It was fleeting, ended by a wayward pass by the otherwise highly effective Dwight McNeil, but towards the end of this hugely satisfying performance against Brentford, Everton were treated to “Olés” from their travelling fans as they competently saw out a 3-1 victory at the Gtech Community Stadium.

Six days ago, this was a collection of players who, at times, seemed incapable of finding each other from five yards away and seemed paralysed when faced with the prospect of trying to play through Arsenal at Goodison Park. Thomas Frank’s Bees may not be of the Gunners’ title-chasing calibre but they’re a very competent team and came into this match week unbeaten, yet there were numerous times where the Toffees played neat triangles and advanced up the pitch in stark contrast to that last outing.

Such are the contradictions and vagaries of this Everton team that is now up and running in terms of picking up their first victory of the season and who finally found the cutting edge up front that was missing against the likes of Fulham and Wolves and, for the most part, the defensive solidity that was absent at Villa Park and Bramall Lane.

Indeed, there was much to admire and be confident about this display from Sean Dyche’s men and it established a blueprint for how the Blues can pick up the points they need this season to stay out of trouble at the bottom. Having two different but effective threats at centre-forward helps, as does having McNeil fit, Amadou Onana in the mood, James Tarkowski looking back to his best, Jarrad Branthwaite imperious at the back, Ashley Young being taken off set-piece duty, and James Garner offering all his versatility in midfield. Add in Seamus Coleman and Jack Harrison and not only does Dyche have options but he also has a very promising first XI if the majority of them can stay fit.

Today, he left the player that hitherto was his top scorer in all competitions, Arnaut Danjuma, on the bench, a decision that appeared, depending on your viewpoint, either questionably bold or nonsensical before the match but which was vindicated in the final reckoning.

Because this wasn’t the expected performance based on classic counter-attacking in the manner of Everton’s last win away from home, at Brighton in May. Instead, the Blues went toe-to-toe with a Brentford outfit visibly diminished by the loss of key personnel like Ivan Toney, Ben Mee, Rico Henry and Kevin Schade who was injured in the warm-up, and secured a win fashioned with domination in midfield, diligent pressing in the opposition half, aerial prowess and some lovely finishing.

Article continues below video content

They unsettled the Londoners and their fans with an early goal, weathered the setback of losing their lead with almost half an hour gone and with a bit more luck for Doucouré and more composure from Beto in the first half, Everton could have been out of sight by the halfway stage. As it was, they simply knuckled down, maintained the upper hand and got the job done in the second half.

Everton’s start was initially slightly ominous, though, with Ashley Young picking up a booking with just 40 seconds on the clock and Bryan Mbeumo drifting a free-kick wide of goal but the visitors were soon ahead when McNeil won a corner on the left.

Garner’s corner was cleared but Everton won the ball back and the midfielder curled it back in, Tarkowski rose to knock it down in the box to Doucouré. He had smartly rolled off his marker into space and then despatched a crisp half-volley across the goalkeeper and into the far corner to make it 1-0.

McNeil then latched onto Beto’s flick-on and missed the far post by inches with an early effort just before the quarter-hour mark but Everton would have two great chances to double their lead in the space of six minutes.

First, a poor clearance fell straight to Vitalii Mykolenko inside the penalty area but with his weaker right foot he could only shoot straight at Mark Flekken and then when Tarkowski picked Doucouré out with a raking pass into the box, the Mali international took it down and sliced a volley that agonisingly came back off the crossbar.

A minute after that, it was 1-1. The otherwise imperious Jarrad Branthwaite could only hack a loose ball to Vitaly Janelt just outside the Everton area and the German shaped to shoot before sliding it to Jensen whose drilled shot found the net via Jordan Pickford’s glove and the inside of the far post.

The Blues stuck to their task, however, and Dyche will feel as though his side should have gone into half-time ahead. The mercurial Idrissa Gueye slid Beto in with a slide-rule pass eight minutes before the break but the Portuguese scooped his right-foot shot wide of goal.

Then, after Gueye had given the ball away cheaply in his own half and Tarkowski had done well to prevent Keane Lewis-Potter from stealing in at the back post, the Senegalese played Beto in again but the move ended in familiar fashion with the striker’s cross-cum-shot sliding the wrong side of the upright.

