West Ham Utd 0 - 1 Everton

I quite like that silver grey strip even though I prefer amber as the change colour. I quite like that simplistic badge. If I go complete retro, how about the diagonal "EFC"? Anyway…

I know I am often accused of nostalgically referring back to the 80s but the title I chose was apt for yesterday. No coat, rain and grey clouds. But it didn't dampen my optimism. I go into every single match believing we can win. This isn't just retrospective thinking because we brought the points home. I had no fear and confidence that we could. Why go if you don't believe?

An early start as always, but probably not as early as for those travelling from the North West and other parts of the country. 

Into London and the O'Neill's bar near St Pancras as the chosen place to meet. Beans on toast with a giant mushroom on the side. Comfort food. 

It was great to meet Neil and his nephew, over from Canada. I'm glad their tickets came in. Credit to the person who had committed and sorted them out. I'm so glad the Blues made their trip worthwhile. It's great how we look after each other. I certainly benefit from the good nature of fellow Evertonians. And the team didn't disappoint. 

Mark Murphy and his lad turned up just in time for a swift one. We thought about having another but looking at the clock, decided to make our way to the station and catch the HS1 to Stratford International. 

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We navigated our way through the Westfield Shopping Centre, which even though I've been through several times on the way to that ground, is surprisingly complex. But we found our way out courtesy of a very helpful information assistant. He pointed and said follow the crowd, but all I could see were people with Primark bags. 

On to the ground. As much as it is soulless on the inside, it is impressive as you walk up to it on the approach. And there is that weird rusty-looking spiral tower adjacent. I don't know what purpose that serves and it just looks ugly. 

The security checks were prolonged and made me wonder if we would get in the ground for kick-off. It put Heathrow Airport to shame. Who do they think we are? We made it, but not before having our tickets checked at least twice again. Honestly. 

Once again, I noted a heavy police presence. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Maybe it's the same with all away supporters across the country, but I've never really noticed it as much as I have recently. 

In terms of the match, we started slowly but gradually grew into the game. Despite the possession stats, I thought we were eventually comfortable and in control. The work rate and pressing was impressive. Snapping at every ball and a real desire to turn possession around.

And whisper it quietly, but we looked decent going forward. We just lacked that clinical edge, but it will come if we play like that and create the chances we did yesterday. Law of averages and all that. West Ham don't look great and more like a Moyes team, despite having some talented players on the pitch. 

Our central defensive pairing were fantastic. Calvert-Lewin was brilliant and not just for his goal. His work rate and effort caused the West Ham defenders problems all afternoon. 

The fullbacks looked good. Mykolenko in particular was solid and dependable. Patterson can grow into a successor of Seamus Coleman given time. 

McNeil and Garner put shifts in. McNeil works incredibly hard. It might not always be apparent to everyone as there is a tendency to focus on what players do on the ball, but if you watch him off the ball, you will see his work ethic. 

Harrison looks a handy player. Very positive and direct. One of those who, when he gets the ball, you think something might happen. He should have scored, but I'm impressed with what I've seen so far and my Leeds-supporting friends rate him highly. 

Pickford saves and, when called upon, he saved us close to the end. For some reason, the West Ham supporters booed him all afternoon until they started leaving, exposing a lot of empty white seats. Given most of them are England supporters, they'll be cheering him next time England play. I didn't understand it. Maybe something happened that I missed? 

Onana put in a very good performance. One his best to date in my opinion. He was characteristically made up at the end. 

I haven't watched back but I was very close and thought we should have had a penalty. Especially considering the one given against Michael Keane recently. From my viewpoint, I couldn't really make out what went on with the West Ham player down the other end, but I know that Tarkowski was pissed off and let him know it.

It's good to have a player who will have a go rather than some of the more meek and submissive ones we've had in recent years. Again, I haven't watched it back, but according to those around me, there should have been a red card on the back of a second yellow. And not just on one occasion. 

I have to confess that I missed the goal. I finished my minced beef and onion pie in the concourse at half-time, but decided I needed to go before heading back up. It happens when you get to a certain age. Go when you have the chance.

