What the hell was that?
Bournemouth 3 Everton 3
Two goals up at half time and seemingly cruising to a comfortable momentum pushing victory over Bournemouth, Everton contrived to snatch one point from three in a second half you will have to check the record books for in the search for the highest level of complacency shown in a Premier League match.
Boy did we get the deck chairs out. We sat so far back in the second half it looked like the lads were making an early dart back home. This was EvertonThat as you’ve never seen it before.
Despite this it was still 2-0 to the blues on 80 minutes. Not many teams concede 3 goals in the last 10 minutes, or should I say 18 minutes, and even less concede them to a team like Bournemouth.
With all due respect to the Cherries, this feels like an FAcup 3rd round defeat. We got what we deserved for playing a 45 minute game and believing the job was done at 4 o’clock instead of 5.
I want to remain positive about our chances this season, all the pieces of a trophy ending jigsaw are there, however, Roberto Martinez needs to know what pieces to use and when. Boasting a strong-looking bench, Martinez seeing that the players had stayed in bed for the second half, did little to change it. Our first sub was on 68 minutes, Cleverley on for McCarthy, but this was enforced and not tactical.
I’ve been a big fan of Kone lately but I felt he should have come off for Mirallas a lot earlier. A player like Mirallas could have brought us more control in the match and occupied the Bournemouth defence more, but it didn’t materialise, and predictably, the Belgian remained an unused sub. Who knows what on earth has happened between him and Martinez?
The boys have to bounce back from this and really start to go for the throat more ruthlessly. Never relent in the search for goals. We finally have the players to do this, but a mixture of off field caution and on field complacency combined for a horrible second half.
Everton were Jekyl and Hyde in its most extreme guise.
The game started with the hosts looking strong. Disliked ex blue Gosling firing wide and Matt Richie testing Howard from distance. The blues started to grow into the game and Kone was denied by Federici, quickly followed by Lukaku, again being denied by an excellent save from the goalkeeper.
The blues now starting to dominate saw McCarthy test Federici before taking a deserved lead through Funes Mori withhis first goal for the club. And from a corner!
Rising above everyone to smash home a header from a terrific ball to put the visitors in front. Yes, your reading it right, we scored direct from a corner. The rarest of occurrences.
Mori’s threat from set pieces will grow. He’s got Lescott esq presence in the box. We may be seeing the Argentine score many more goals like this.
The blues, now firmly in control, doubled the advantage ten minutes later, as Deulofeu with a stereotypical pass, but nonetheless stunning assist to Lukaku, who held off the defender before firing in right footed at the near post for his 10th league goal of the season.
Lukaku is ruthless and his partnership with Deulofeu, who assisted the Belgian for the fifth time this season, is an area of huge optimism for the season.
Bournemouth almost got right back into the game immediately. Following a corner, Tim Howard showing exactly why we are a ‘Both Teams to Score’ pundits dream, looking hopelessly lost from Matt Richie’s corner. Like a boy without his mum in the supermarket. Howard came for a ball he had no hope of getting, but thankfully John Stones was on hand to hook the ball off the line before Steve Cooks header found its way in.
The blues looked to put the game to bed by half time and I wished to god we had, given what was to come, but Deulofeu’s intended pass for Kone who was well placed was intercepted.
Half time arrived with a feeling of ease, we were in complete control. Just what the hell happened next?
The second half started predictability with Bournemouth on the front foot. Howard reacted well (there’s a first time for everything) to mop up after some casual play from John Stones as Bournemouth looked for a way back in to the game.
My moaning about the second half wouldn’t have materialised had we increased our lead when presented with the opportunity in the 49th minute. James McCarthy in acres of space n the box chose the harder ball, trying to pick out Lukaku instead of shooting himself. It was a crazy decision from the Republic of Ireland international, showing his lack of confidence in front of goal. An area still on the to-do list for McCarthy.
How great it would have been to finish the game off, but that’s not Everton, much rather have fans living off their nerves than give them the easy life. I think it’s part of the deal supporting Everton to be honest.
Bournemouth, again on the attack, saw Gosling head straight at Howard with a Leon Osman esq powder puff effort. Charlie Daniels also saw his low drive dealt with effectively by Howard as the blues began to freeze in time.
Despite the growing unease at how the game was going we could have got the cigars out on 60 minutes. Deulofeu finding Coleman down the right, he put a great ball in that just evaded the onrushing Lukaku at full stretch.
This is where I thought Martinez needed to be proactive and take more control of the game. With Bournemouth attacking us with far too much ease, we were asking for trouble and Martinez simply didn’t react.
