues.

I noticed a stag party from Virginia had made the trip! I am staggered by our long-distance fans' devotion to our team.

There must be some great stories of how you all have come to support our team.

Win, lose or draw, we will always support the club; it's just so hard at the minute to find any form of positivity.

Habib Erkan Jr
19 Posted 28/08/2023 at 15:30:17
Thanks Dave for such a lovely read. I agree let's stay positive and support the lads.

If Dele Alli's story taught us anything, it taught us how important confidence is to player performance and how fragile is the human ego.

Simon Dalzell
20 Posted 28/08/2023 at 15:41:35
Well said Dave. We've got one or two Key players to return, Chermiti I'm sure will prove decent, Beto and perhaps another signing or two.

Great to see fellow Cumbrian young Branthwaite have a solid game. I'm optimistic. (ish).

Jay Harris
21 Posted 28/08/2023 at 16:14:27
Good read, Dave, and well done for staying so positive. Belief is 90% of coming good.

However, I can't be as optimistic as I look around a team with plenty of effort and organisation but without a goalscorer throughout the team.

It used to be the case that our defenders and midfield used to chip in with a few goals but, even if we signed Harry Kane, he alone couldn't score enough to carry us through.

Onana, Garner and Gueye are all too defensive-minded and don't look capable of scoring.

The only player currently in the squad who looks capable of a goal is Doucoure and he is only a 1 in three player.

Maybe if we get McNeil back and Danjuma comes to life alongside Beto, things will improve… but I still wonder where we are going to get 40-plus points from.

Sorry to add such a negative vibe to a positive thread but that is how they have made me feel at the moment.

Mark Taylor
22 Posted 28/08/2023 at 16:21:55
Speaking as a doomsayer, it is nevertheless uplifting to hear optimism. Can't bring myself to share it though.

Our form is very consistent over the past couple of years. We lose a lot and rarely score. Maybe some of those not currently playing can make a difference but I've found that the reputation of those not playing at any given point tends to increase with their absence.

Sheffield Utd will give a clearer idea. They are one of two clubs even I am assuming we finish above. We cannot afford to lose, it's a 6-pointer already. The other, Luton, is also in the next month. Things will be clearer by then, hopefully not in a bad way. We need a minimum 4 points from those games.

Assuming we are all correct about the Bottom 2, I'm still struggling to find the 3rd candidate. It's all very well saying Bournemouth but they gave us 2 drubbings at their place last season and our epic final home game was not easy.

Burnley might be a better bet, maybe this year's promoted teams are an especially poor crop. Wolves and even Fulham were two others in my head but losing at home to both suggests otherwise.

I'm more in fingers crossed, behind-the-sofa mode and I even fear Wednesday's game as a potential pratfall against the worst team in the whole Football League. I agree with others, we can't afford to just play the kids and cast-offs, we need to feel the ball in the back of the net and the experience of winning a game.

Robert Tressell
23 Posted 28/08/2023 at 16:38:22
The most encouraging thing from this very fair assessment is that we are building up a decent number of quality young players who will all improve as they gain experience.

Patterson, Branthwaite, Garner, Onana, Dobbin and Chermiti give us something to build on as each can occupy a place in the squad for many years.

Obviously McNeil too who we are really missing. They will all have their ups and downs but, if they keep working hard, hopefully they will be worth the patience.

Neil Copeland
24 Posted 28/08/2023 at 17:09:32
Dave, a good read thank you. It was also good to meet up with you and Ian again and John Mc of course at The Harlech. A pity we missed the other lads.

As with the Fulham result, Saturday was hard to take but as you say the signs are encouraging and better than last season.

We really need to start putting points on the board soon though, losing is a bad habit easily attained and drains confidence. Hopefully, Beto and Chermiti will bring much needed goals and take the pressure off Calvert-Lewin so he returns fully fit and raring to go.

I think having a half decent striker will help the other players too as it gives them an outlet and focal point up front.

I think your ratings are pretty accurate. A bit concerned about Pickford, he needs some serious competition in reserve to bring out his best form. It's not an immediate issue yet but will be soon imo.

Joe McMahon
25 Posted 28/08/2023 at 17:51:17
Oldham fans not happy with Big Unsworth. I hope we don't panic and offer him a role back at Everton.
Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 28/08/2023 at 18:10:12
Four days in South Yorkshire.

Hopefully not as hurtful as those two trips to Bournemouth last season.

Turn it around blues. Believe.

Because we do.

Jim Bennings
27 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:14:51
Couple of talking points from my perspective.

1) I've watched the goal several times and still stand by my opinion that Pickford was definitely culpable. He's actually behind the line when the ball leaves the Wolves player's shoulder. Pickford has been very good for 2 years but always suspect to anything airborne.


Paul Ferry
28 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:19:46
Am I the only one who's glad he did not get to make his second point, which, of course, would have been bleakly negative.
Joe McMahon
29 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:19:56
Jim, absolutely correct (why is he standing behind the line, for fuck's sake?), and yes, just run out and punch the ball. Yet again, more points lost.
Paul Ferry
30 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:27:53
There are much bigger issues right now than Jordan Pickford (although there may be a doughty few who want to blame him for scoring no goals in three games).

There were other mistakes on the run-up to the goal, but I agree with Joe about Pickford standing behind the line (Tarkowski must also take his fair shame of the blame).

