Saturday, 21 September 2013

It's a rollercoaster

Well today we had one heck of an entertaining game against Everton, but the most painful part was seeing us walk away with nothing. The worst part of it all is, I don't feel we can blame anyone but ourselves.

The first half we looked very comfortable and Everton only seemed to be a threat from distance, seeing Morrison grab his 1st goal in the Premiership and seeing our midfield and defence look very comfortable was very pleasing to see, the only worry was the lack of clear chances we had despite dominating overall.

The second half was a completely different story, Everton decided to make some changes, the one of note that caused the most problems was Lukaku coming on for Jelavic. He seemed to give Everton confidence and almost every attack was coming through him as a target, then the first of our own mistakes came, James Collins brought down Barkley on the edge of our box, a tackle he probably didn't need to make as he was running out wide and there were other defenders back to cover, Baines hit the free kick beautifully into the top left hand corner and it was 1-1. That hurt and it looked like it was downhill from there as they continued to throw everything at us, then a glimmer of hope appeared, Petric fighting to keep a ball in play and then knocked it to Nolan who was brought down in the box, we then saw Noble comfortably slot the resulting penalty home. Straight after the penalty we saw Nolan come off for Taylor, I think Nolan asked to come off as he had run over to the touchline, but what confused me was Taylor coming on, considering we were being out played by Everton, I expected to see another defender come in to just try and defend that lead as best as possible, but what will be will be. Then, saw the second and third blows to our side in quick succession. Barkley was running at our defence and Noble was charging back and lunged in and fouled Barkley, resulting in another dangerous free kick and the centre midfielder picking up a second yellow and being sent off, two things we really didn't need. In all honesty I don't know why Noble even attempted that tackle on a yellow card, sometimes yes you may get away with it, but the way he immediately looked to the ref after the tackle, made me feel he knew exactly what was coming and I personally didn't think he got the ball, so couldn't complain. This free kick was then superbly struck by that man Leighton Baines again, but this time in off the inside of the right post, Jussi had no chance at all. Then with 10 men and an Everton side who had clearly seen their opportunity threw everything forward and eventually that man Lukaku headed home to seal the 3 points for them.

It was very hard to take, especially given the first half performance, but it seemed the half time changed left us with no answer and then saw us just struggling to hold on, but at the same time, had neither Collins or Noble lunged in, then maybe, just maybe, we could be celebrating 3 points tonight. But I do also question why we brought Taylor on, when we were clearly ball chasing for much of the second half, Petric chased everything down which was great, that's why I thought we may have stuck an extra defender on and defended like our lives depended on it and try to hold them to long shots (not the dead ball situation type though). All in all though, I really hope our players learned something here, don't lunge in on the edge of your area unless you are definitely going to make the tackle.

It was painful but there were definitely positives to take from this game, Winston Reid as seems to be the case in all matches recently is as solid at the back as ever, Petric despite not being fully fit will not give up on anything, Rat looks very comfortable in the Premier League and could build quite a partnership with Jarvis and Morrison looks more and more comfortable on that pitch each game, him and Noble compliment each other well, taking it in turns with who goes forward and seeming to be good outlets to create a goal. It's just a shame that the latter managed to go from hero to zero in a very quick space of time with a clumsy challenge, but that is football and the players need to learn from this, dust themselves down and remember that they could have won and make sure the next time that this doesn't happen.

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