"Have we scored"? I said to the bloke next to me. Or is it them? We quickly finished off and ran upstairs. Another ticket check. "How do you think I got in here in the first place" I said to the steward. He looked at me blankly and waved me on. We had scored. Now I was clock-watching. 

We deserved that and it should have been more. Apart from Jordan having to make that late save, I never really felt threatened. Their possession amounted to little or nothing. Some of their shooting "skills" made Niasse look like a clinical finisher. 

It was great to connect with the players at the end. Now it is a long way from the pitch at the London Stadium to get to the supporters. Jordan Pickford was particularly animated as the players totally ignored the stewards and made their way to the travelling blues. I actually thought at one point, Jordan was going to end up in amongst the supporters.

Being sat in Row 2 near the front, I somehow ended up with Harrison's shirt. The person next to me asked me if I could give it to his lad, who was 3 seats to my right. I obliged. 10 years old and a huge smile on his face. What a day for the young lad. 

Big hug of relief with Mark at the end. Then we headed back to Stratford, enduring the people traffic 

Reader Comments (23)

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Mark Yeomans
1 Posted 30/10/2023 at 13:42:32
Always look forward to your reports Danny
Love your stories of the travel around it and interactions
Gives real flavour to the occasion rather than just the game

Our away lot loud and proud.

A very pro away performance
We should have had more and put it to bed though

Branthwaite and dcl my picks

Harrison proper norsed up the 3 on 1

John Gall
2 Posted 30/10/2023 at 14:08:13
Oh to be as optimistic as you Danny. ! I watch each game expecting defeat and am thrilled if we get anything. Decades of hurt have taught me this is the best way to cope with the pain. I do like your writing style - it's punchy, expressive and unpretentious.
Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 30/10/2023 at 14:20:16
That little lad will keep that shirt for the rest of his days!
Glad you enjoyed the match, Danny.
Tony Everan
4 Posted 30/10/2023 at 14:51:59
Great write up Danny, a very nice gesture giving the young lad Harrison’s shirt.
Jay Harris
5 Posted 30/10/2023 at 15:10:57
Great stuff Danny, your enthusiasm is infectious.

The Tarkowski incident, if you haven't already seen the replay, was that Tarks put a good tackle in and won the ball cleanly and the West Ham player deliberately got his legs tangled up to prevent Tiarks getting to the ball and then rolled over as if he had been poleaxed.

Pickford then came up and called him a cheating bastard or words to that effect and he immediately jumped up and got in Pickford’s face.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 30/10/2023 at 15:12:47
Not sure why the last bit didn't read across, but here you go.

A few contenders for man of the match (or player of the match as the media like to refer to them now). But it has to be young Jarrad Branthwaite. No question. Commanding, comfortable on the ball. Not afraid to play, but will go Row Z when necessary. His anticipation and reading of the game is way above his young years. Alongside the more experienced Tarkowski, we have a developing partnership there. Watch that space because the hawks may come circling. Hopefully not.

I said last week, come this Saturday, we may have six more points. We are half way there. And we could be in the next round of that elusive League Cup. A different landscape from just a couple of weeks ago.

We are two points behind Chelsea. On Saturday we could potentially be two points behind Manchester United.

Final thought. Respect to West Ham for doing a joint minute of applause to Bill Kenwright alongside Sir Bobby Charlton. And equal respect to the Evertonians. Regardless of our personal views over the years, you were respectful.

Spirit. Marching. Forever.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 30/10/2023 at 15:14:57
Top corner stuff, Danny, and well done to make that kid so happy. He'll never forget your gesture, and hopefully will pay it forward to another youngster someday.

It took a gigantic conspiracy of the entire English rail system to keep us from meeting on my trip over, but we will conquer the bastard next time and the first round is on me.

Nick Jones
8 Posted 30/10/2023 at 15:31:42
Good on you for the lovely gesture - I bet you totally made that young lad’s day (and his dad's).

So proud to be an Evertonian despite all the heartache. Great write up.

Jon Harding
9 Posted 30/10/2023 at 16:32:39
Top read that, Danny, and thanks for a Niasse reference. Not many grown men would have let the kid have the shirt so good on you - although Harrison is only on loan of course!

