It was not that long ago that going to a night game at Everton was really really special to all Evertonians. Be it in Europe, League or mid-week cup ties Goodison Park under floodlights usually creates a different atmosphere. Loud, intense, full on deafening, a full house. I can remember coming home from such memorable nights at Goodison like when we beat Chelsea 2-1 a few seasons back, THAT game against Fiorentina, even if it was heart breaking, The Big Dunc Man Utd win or the “Dan Gosling” derby, leaving the ground with a ringing in my ear and tingles down my spine. In recent times, however, that all seems to have gone. Granted we’re not in Europe anymore (and are not likely to be for a while) and alot of people seem to jibb off the Carling Cup because it’s been given that Mickey Mouse appeal for some reason. For me it’s silverware and it’s still something Everton should aim for. I don’t want to sound like I’m moaning or giving anyone grief here because I’m not but only just over 23,000 attended Goodison tonight in a cup tie against CHELSEA. That’s almost half empty. I’m not sure if it’s because of the price of tickets (£24 for a Carling Cup tie I agree is extortionate) or the general air of negativity and unawareness of what’s going on behind the scenes at Everton but, I dunno, I just really miss that midweek excitement and I do hope we have seen the last of it.
As for the game itself I would definitely go as far as saying it was a game of 2 halves (well 4 in this occasion). First half saw a weaker Chelsea side missing most big star names, come at Everton over and over again and Everton not able to take the game to Chelsea. Everton conceded a penalty early in the first half which was sent wide by Nicolas “Eggheaded tit” Anelka much to the Evertonian’s delight. However, Chelsea opened the scoring on 37 after what I can only describe as one of the worst butter finger goalkeeper moments I have witnessed by Jan Mucha. A light cross/shot by Kalou was caught by Mucha only to slip through his hand and into the net. I’m not going to go on a tirade about Mucha cos in all fairness to him he made a few decent saves in the game but for me, and I’ve always said this, he is not good enough as a first choice keeper and even with Tim Howard out the squad for the night I would have chosen Marcus Hanneman over him any day, but that’s just my opinion.
Second half came along and I decided to move seats next to my two old regular mates who I used to have a season ticket next to due to the fact I was sitting in front of 3 complete and utter titheads who were annoying throughout the first half. The half started with Phil Neville being replaced by Tony Hibbert and Everton went straight into it and generally looked great. All the midfielders (except Bilyaletdinov who, YET AGAIN, had another howler) seemed to work well together specially Fellaini and Rodwell even Drenthe I thought played well and was helping to create space by making Chelsea players go at him and taking them out of position. For me though his big problem was he gets too greedy and tries the impossible and tries to take everyone on rather than putting on simple lay offs and that is something he has to get out of his system as he’s not in La Liga anymore. Needless to say we looked the much better team.
A glimmer of hope came midway through the 2nd half when Everton were awarded a penalty and Chelsea saw Keeper Turnbull red carded for bringing Saha down in the box. Needless to say Everton missed the penalty. Baines’ kicked saved well by Chelsea replacement keeper Cech. It just looked like that equaliser wasn’t going to happen. The game changed however when Seamus Coleman came on to replace Billy (who for me was shite again) and straight away was getting in great runs and good crosses that looked dangerous. Eventually, Seamus provided a lovely cross into Louis Saha or banged in the equaliser in the 82nd minute. Chelsea down to 10 men, 1-1, 10 minutes to go, game on. Everton went into all out attack bringing on Denis Stracqualursi who could have won the game had it not been for a rubbish header despite being completely open. In all honesty as well, I don’t rate this Denis lad, he hasn’t impressed me yet.
So 1-1 at the end of the 90. Extra time saw a pretty 50/50 first half with both teams trying to go at each other despite everyone being knackered, however it all crumbled for Everton when Drenthe was sent off for a 2nd bookable offense and it became all Chelsea. It was only inevitable that Chelsea were gonna try and set up camp in our half and put the game to bed, fate was sealed with 5 minutes to go in the 2nd half of injury time after Mucha pushed away a shot from Ivanovich only for Sturridge to hit it home and kill Everton off.
All in all a disappointing night for us Blues, a game that should of and could have been killed in regular time, in the end dragged out too long and wore the players down. As for the atmosphere in Goodison, well you only have to read my rant from earlier, moments of loud singing and general hope we could win but nothing to write home about. At least our fans didn’t do “The Bounce” like Chelsea’s complete and utter HELMET supporters did. Seriously, so bored of these bounce and Poznan-esque celebrations. They’re not clever they’re not cool, they’re just fucking stupid, but then again what do you expect from a club with a fan base that’s been supporting them through their 7 year history.
So that’s it, Carling Cup campaign over for another season, a piece of silverware that won’t be coming to Everton, typical. Like most Everton fans tonight I have a slight feeling of deflation and disappointment, but that’s Everton for you, have to take the crap with the good I suppose oh well there’s always the FA Cup, right? Right? Meh…Who am I kidding?
My man of the Match: Fellaini (another excellent performance)
Squad: Mucha, Distin, Neville (Hibbert), Baines, Heitinga, Drenthe, Rodwell (Stracqualursi), Bilyaletdinov (Coleman), Cahill, Saha
Unused subs: Hanneman, Vellios, Osman, Barkley