Brentford had improved following a subdued and somewhat anxious start but it was Everton who looked the stronger of the two teams after the interval and McNeil had the first chance of the second period but shot at the keeper.

Beto then won a free-kick by touchline which Tarkowski met with another towering header but Amadou Onana couldn’t divert the ball inside the far post before the former Udinese striker dropped a header of his own a yard or so wide.

That would be Beto’s last significant involvement as he was withdrawn in the 63rd minute with the approval of the travelling fans ringing in his ears and four minutes later, it was 2-1 to Everton.

Young’s attempted cross was deflected behind for a corner, Garner swept the resulting set-piece to the edge of the six-yard box where Tarkowski had timed his run and leap to perfection to power it home.

The Bees might have hit back almost immediately were it not for an excellent rearguard action by Everton where first Calvert-Lewin blocked Ethan Pinnock’s shot from close range and then Tarkowski denied Christian Nørgaard amid a meleé of bodies in front of goal.

Then, with 19 minutes left, the visitors wrapped things up. Garner robbed Nathan Collins in a dangerous area from the defender’s perspective, looked up and threaded a beautifully-weighted ball between two other defenders with the outside of his boot for Calvert-Lewin to advance and slot in off Flekken’s leg to make it 3-1.

Pickford got away with an awful clearance when referee Michael Oliver got in the way of Saman Ghoddos as he looked to try and find the empty goal from distance but, otherwise, Brentford looked well beaten and the closing minutes were little more than a formality.

This was timely for Dyche because after such a barren start to the season and last week’s alarmingly poor showing, the knives were starting to come out for the manager. Many would have been eyeing the upcoming home games against Luton and Bournemouth as must-win fixtures that offered the best chance of the team picking up its first win of the Premier League campaign so to have done it on the road will serve as a huge tonic.

Regardless of what happens in midweek in the Cup back at Villa Park, those two home games now carry less pressure but they will also be approached with more optimism now that the players have shown what they’re capable of. Today will provide a shot in the arm to confidence and the return of Calvert-Lewin adds another reason to be optimistic that the Blues can keep their heads above water this season, again with some luck on the injury front.

Reader Comments (35)

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 ()

Jim Lloyd
1 Posted 23/09/2023 at 23:35:36
Thanks for a very accurate report Lyndon. Youre right about our more optimistic outlook, for our position in the league. The new players are settling in really well and McNeill showed today, a much more energetic performance. Then DCL looks fit and we've got Harrison just about ready for the first team I don't know how far Seamus is from fitness, but, barring injuries, I think we can manage to collect enough points to get us out of the danger zone.
Jay Harris
2 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:07:09
Thought the title was spot on Lyndon.

We seem to forget that we have been without a goalscoring forward for abbot 2 years on and off and wondered why we werent scoring goals.

The last couple of games, with the exception of Arsenal where the game plan was questionable, we have looked a far more potent side.

My only disappointment today was Beto who looked a bit hit and miss after his early promise but DCL looks back to his best and as long as we keep him fit I have a feeling this season will be a turning point in our return to more favourable times.

Brian Denton
3 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:12:42
Lyndon, the spelling is 'deserts': it comes from the same root as 'deserve', and has nothing to do with tasty puddings.

There, you've learned something new!

Ed Prytherch
4 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:19:09
If Jack Harrison comes into the team then Garner should be in the middle with either Gana or Onana, Garner's corners were excellent today. We are starting to look like a decent team barring more injuries. The change in Doucoure since Lampard left is hard to believe. Dyche may not be very sophisticated but he seems to be able to get the best out of his players.
Paul Kossoff
5 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:27:11
Confused with the headline, are Everton the bad guys?

If you say that someone has got their just deserts, you mean that they deserved the bad things that have happened to them, because they did something wrong.
Surely that only applies to the likes of the red shite.😀

Paul Kossoff
6 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:32:36
Ed 4. Ed, let's not get carried away with one win.
"Dyche may not be very sophisticated but he seems to be able to get the best out of his players."
One win out of six. 4 points from 18, sacking level at other clubs, surely.
Lyndon Lloyd
7 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:53:44
Superb, Brian! As I’m sure you deduced, I never knew that. So thank you, not only for setting me straight but for the etymology as well!