Pickford definitely has my backing. He's a credit to the club and he has saved us far more points than he has cost us.

Sa was superb yesterday – seven saves, one was world class – and was comfortably, like Leno, MotM (not Branthwaite).

I've seen enough to think that things will turn out fine. I wasn't there in 1958-59, John Mac, but I was in Autumn 1994, and although so many things are different now, I'd take 15th-ish and the FA Cup!

Danny O’Neill
31 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:31:55
We'll be okay, Paul.

Leno was outstanding as was the Wolves keeper.

The results will come.

John McFarlane Snr
32 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:37:43
Hi Danny [26] I'm afraid that you have missed out on what I mistakenly thought was a ''football site'' it turns out to be restricted to Everton matters only. This means that you will not be reading about the unforgettable games of Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews, Wilf Mannion, Raich Carter, and Billy Wright. The Frank Swift story somehow slipped through the net, no pun intended, seeing as he played in goal.

Paul Ferry
33 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:37:56
I agree, Danny.

I just wish that we do not feel the need to say this after three games on August Bank Holiday!

Rob Halligan
34 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:50:59
Paul, agree with you that some think Pickford should be our leading scorer by now!

Someone on the Beto thread thinks we will sign him and then loan him out. Seems a bit daft to me, considering the amount of time we've spent chasing a proper striker. Still, I suppose these people know best!

Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 28/08/2023 at 19:52:04
John Senior, I'll see you on my Birthday against Arsenal on 16 September and we can raise a glass to Neville Southall (his too), although his would be a cup of tea!!
John McFarlane Snr
36 Posted 28/08/2023 at 20:01:17
Hi Paul [30],

On the post, that I mentioned Everton's poor start to the 1958-59 season.

I also posted that in the previous season, 1957-58, Lincoln City needed to win their final six games to avoid relegation from the Second Division, and that was exactly what they did, and they were saved by a point. So worrying about relegation after three defeats is a bit pessimistic.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
37 Posted 28/08/2023 at 21:38:54
Rob #18 - Dave is from the Wirral and we played in the same school 1st XI. He was a season ticket holder with his dad (although his dad may have paid for them) back in the late 60s/early 70s.

Ajay has gone missing. When the fixtures came out he was all for 7 points by now and I pointed out that last season we lost these three games, although last season we did score in each game.

I think looking at our overall play, we will be okay. But please don't hold me to that come May.

Dave, you up for the West Ham game? Boys and I have decided that is one to go to. Be good to meet after what… 50+ years!

Barry Rathbone
38 Posted 28/08/2023 at 22:05:51
I don't reckon the majority are panicking – more a sanguine recognition that this is the inevitable result of year-on-year Moshiri madness. Hope exists that moves afoot will improve matters but, with signings pending, we are left ruminating on why improved performances are not giving improved results.

Fortunately our target bar is so low (avoid relegation) we still have plenty of time but we'd better get a move on.

Michael Kenrick
39 Posted 28/08/2023 at 22:22:28
I know exactly what you mean, Dave, about Chermiti showing the opposition some balls and True Blue grit to lay down a marker.

But I'm just not sure about doing that in the 90th minute of your first game in a new league, and getting a straight yellow card for your efforts.

I fear the negative consequences over time in the shape of unwanted suspensions – or worse with our new species of card-happy refs – may have a more damaging long-term impact.

Just saying!

Jerome Shields
40 Posted 28/08/2023 at 22:43:48
I agree with your ratings and assessment of play, Dave. Thank you for your insightful report and observations on Chermiti. What a long day and what commitment. Hope your fellow traveller recovers, he was amongst true friends.

I won't panic. We are not even in September yet.

Kieran Kinsella
41 Posted 28/08/2023 at 23:20:16

You mean precisely what happened to Fellaini?

Ajay Gopal
42 Posted 29/08/2023 at 11:35:06
Phil (37), yes I did predict 7 points in August, didn't I? Ha.. ha..

But I agree with Dave's article - I still think we will be okay, especially if we get Beto in. We are due some luck with injuries - we need Calvert-Lewin to get back to fitness ASAP, and also McNeil & Harrison to start playing. When everyone is fit, I would like to see (4-4-2):

Calvert-Lewin Danjuma
McNeil Onana Garner Harrison
Mykolenko Branthwaite Tarkowski Patterson

Subs: Virginia, Young, Keane, Gana, Doucoure, Iwobi, Dobbin, Chermiti, Beto

Stephen Vincent
43 Posted 29/08/2023 at 12:22:55
Dave OP, Sorry to have missed you at the Harlech, as Brian explained we went the old supporters club, which was truly dreadful.

I think you pretty much nailed the player assessment apart from Gana who I think is hampered at the moment by having to do two jobs – Onana being completely anonymous. I just don't get him.

If he spent half as much time playing football as he does patting the badge and trying to encourage the crowd, we would have a player, but he is not what we need right now. If someone offered us £40M, I would bite their hands off. Drop him and play Garner in there.

Richard Lyons
44 Posted 29/08/2023 at 19:54:02
Ah some much needed positive perspective. Thank you for cheering me up a bit.

I remember us thrashing Villa 4-0 at Goodison in 2015. Last week I think we were as crap as they were back then, and they got relegated that season...

Won't happen to us!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb