Everton 1 - 1 Brighton

I decided to head out early and left the house at 7 am to catch the 8:43 from Euston. The start of a long, long day. 

 There were not many on board, but I ended up talking with a few Brighton fans and randomly a Millwall supporter on his way to Ireland. He was getting off at Crewe to travel on to Holyhead to catch a ferry. I didn't say, but as he was southeast London-based, I couldn't fathom why he hadn't flown on EasyJet or RyanAir from Gatwick as surely all of those train fares and ferry costs have added up? Anyway, irrelevant, it was just my curious mind. 

 Chaos on the train as the bar's contactless payment machine went out of order and it was cash only. So gradually as people's Sainsbury's carry-outs purchased at Euston started to run dry, there was a near mutiny onboard given that not a lot of people carry cash these days and I thought there could be a storming of the bar. I advised the Brighton supporters they would need cash around Goodison. 

 I arrived at Lime Street in good time and headed to the Northwestern to meet with Brian before catching a taxi. Yet again, I managed to find a Kopite taxi driver. Why do I always pick them? He was okay and we had healthy discussion as we headed towards Goodison. A few near the ground with Brian and company and then off for my ritual visit to the best eatery on Goodison Road.

As it was still early, no customary queues. I’m going to miss that place that has served me on my trips over the years. I do fear for a lot of those places around Goodison, although apparently, they are talking about putting on buses and coaches to ferry people to Bramley-Moore Dock.

I caught up with Rob to get presented with my banner, which would feature later on the way home. At this poignant time of year, a nice tribute banner hung from the Glwadys Street stand before the match to commemorate the build-up to Remembrance Day. 

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On the performance, I guess for now, we're going to have to get used to it and Dyche's approach to the game of football. Being the purist I am, it goes against my instinct, although at times since Dyche arrived, we've actually played some decent stuff. I don't like stats too much and people will look at possession, but I think that is only 3 losses in the last 10 games across all competitions? 

We are looking steady, if somewhat unspectacular. A regular complaint in the later Martinez days was that we had lots of meaningless majority possession but ended up losing. As it stands, 5 points above the bottom 3 and a point behind Chelsea. Not ideal, not where we want to be, but a few weeks ago, some would have predicted worse. 

I know some have suggested Pickford could have done better for their goal. Having not watched it back, I just saw a deflection that took it away from him. Unfortunately, I often think in these days of camera and media scrutiny versus the in-the-moment circumstance, it can be easy to overthink and overanalyse. 

Without wanting to sound biased or paranoid, not for the first time this season, there seemed to be some dubious ignoring of decisions by the officials that could have gone in our favour. It was increasingly agitating the crowd in what was largely a subdued Goodison Park. Even though the VAR decision for their first goal being chalked off went our way. From where I was sat, it looked like a goal to me. Like I say, I haven't watched any of it back. 

Before the equaliser, I had already said to the lady sat next to me in the Main Stand that Jordan was probably our Man of the Match, even though he didn't really have a lot to do. It was interesting to see him coming out of his box to claim the ball as opposed to him being the 6-yard box keeper we've been used to. Maybe it's coaching and/or he's been given instruction.

 Mykolenko looked good. A traditional defender who might not suit everyone's desire to have a Leighton Baines type, but ultimately he was in the box and got the goal with his second attempt and follow-up as the ball fell to him from the keeper's save. Great awareness and anticipation.

 Branthwaite and Tarkowski continue to impress as a partnership. I was torn between Tarkowski and Pickford, but thought the keeper deserved it for doing what we've been screaming for since he came to Everton. Command your box and give the defence confidence and don't just rely on those top-class saves he often makes. He did. Maybe he has more confidence in his defence?

 Young was targeted and given a torrid time. I could see it was a deliberate tactic by Brighton. Everyone around me could see it. I don't know why the manager didn't see it. That left winger was always going to outpace him and it is where the equaliser eventually came from. 

 Which leads me to the lack of changes. I appreciate that when you’re winning and it’s tight, there may be a resistance to change it, but I think most of us could sense what was coming. I rarely look at the team selection, let alone the bench, and in reality, given our lack of depth, so I don’t know what options the manager had. But given the dominance of Brighton, I couldn’t understand why we left it until the 90th minute to make changes, especially in the right-back area.

 The midfield seemed absent at times. Brighton controlled the middle of the park, hence the possession statistics. If you control midfield, you control the game. We did break well on occasions and looked threatening when we did. Dominic was a bit isolated and Doucoure didn’t have one of his better days. We missed Onana in my opinion.

 So, disappointment at the end, but not despair. On to the Arkles and the 1878 banner showing loud and proud. The smiling at my usual stubborn stand in that establishment, especially when I told the Brighton supporters not to take photos of the red scarves decorating the bar as it was a sin. "World Famous"? – my arse. It was my Everton Grandad's local long before it became a tourist attraction. 

 I caught the second-to-last train back from Lime Street. I've stopped risking the last one as it has been cancelled a few times, so I played safe.

 The journey back was full of lively Brighton supporters celebrating like they had won a trophy. I know, but give them their moment. They've been on a journey from the depths of despair when they had no home and are now playing in Europe. It epitomises keeping the faith.

 Some healthy debate and discussion and I even had them holding up the 1878 Originals Banner for a photo. The card machine was working so I was able to get some panini type of sandwich that tasted of rubber. I managed to get it half-way down before giving in and binning it.

I had a sad moment of reflection when we were discussing who we are playing next. They don't seem to like Crystal Palace but what made me think most is when they told me their next fixture is against Ajax and they all have trips planned to Amsterdam next week. A big sigh before catching up on some much-needed sleep.