I’m pretty sure every mention of that term I’ve seen in print was either an error like mine or simply a terrible pun!

And Paul has rendered my original headline completely off target. Not a good day for this self-professed writer 😐 but a very good day for Everton, so I’ll live 😉

Rob Dolby
8 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:55:09
This performance was waiting to happen. A fit O'Neil and willing runner up top helps the system.

I felt for Beto coming off after an hour, didn't think he did much

Philip Lockett
14 Posted 24/09/2023 at 2023/09/24 : 01:04:17
I'm sure Sean Dyche hopefully will take some positive points, 'scuse the pun, from today's result. I hope some of us saw a much-improved performance today.

I just wish he would make his substitutions earlier than he does. How he keeps Gueye on the pitch so long I find baffling.

Overall very pleased  COYB1878. 🧢

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 24/09/2023 at 02:39:01
Rob, Beto had a rough day. He had trouble holding the ball up and some of his passes, like the one to Onana racing in, were well off target.

The Forum consensus objected to Beto coming off -- they wanted to see DCL up top with him -- but I thought the 5-man midfield was producing our best midfield performance of the season and it shouldn't be broken up. Dyche got that one right.

And Dom was a hero, with a big block on the line preceding his goal. Assume he will start Wednesday.

Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 24/09/2023 at 02:58:29

I think you’re a bit harsh on Beto. I thought he held up pretty well. Also, yes he didn’t bring his shooting boots but he was causing them problems and you can argue he wore them down, As for the DCL nutmeg debate. On that I agree with you. I just watched it several times and it seemed very deliberate. I like Barry Rathbone and while he’s a bit of a bit of a pot stirer he often has a point. But I totally disagree with his assertion a pro striker wouldn’t go for the nutmeg. I was never a pro but often went for the nutmeg — successfully so I’d assume someone far better than me would have little trouble pulling it off when the opportunity presents albeit against a better keeper. If he wasn’t going for the nutmeg I can only assume he was going for his shins and missed which makes no sense.

Chris Donnelly
17 Posted 24/09/2023 at 06:28:46
What a relief!!! Still felt nervous when it went to 3-1 with 19 to go. But I’ll take the anxiety of being 2 goals up all season!!!
The football played yesterday was from a different stratosphere to the Arsenal game, and yes I understand arsenal are a class side and we were always on the back foot, but it was energetic and slick, Garner was possessed as was Doucs, the closing down was fast and hard, and we made the 3rd by grit and determination. Really made up with the game, the amazing support from the travelling fans, just kept singing and getting behind the lads!! Best away fans in the world!!! If I have to be hypo critical, Idrisa has to be more aware of his lack of speed, and his decisions in the middle third. He gets caught in possession too many times, but we can’t always have perfect!!!
Branthwaite and Tawkovski in the middle is such a dream team, they look like they have played together for years.
Overall a good day on the road, first since Brighton. Let’s hope that performance is the springboard in confidence that the lads needed.
The fans keep singing, the lads will keep winning!!!
Jerome Shields
18 Posted 24/09/2023 at 07:18:42
I am concerned regarding opinions on Beto. Everton need a threat to maintain their shape. Beto is more likely to provide that than Calvert-Lewin.

But the reason that Everton's five midfield worked was that they had the space to work in, provided by the perceived threat of Beto and the need for Brentford to stay deep to counter that.

This was particularly so in the first 15 minutes of the second half, Everton's Achilles heel. I thought that Beto had a good game and Brentford found him a handful. Calvert-Lewin benefited from this work against a tried Brentford.

Calvert-Lewin does not provide shape and his goal was lucky. But at least he was in position to get to the ball and his wayward pass was on target.

It must be pointed out Everton were a lot fitter as a team under Dyche. Beto to start, anything else would be foolish. Calvert-Lewin is a upgrade on Maupay's substitution.

