Everton 2 West Ham 1 @Markthablue’s View

Goodison win moves Everton within two points of coveted Champions League place.

Everton 2 West Ham 1 @Markthablue's View

Everton 2 West Ham 1 @Markthablue’s View: Blues win as quiet progress becomes louder

First and foremost, this was a great result. Before the game I wasn’t confident with the amount of injuries we were dealing with that three points against a vastly improved West Ham side was possible.

The fact we now sit just two points off the Champions League places without even starting the car suggests something huge may happen this season – if we can click into gear performance wise.

We’re all searching for the performances and yesterday we were again lacking in convincing individual showings but we had enough about us to see off an ugly West Ham side who put us under pressure for large parts of the game. So much for the change in philosophy from Allardyce, this was his renowned hoofball tactics in all its glory.

Leon Osman, quite often a source of extreme fickleness on my part, was excellent here on his 400th appearance for the blues. A great achievement when all is said and done. Osman rounded his performance off with the all important winner on 73 minutes to send us to the edge of the those coveted Champions League places.

Leon Osman rounded his performance off with the all important winner on 73 minutes.

The injuries to key players at truly inconvenient times this season makes it all the more remarkable we are as close to the top four as we are. It lends itself to the notion that when we finally get everyone fit and playing to a higher standard, great things can happen this season. The search for a convincing performance goes on but the hunt for points is coming readily to hand.

I have slowly come to realise it’s simply all about the results right now. With the squad slowly returning to full strength we are grinding out results just when we need them. The quiet optimism is growing and if our key players fancy playing how it says on the tin, then the possibilities for this side our endless.

The game started with West Ham settling quicker and the blues had to wait until the 14th minute for our first shot on target. Lukaku hitting the target but the save could not have been easier for Adrian who was right behind it.

Everton started to take control with Osman at the heart of all things good attacking wise for the blues. Some delightful play saw Coleman released down the right, his cut back found Naismith in space and with the park end stand ready for the net to burst, the Scot had them running for cover instead as he blazed over when Coleman’s pass had begged to be buried.

More Everton pressure again with Osman again the spearhead saw Naismith rampaging into the box. Only to see his low drive from a narrow angle deflected away across the six yard box by the onrushing Adrian with no-one on hand to knock it in.

Everton were gathering momentum and the last thing that momentum needed was Tony Hibbert taking the crowds advice and shooting from 30 yards. The shot threatened the casual fisherman in Stanley Park more than Park End goal.

I’m not sure what was more depressing – Hibbert’s effort or the majority of the crowds enthusiastic reaction to the shot. I realise I sound miserable when I say this but I truly detest the Hibbert ‘shoot’ shout. It’s like we will entertain mediocrity just for the sake of a laugh.

Mini rant over.

The blues got their reward our improved play deserved taking the lead through Romelu Lukaku in the 26th Minute. Ross Barkley, who did not have the best of days, found himself in space before firing in a shot. After taking two deflections off Reid and Collins the ball gleefully dropped to Lukaku 6 yards out. The linesman seeing fit not to give the Belgian offside despite looking suspiciously so. Lukaku finished clinically past Adrian to put the blues ahead.

Lukaku finished clinically past Adrian to put the blues ahead.

West Ham responded as Everton continuing their irritating habit of sitting on a one goal lead as opposed to pushing on for a second. A tactic that rarely works for us yet has been more ever-present this season than my moans about Hibbert and Osman.

It wouldn’t be Everton if we didn’t have a defensive error at least once every game and this time Distin duly obliged. Selling McCarthy short to feed Amalfitano who thankfully shot wide when well placed.

The Hammers went close through Carroll sliced over. Admittedly not helped by Jenkinson’s cross being behind him.

At the other end Everton continued to press and Lukaku had the ball in the West Ham net once more only for the linesman’s flag to deny Evertonians the all to rare emotion of feeling comfortable within a game by correctly ruling the goal offside.

Half time arrived with a deserved lead and ensured the half time pint and sausage roll went down smoothly if a bit expensively with Evertonains hoping for a classic Gwladys Street performance in the second half.

The second half saw West Ham take control of the game and sub Zarate, on the pitch for less than five minutes, played a one-two with Amalfitano and saw his shot form the edge of the 18 yard box deflect off Jagielka and loop over the advanced Howard to draw the hammers level. In fairness it was deserved.

Now it was Everton’s turn to respond and McCarthy was unlucky to see his long-range curler go narrowly over the bar as the blues looked to regain control. The game was now stretched and Howard was also pressed into action to turn behind Amalfitano’s low drive.

To be honest the game was as ugly as Hibbert’s shot on goal. McCarthy was booked for a risky tackle on Amalfitano although for me there was no way he should have received a red as some of the West Ham players were suggesting.