I only watched on the telly so pleased to hear from someone who was actually there about the hard work from our wide men off the ball. They looked significantly off the pace to me.

Onana seems to have stepped up with no Gueye in the team to do his work for him. Greater responsibility is suiting the big lad.

Don't tell me you're travelling up for the League Cup game on Wednesday! I recall you mentioning once or twice that we've not won it – yet!

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 30/10/2023 at 17:35:11
I won't tell you then, Jon!
Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 30/10/2023 at 18:08:09
Good report as usual Danny,glad you gave a nod to Dwight McNeil, he works his socks, keeps hold of the ball, looking for support and movement from the other players, gets his tackles in and covers back, right through the game, I’d never leave him out of the team, I think Harrison will get better the more he plays, he’s been out for a good few months.
Neil Copeland
12 Posted 30/10/2023 at 18:45:15
Danny, sorry I missed you at the game but I will be there on Wed, Sat and at Palace so lots of opportunities.

A good report that mate and well done for giving the young lad Harrison’s shirt.

I thought it was a very professional performance, got the job done and came home with 3pts. There seems to be much better balance and understanding in the team. They all help and support each other and we seem to actually have a plan.

Long may it continue.

Peter Mills
13 Posted 30/10/2023 at 20:48:24
Glad you had a good day, Danny.
Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 30/10/2023 at 20:54:53
A great story, Danny, with an absolutely beautiful ending, mate.💙🙏👏👏
Geoff Cadman
15 Posted 30/10/2023 at 23:48:45

Have you seen "On The Road" DCL Clinches Away Victory, on YouTube? I think you might enjoy it.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 31/10/2023 at 19:41:43
I have now watched it, Geoff. It captures the day out.

Now we go and beat Burnley and Brighton.

Next round of the cup and on 13 points.

When Saturday comes, we could all be smiling and a different place to where we thought we would be a few weeks ago. I didn't, but then that's me.

I have to pick my 1878 Originals Banner up from Rob.

Deborah Maria
17 Posted 31/10/2023 at 20:39:12
Danny, as players nearly always look for a child to give the shirt to or give it to an adult and point to a child to give it to, how did you get the shirt in the first place?
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 31/10/2023 at 21:11:36

"Being sat in Row 2 near the front, I somehow ended up with Harrison's shirt. The person next to me asked me if I could give it to his lad, who was 3 seats to my right."

Danny, there's a clip on Everton's website of Harrison giving his shirt away but I can only see it being grabbed by an older grey-haired guy who then passes it to a small fair-haired lad. Did you grab it from the older guy first, you robbing sod?! Or have you gone grey and older since I last saw you!


Andy Meighan
19 Posted 31/10/2023 at 21:13:04
The world is a wonderful place when we win.

But my opinion is McNeil has to be benched next game and Danjuma brought in. McNeil offers nothing at all, is one-paced, creates virtually nothing at all.

From what I've seen so far, Danjuma looks a far better player and is more direct, more creative and more dangerous. But Dyche won't play him because he never bought him, he was a Thelwell loan signing so therefore he won't get a look in.

McNeil will play every game when he's fit because he's a Sean (yawn) player, end of.

Ray Robinson
20 Posted 31/10/2023 at 22:01:04
Andy #19.

McNeil has been poor recently but to say that he offers nothing is going a bit too far. Have you forgotten his contribution at the back end of last season? He was brilliant at Brighton and is one of our biggest goal threats.

Dave Cashen
21 Posted 31/10/2023 at 22:09:29
Oh Danny boy!
Mark Murphy
22 Posted 31/10/2023 at 22:21:26
Fully enjoyed the day, Danny, and looking forward to a repeat at Palace.

I noticed MotD didn't show our penalty shout that was very similar to the Keane one last weekend! Clear as that from my view but not even looked at by the VAR! But then we're not a Sky 6 are we? Premier League corruption again!


Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 01/11/2023 at 05:02:23
No, it was given to me (as I said, I somehow ended with it). I was then asked to pass it on to the young lad.

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