Eddie Dunn
19 Posted 24/09/2023 at 07:24:12
It was a revelation when, in the second half Garner started popping up on the left, then the middle.
That cross from the left, then later the lovely through ball for DCL, on a plate for the big man.
The five man midfield was very sensible and it worked so well.
Beto worked hard and with better composure could have had a couple of goals.
There was much to admire all over the park against a decent team.
It was, I hope, a pivotal game. A defeat would have made the next two home games potentially fatal but now, the lads can go and get revenge on Villa in the League Cup on wednesday knowing that they have plenty of options.
Brian Denton
20 Posted 24/09/2023 at 07:28:50
Lyndon, you are a gentleman!
Rick Tarleton
21 Posted 24/09/2023 at 07:55:30
A really good display; for once Everton managed the transitions between the various parts of the game. I'm not Mykolenko's biggest fan, but he played well and Young 's game management was excellent. Branthwaite's progress and his ability to fit in alongside Tarkowski suggests we have the best central defence since Jagielka and Lescott.
Calvert-Lewin gave us focus as did Beto, the difference looked to be that Calvert-Lewin offered a real goal threat. It's early days for Beto and the threat will hopefully come as he integrates more into the team.
Doucoure and Garner looked like genuine Premier League midfielders, McNeil carried a threat. Onana was that irritating mixture of moments of brilliance and mistakes and Gueye really does need to become a bench player. I mooted the suggestion that perhaps Godfrey could be used in his role.
A couple of wins against Luton and Bournemouth and we can start to believe that we could be a midtable team.
Tony Everan
22 Posted 24/09/2023 at 08:06:42
Brian, very educational, now I just need to remember that!

The ‘just deserts' comment is applicable in the sense that we played very well and won after conceding the equaliser. The fact that we ‘knuckled down' and kept the belief and won the match was impressive in this game.

It is an indicator of improved mentality and confidence. These traits are what Sean Dyche is trying to infuse into the team and club. It's hard work after so long to turn the tanker around, but yesterday was a small step in the right direction.

Buzzing with the performance, the whole team deserves credit. Tarkowski and Branthwaite looking like a quality partnership, Jimmy Garner had a great game. Onana looked more fired up and did some essential dirty work winning balls back and his passing was better. Beto and Calvert-Lewin keep us strong up front for the full 96 minutes now. There's no respite for opposition defenders.

One thing I am surprised about this week is that there is no competition to 777 Partners to buy the club. There are green shoots around if the financial situation can be stabilised.

Danny Baily
23 Posted 24/09/2023 at 08:23:20
Rick 21, I don't agree with your assessment of Mykolenko's performance. He's a very limited player, and looked like one of the weakest links (along with Gueye) yesterday. He's our best and only real option at left-back though.
Rick Tarleton
24 Posted 24/09/2023 at 08:31:19
I totally agree, Danny Baily, Mykolenko is a limited player, not really a Premier League full-back, but he defended well yesterday and seems to be the best we've got.
Denis Richardson
25 Posted 24/09/2023 at 08:37:49
For those with the daggers out for Dyche, I hope they can be put away for bit. Give the guy a chance. Remember we didn't have a striker for the first few games, things are different now.

The win was massively needed and makes up for one of Wolves or Fulham. I think we can also see the huge gulf in class between an Arsenal and a Brentford so in hindsight the performance last week can be forgiven a little. We had too high expectations against Arsenal maybe. (Although I'm still surprised how badly Brentford played.)

Next league match vs Luton is another very winnable game and, if we can get back-to-back wins, we can forget about August and kick on. We've got to start getting wins at home as well… if nothing else, for the crowd.

Still very early in the season but wins build confidence and the sooner we can put distance between us and the drop zone the sooner everyone can relax, the players play better and we can ignore the off-field issues.

Feels like our season has just started. We've also still got Harrison to come in.

Mal van Schaick
26 Posted 24/09/2023 at 08:40:39
I commented on the Live Forum to bring Calvert-Lewin on and go for the win and that worked a treat.

I think that there is more to come from Beto, given the right service, and in the few games since we overhauled the team, the balance is better, we defended well and pushed forward more, looking a lot more threatening.

More of the same in the next two league games and if we can win them, we will be in a stronger position in the league, taking the pressure off us for once in a long time.