Everton 2 West Ham 1 @Markthablue's View

James Tomkins should have seen red for a comical attempt to get Mirallas sent off in the second half.

Squaring up over a previous Mirallas challenge, Mirallas pushed Tomkins in the chest to match the West Ham players reaction but Tomkins response was to clutch his face pure – Rivaldo style – and fall to the ground.

He soon got up looking an idiot with Steven Naismith stood there laughing at him. It was frankly all Tomkins deserved for a piece of acting that would have been deemed unacceptable in Eldorado.

Steven Naismith laughs at Tomkins

With Samuel Eto’os presence about to grace the Goodison turf, Lukaku fired wide from an impossible angle following Naismith’s pass as Everton once more tried to settle the game.

Eto’o came on to sprinkle some star-dust with 25 minutes to go and he didn’t disappoint. The whole place got a lift by his presence and his movement, touch and general ice coolness in possession was exactly what the blues needed.

West Ham went closest initially with Jarvis firing into the side netting from close range but any hopes the Hammers had of getting anything from the match were dashed just 3 minutes later.

Following a West Ham Corner, Everton broke at pace, Lukaku drawing a foul and an excellent advantage decision from our previous nemesis Clattenburg saw Eto’o advance into the box before picking out the onrushing Osman to slot gloriously home and give Everton a decisive lead with 15 minutes left.

Everton needed Howard barely a minute later. The American saving with his feet to deny James Collins a certain equalizer and bringing relief to the majority of a yet again sold out Goodison Park. Full credit blues, we truly are the best supporters in the land.

Players and fans celebrate Osman's winner.

The game was played out in relative calmness with West Ham resorting to Allardyce’s type and putting every ball into orbit, in the hope something would drop for them in our box. Thankfully Jagielka and Distin played with assurance and quality. Iif anyone was going to score in the closing moments it would have been us.

Eto’o nearly rounded off an excellent cameo performance and should have scored after some deliciously intricate link up play with Osman. Eto’o missed a great chance from five yards with the goal at his mercy as he side footed wide with the Gwladys Street ready to erupt.

Full time gleefully arrived and a massive win was ours. One day we will win convincingly and I wont have anything to say but we still have issues that need addressing within the squad.

Ross Barkley for one needs to start taking games by the scruff of the neck. I’m his biggest fan but he struggled today and that ridiculous dive with no-one near him in the first half did him no favours at all. He needs to cut that out and focus on hurting opponents with the tools god gave him.

Lukaku maintained his excellent scoring record – 20 goals in 43 starts at the age of 21 is mouth-watering – Rom’s body language could do with working on at times and he needs to put himself about more if that doesn’t sound too Moyes esq but, how people can berate the lad the way they do is beyond me.

To the guy in the upper Gwladys who gave Lukaku unmerciful abuse all game, I hope you will find happiness in the fact that my headache has just cleared. You were an embarrassment my friend.

One thing I truly hope we never see again is Tony Hibbert at left back. This for me simply didn’t work and I don’t think anything Hibbert offered over the course of 90 minutes was beyond what an emerging Garbutt could’ve done.

Eto’o nearly rounded off an excellent cameo performance and should have scored after some deliciously intricate link up play with Osman

Yes, we won the game and of course Roberto is vindicated in this decision but watching it was horrible. Our attacks down the left were completely paralysed as possession from the left was forced infield leading to a breakdown in attacks.

I’ve heard people say Hibbert ‘did a job’ but we should be braver than this under Roberto. He missed a great chance to give Garbutt his debut and the confidence that would have gone hand in hand with it. Lord knows how he must have felt seeing a limited right back take his natural position ahead of him.

Far be it from me to end negatively and one look at our form over the past few months will tell its own story. Even without the performances which will surely pick up when everyone’s back, our recent form is looking ominous. We are sneaking our way up the table stealthily.

Strengthen in January and our chances of ending this painful trophy drought will be enhanced. I realise it is a big ask with the board currently hoping the Lukaku deal will see them exempt from getting the cheque book out for a good five years but we must push on. And if our key players could collectively get off the treatment table and find some form then our prospects become mouth-watering.

Wolfsberg away next up and this represents a huge challenge. A draw would be a great result in terms of the group but we should be looking to win. Building on our upturn in form and momentum has to be the aim.

Our season is starting to take shape and a win in Volkswagen country would give us the confidence to push on. We certainly have the quality to hurt the Germans.

“It’s the most satisfying win we have had this season. It was one of those wins where you get to show the character, personality and winning mentality of the squad.” Roberto Martinez

With a winning mentality finally getting its feet under the table at Goodison, it would be rude to leave it out on the street in Wolfsburg.

Sin Miedo

Mark Ellis

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Mark Ellis

34 year old Evertonian, BU Supporter, blogger, loving Roberto, busy with my beautiful son Kai who has made me & my fiancee Lyndsay's life complete.

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