Arriving back in Euston, I parted ways with the happy Brighton supporters as they headed in a different direction to me, out of London. Back in the house at 11:30 pm to be welcomed and comforted by the hounds. A long day and I was out like a light. 

We had done okay. It was disappointing not to hold out, but it's not the end of the world. The supporters' reaction at the end mostly reflected that from my viewpoint. On the balance of the match, I would say it was a fair result. I've watched Everton in the flesh against the much-admired Brighton four times in recent seasons. At their place and ours. We have secured 7 points and scored 9 goals against them. 

We might not be great right now, but we are not that bad. We've got enough in us to be okay this season. I know we don't just want to be okay, but it might be what we have to do for now until we get that break that releases the potential of what the club can achieve. Believe. 

It might not be pretty. It might not be what I like. But work with what you've got. We didn't win, but we didn't lose. One step closer. That goes for Wembley too. And that is before the FA Cup commences. Still a long way to go and a lot to play for. 

Thank you to John and Graham for squaring me away. We march onto Palace to face the wannabe Italian Ultras and their drums. 

Reader Comments (11)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 06/11/2023 at 19:30:37
If we hadn't scored early, we'd have looked just like we have for a long time i.e. giving up 80% possession at home & hardly creating a thing. Difference now being Dom of course and yes, Onana was a big miss in midfield.
I'd certainly have got Patterson on before we did and who knows, maybe we'd have held on.
Ray Jacques
2 Posted 06/11/2023 at 21:20:30
I think a decent right back signed in January and we will be ok this season. The two early home games that we lost to Fulham and Wolves when we had no striker have done us. We could have been in the top half.
Last six league games, the points gained is promising.
Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 06/11/2023 at 22:25:19
It's going to be a slog; we've got players not up to it still getting games… meaning proper football is off the table – leading to the return of Moyes-ball.

The truly horrendous standard of this season's Premier League will probably save us (points deductions notwithstanding) but it will be depressingly grim made bleaker by the prospects of the "Glazer-lite" group, 777 Partners' involvement

Stephen Vincent
4 Posted 07/11/2023 at 15:35:58
Nice report Danny - as always.

I took 3 Irish friends to the game, it cost me a small fortune to get four seats together in the Main Stand. They are not really football fans, they readily confess that they would rather watch Gaelic Football and Rugby Union before Football but will go and watch Bohemians if they are doing well.

I met them at the Atlantic Towers, where they were staying, for lunch and a pint or three, then along Regent Road to see the new stadium and another pint in the Bramley Moore. I had told them that the atmosphere would be brilliant, the football would be great, and they would have an amazing time.

Unfortunately Goodison was as flat as it has been for some time, the entertainment was 'shoit' in their words and they were basically bored out of their trees. The pub was calling after about 70 minutes and I explained that I had never left a match early in my life and insisted that we stay.

They proffered the opinion that they couldn't believe I paid to watch that every week. I sat in the Crown while they went and packed up and we then went and had a few in The Village before pouring them into Speke Airport for the last flight back to Dublin. They made me promise that I would never take them again. Which I didn't.

Brent Stephens
5 Posted 07/11/2023 at 16:55:15
Palace will be a shorter trip for you, Danny. No mingling with the opposition!

Selhurst Park is one of the most miserable grounds I've been to and not the best for views for a short arse like me. And we've not performed well there these last few years.

Bring us back those 3 points!

Rob Halligan
6 Posted 07/11/2023 at 17:39:07
Brent, you’re not wrong. Selhurst Park is an absolute nightmare to get too, and once inside the view is crap.
Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 07/11/2023 at 17:55:49
I didn't think I'd get to go to Goodison again this season, Stephen, and after the Arsenal game, my thoughts were that it would not bother me. With the situation having now changed, I was delighted to return to Goodison, and I genuinely enjoyed the game.

I can understand your Irish mates, especially because they are not real football lovers, and I can understand your own feelings, because although you love Everton, you also want to be entertained, but (isn't there always?) I personally enjoyed Everton showing quite a lot of grit, because it hasn't been on show much over the last 10 years.

I do agree that without results then a lot of people will not want to accept this type of football, but I'm living in hope that Dyche is trying to start by putting a few foundations into the squad. We will see.

Neil Copeland
8 Posted 07/11/2023 at 18:29:41
Danny, nice report as always, thanks. Brighton played very nice tippy tappy football but created very little and we were a bit unfortunate in the end. Had we taken our earlier chances then the game would have been well over by the time they scored.

Disappointing but Dyche has made us to hard to beat and fit all their possession we still had the most shots in and off target.

Brent and Rob, I am looking forward to the game but not the trip, as you say it’s a right pain in the wotnot to get there.

Andy McNabb
9 Posted 08/11/2023 at 01:56:40
Thanks Danny. Really enjoy your reports.

Must admit, finding decent, sensible-minded supporters from other teams was always one of my highlights. It's interesting hearing their viewpoint and perception of us as a team and a group of fans.

David Williams
10 Posted 08/11/2023 at 15:59:51
Great report, Danny. Keep them coming.
Mark Murphy
11 Posted 10/11/2023 at 06:58:40
I live between Palace and Brighton so I'm fully aware of the hate between those two but I've never had any trouble “mingling” when there with Everton. We'll be in the Prince George, on the high street, which will be crammed with singing blues and some Palace putting up with us.

I'm also meeting my young nephew who is a bloody koppite who lives near Palace and is taking his girlfriend to the game. I've advised him against wearing his crown paint rag or I'll introduce him to the popular game of “Kick the Koppite”. UTFT

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