Niall McIlhone
27 Posted 24/09/2023 at 10:25:42
A good read, thank you, Lyndon. Well, we have had another nice surprise, just as happened at The Amex last season! I was hugely impressed by our younger players, Branthwaite is so composed, Onana more involved, and Garner, so versatile and does not waste possession.
They now have to follow this up with wins at home in the next two games: this being the case, Everton can go into the derby game with less of the sense of desperation that surrounds these fixtures, and by then, one would hope both Co
Michael Kenrick
28 Posted 24/09/2023 at 10:58:54
Tony @22,

One thing I am surprised about this week is that there is no competition to 777 Partners to buy the club.

Sorry, off-topic but I've been led to believe there is competition. That's according to the other Tony. He's told us numerous times there's another American group offering a far better deal but they are being cold-shouldered by the club.

I would have expected that such a story would have been leaked by someone to one of the many media outlets, be they respected journalists or click-bait merchants… but nothing. Strange.

Martin Farrington
29 Posted 24/09/2023 at 11:13:56
Finally on field justice. A great performance. Instead of buckling, after yet another undeserved goal against, we took it, accepted it for what it was, then resumed with a confidence not seen for years.

To all the moaners:–

1) Beto has just joined. Leave him the fuck alone. He is already showing glimpses of excellence as a big No 9.

2) Dyche has had no forwards since his arrival. With no money, no new players (until this season) and a tiny squad of under-achievers / duffers, that guy has produced miracles. Let him get on with what he is doing. We are a wretched club thanks to Red Kenwright so leave Dyche alone.

3) We all know we need two great full-backs. We have to adapt to the limitations of Gueye, Onana and the gangly Doucouré. Garner is also learning. In most games so far we have still been better than our opponents. But we are fallible. That's not going to change too much in the near future. But signs look good for a better season. Now let's accept our weaknesses and trust our manager.

4) Our U21s & U18s etc are sadly way below standard. None that have stepped up have impressed. Unless one of our young-uns suddenly 'gets good' (from out of 'the blue') then the first team has no support from below.

5) As a team what we have is all we have. A smaller squad, but with several better players.
Branthwaite (I'm loving that guy), Beto, Danjuma, Young, Chermiti and Harrison. January ain't gonna bring much. Due to the owner and chairman's mess.

6) The ruling re the breach of P&S rules will be heard soon. I get the feeling that we are guilty and the judgement will concur. However, I do think that any penalty imposed will be set aside until the end of the season (or in legal parlance 'reserved').

If we are 11 points above relegation then I reckon we will get a points deduction. If not a hefty fine and ban on transfers for a season or two. Then the whinging other clubs will of course sue us and another Billy K's circus act ensues.


Christopher Timmins
30 Posted 24/09/2023 at 11:32:27
To have any chance in the Premier League you need quality in your side and Garner and McNeil give us that. We now also have two strikers who we can call on, we had none at the start of the season.

I know Mykolenko doesn't offer much going forward but he knows how to defend, indeed he gives the impression of loving it. A far better defender than Digne.

Our young central defender will make mistakes while learning his trade but by God he looks as if he could be some player. Hopefully playing for us for many years to come.

Niall McIlhone
31 Posted 24/09/2023 at 12:42:45
My iPad gave out on my earlier post mid-sentence. Just to say that, by the time of the derby game, we will hopefully have Harrison and Coleman available, further adding to options for the manager.

The cup game at Villa will be challenging, but I feel that Everton should give it a real “go” and take the game to the opponents for once. I am sure that our sizeable travelling fan group would much prefer to see a high-press game than sitting back as we did against Arsenal.

Doucoure was speaking very well of Dyche and his back room team in the post-match interview last night. If he can maintain his fitness and focus, he could again prove a very important player for us this season, he has just got to be more consistent in his link play.