Cleverley came on for McCarthy but that was enforced due to an injury, and it didn’t stem the flow of attacks against us. Not Cleverley’s fault, who hasn’t kicked a ball in months, but I felt Kevin Mirallas should have come on for the visibly tiring and ineffective Kone after an hour. It didn’t happen.
Bournemouth now in control saw Richie surprisingly shoot straight at Howard when well placed in the centre of the 18 yard box, the talented Scot ought to have buried that to be honest. Glenn Murray came on for the injured Harry Arter with just under fifteen minutes left, as Bournemouth threw caution to the wind.
The ridiculous level of control Bournemouth had was rewarded in spectacular fashion on 80 minutes. Adam Smith, on as sub, smashed a terrific 25 yard shot into the top corner giving Howard no chance.
It was a great goal but it was a goal we’d sat back and asked for. Even at this point we didn’t look to effect the game tactically with Bournemouth firmly with the bit between their teeth.
Hearts were in mouths soon after when Galloway and Smith collided in the box. Thankfully referee Kevin Friend waved away the penalty appeals from the home side. Lukaku then had a similar appeal waved away after being sent sprawling by Distin. No penalty the verdict once again.
But our worst fears were confirmed moments later as Junior Stanislas, who I didn’t know was still a footballer until this season, turned home a cross from the right to restore parity for the home side.
Absolutely vomit inducing from Everton. Yes we laugh at ‘doing an Everton’ but it’s truly starting to grate now. In a nutshell, it shows why we’ve gone so long without winning anything. We simply, on too many occasions, lack the mental toughness to see games out. We lose our bottle. So disheartening Everton.
The game was now reading like the script of the Alamo. And almost complete disaster was nearly upon us. Bournemouth were unrelenting and Charlie Daniels missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put the hosts ahead. Heading over from three yards following a knockdown from Glenn Murray in the six yard box.
Only Everton could have you so at ease with life and then completely at your wits end in the space of 45 minutes. Insane.
Then absolute chaos ensued. Everton remembered to attack and got instant reward in the 95th minute with Barkley seemingly sealing all three points, and sending the travelling fans into classic limbs mode. Squeezing the ball home in a crowded penalty box under sub keeper Allsop. Unbelievable. This is our season I simply thought.
But only Everton could score a 95th minute winner and draw the game. The fans have received some criticism for invading the pitch and it’s pathetic to call them small-time for running on to celebrate a 95th minute ‘winner.’
It’s irrelevant who it was against, the emotion that drives you when you see a last-minute goal go in like that takes over and it was great to see such passion.
The celebrations were totally justified for me, and we should have been good enough to see the game out, but we were not. This can’t be blamed on the fans.
Maybe Roberto Martinez added more time on by making arguably the latest sub in Premier League history. Bringing Gibson on for Kone in the 96th minute, and giving the ref license to add more time on. But with the players heads gone, we committed the cardinal sin of conceding straight after we’d scored.
Junior Stanislas heading home from the right to seal the most Everton result in the history of Everton results. Unfathomable how we conceded three goals to Bournemouth in the last 18 minutes of play. Even more head scratching was how different we were in the second half compared to the first.
The poorest of second halves undermining the professional display of the first. Of course there are reasons to be optimistic, goal scoring isn’t a problem for us and we have a talented group of players. But we must be more ruthless if we are to get anywhere.
No more sitting back, because that’s not playing to our strengths, we are at our best when attacking, and for me that instinct was curbed in the second half as we wilted under the pressure we’d invited on ourselves.
I’m still optimistic this season has something special in store for us, but we must change our mindset and I think Martinez could do with utilising the squad better. He lacked the in-game management that was the hallmark of his first season. He wasn’t proactive enough, doing next to nothing to stop the slow-moving train crash that was our second half. Much better needed from the sidelines and the players, let’s hope it starts on Tuesday.
Now for a massive game at Middlesbrough who are a strong side this season. I fancy us to win there as the scent of Wembley is just starting to waft the nostrils. A win on Tuesday would really open up the possibility of ending this ludicrous 21 year wait for a trophy.
We just need to go there and attack the way we can, defend properly of course, but going for the throat is a must and if we get in front then we must look to build and not sit back on the advantage. As shown on Saturday,we’re just not suited to it.
Let’s hope, come Tuesday night, we are in the draw for the semi final. We have to go all out for this trophy this season, ending our League Cup and trophy-less misery in one fell swoop.
“This needs to give us a stronger desire to win football games. You couldn’t see them getting back in the game.” Roberto Martinez
Lessons must be learned and mentality must change, we have the players to do it, the pieces are all there, we just need to put them together. By Tuesday at the latest Roberto.