David Cooper
32 Posted 24/09/2023 at 15:31:07
Anyone think Pickford should have done better with the goal? A stronger hand would have put the ball around the post? Plus later in the half another Bees attack down our left side sees a ball slide across the penalty area, Pickford is nowhere near it and Tarky’s slide stops a certain goal.
Thought Myko had a decent game but was out of place for both those attacks above. However Mbueno rarely got into the game. McNeil also had a good game but was a bit lacking in defence? Where as Garner worked well with Young defensively.
But agree with Dyche and others who thought we were much better when he moved into the centre when Onana went off. Still not 100% impressed with Onana even in his preferred defensive midfield position. He does a good job stopping attacks but doesn’t look comfortable when playing the ball out. But then on our team who does?
We certainly made the Bees look very ordinary. Was this because they were missing several key players? Certainly the defence looks shaky now that Reya has gone,and they are missing Toney. Schade’s injury in the warm up certainly helped us. Henry and Mee also missing. With a small squad will the Bees find themselves fighting relegation? But we pressed, controlled the ball and only had a few moments of defensive panic! Plus we scored 3 goals! Great to see DCL back on the scoresheet, the Duke scoring again, 7 now since Dyche arrived and of course a Tarks header from a much better McNeil corner!
I think there is light at the end of our tunnel!
Paul Kossoff
33 Posted 24/09/2023 at 15:58:08
Lyndon, are all your posts now going to be looked at before being allowed because of your confusing title which had to be changed? Now that would definitely be getting your just deserts😀

PS, you are doing a fantastic job with this site, thank you.

Bill Gienapp
38 Posted 24/09/2023 at 22:53:05
Chris (17) - I remember when we threw away a two-goal lead against Newcastle with 90 seconds left, so I never feel comfortable until the final whistle! I was still pacing nervously when we were up 4-1 in extra time against Brighton.
Si Cooper
39 Posted 24/09/2023 at 22:56:46
I thought what made Beto such a threat to Brentford was the presence of players actually looking for the knockdowns he is capable of (Doucs seemed to have particular instructions to play the role of beneficiary although McNeil got involved as well). Throws defences into a panic because they are unsure which direction the ball is likely to be played in because sometimes the target man will just play it for themselves to take it on, and is exactly the reason I think Beto and DCL could work together because they could both be either the target man or the one looking for a knockdown.

Against Arsenal there was no-one who looked like they wanted to get beyond the striker and so the Arsenal defence was never given serious problems to solve.

I’m not insisting both players have to be played together, just that I’d be very interested in seeing if they could operate as that double threat. It may not work as well in reality as it does in my minds eye because someone else would be on the bench and, for instance, the likes of Doucouré and McNeil both bring other things to the team that two strikers may not adequately compensate for.

In case it hasn’t been covered, ‘deserts’ meaning deserved outcome is pronounced the same as multiple puddings not multiple arid landscapes which is where the spelling confusion comes from.

Paul Kossoff
40 Posted 24/09/2023 at 00:00:39
Just watched Tom Davies getting his first assist for Sheff Utd on motd, pity it was for the opposition though. Someone said he would probably be at Blackpool next season, doubt it, more like Tranmere Rovers😀
Danny O’Neill
41 Posted 25/09/2023 at 06:41:18
Pretty much how I saw it, Lyndon.

Any game of football is winnable if you believe you can win it.

A great evening out with fellow blues. Turned the corner? Who knows? As I kept saying, previously, it was too early to judge. It always is at this stage of the season.

With confidence and belief, there is a decent team there in the making. World beaters? Of course not. But they can better the past couple of seasons.

Bob Parrington
42 Posted 25/09/2023 at 08:48:37
I was impressed by the way Tarkowski marshaled the defence with great authority, particularly for their various set-pieces.

IMO some comments about Beto have been pretty hard on him. I think Kieran put it well!

Very creditable performance all round. Two notable nerve jerkers were created by Gana losing the bell in dangerous positions but, fortunately, we got out of jail from them.

Something I felt, right from the kick-off, was that we looked bigger and stronger than I can remember for a long time.

Martin Krogh
43 Posted 26/09/2023 at 12:05:57
For God's sake: We are still shit. We won't get relegated, but that's only because three other clubs are even more shit.

And then: More of the same next season.

Dave Lynch
44 Posted 26/09/2023 at 13:04:38
The next couple of games will tell us if we've improved... or not.

Brighton last season was a one off considering how we performed all season and how we've performed since.

Let's hope we can use the Brentford game as a stepping stone to better results. Me? I'm not that hopeful tbh, we've all been here before so here's hoping.

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