Such was the level of anger and frustration I felt at the capitulation in Kiev, my first reaction to Everton’s trip to QPR was to hell with it.
Of course this feeling changed as the game approached. You can’t switch off from supporting Everton, no matter how badly they hurt you…..
QPR 1 Everton 2: Lennon Strikes As Blues Take Significant Step To Safety
Three vital points later and the threat of relegation diminished, albeit with a little work to do, some form of Paracetamol has at least been administered to quell the huge migraine developed on Thursday night.
Cup exits always cut that little bit deeper as you get older, especially given our barren spell that has become a lasting legacy of the Kenwright era – had to get that one in – but I’ve no doubt relegation would have felt 100 times worse.
The bottom three are now nine points adrift and I just can’t see any of Burnley, QPR Or Leicester putting a run together. Burnley also have to visit Goodison park on April 18th.
Let’s enjoy this, even though the malaise which has officially swept through our side since day one of this testing season continued with a less than convincing blues display. We’ve shown enough quality in two attacks to send QPR into full on panic mode in regards to their own relegation status.
The time for inquests is the summer, the situation demanded before Sunday was that we needed to pick up points quickly and we have done that. Sitting here a few hours after the game, I’m really happy that the blues ground out a win, bouncing back from a heart-breaking, disastrous night in Kiev, to ease the pain of our own domestic campaign.
This was all about the three points. I just wish we wouldn’t make every single opponent we face look like Barcelona.
QPR were determined, naturally given their predicament, but nowhere near as good as we made them look with some sloppy play reprising its role in our Premier League campaign.
The blues started nervously with QPR, no surprise given our struggles in the league, sensing they could take advantage. The blues were thankful to John Stones, such a sight for sore eyes to see this lad back at centre back, thwarting Bobby Zamora from pulling the trigger twice in the opening 15 minutes. Everton briefly threatened with Leon Osman’s near post flick clearing Robert Green’s bar.
QPR went close through Joey Barton’s free kick, Howard saving with Onuoha unable to get sufficient purchase on the set piece which surely would have put the hosts inin the hands moments was soon followed by unbridled joy as the blues took the lead on their next attack.
Osman laid the ball off for Coleman arriving late on the right hand side, the Irish man showed his confidence and quality with an unerring first time finish in off the post and past the despairing green. A terrific hit and one for the cameras all day long as the blues grabbed the all important first goal. Deserved, no, needed yes.
No DVD needed here, the blues if nothing else showed great character, which hasn’t always been the case this season. Everton looked to double their lead but Lukaku was denied by a great slide challenge from Caulker before Osman drew a comfortable save from Green moments later.
Joey Barton then blocked Gibson’s close range drive as the blues started to find some rhythm.
The second goal would not come and the blues owed a huge thanks to luck and Bobby Zamora’s ineptitude as the big striker somehow headed wide from close range following Austin’s cross. Woeful from the big striker but nice to see after the blues had made him luck like Messi, Suarez and Neymar rolled into one in the opening exchanges.
Half time arrived with the blues taking a crucial advantage into the break with the hope that we might see a more assertive display in the second half. Well it’s the hope that kills you as they say.
What we got was an even more determined Rangers as Hoillet rattled the bar from 20 yards. We simply don’t do easy victories. The blues countered and Osman was denied by a great tackle from Isla.
That all too familiar sinking feeling arrived in the 65th minute and Everton’s penchant for helping strikers with a goal drought problem resurfaced yet again. Vargas joining the likes of Soldado, Falcao and Sone Aluko on the eternally grateful list. Vargas Smashing home in off the bar after the blues had failed to clear Matty Phillips corner.
Why do I feel I’ve written this before?
Too add to the feel good factor Lukaku went off injured with what looked for all the world like a hamstring injury.
We don’t do things by halves, I’ll give us that.
Let’s hope Rom leaving the field was a precautionary measure and nothing else as our scandalous lack of activity in January is now starting to truly show as the injuries pile up.
Back to being happy – and for me this is where the real positive came. Along with the vital three points we took from the game. Make no mistake QPR we’re fancying this and Everton were happy to see Zamora fire over as the hosts sensed blood.
But the blues did not fold, we found a way to win, we showed character, dug deep and somehow ground out a much-needed win thanks to Aaron Lennon’s winner thirteen minutes from time.
Lennon once again proved a real asset for us. I would love to see this guy sign in the summer. The diminutive winger capitalized on QPR’s failure to clear Coleman’s low cross before finishing clinically to give the blues a crucial advantage.
Of course it wouldn’t be Everton without clinching victory following some heart stopping moments. Following the hasty departure of another striker, this time Kone going off with a knee injury, Tarrabt hit the bar and placed another shot just wide as QPR piled on the pressure.
Jags and Stones were magnificent in the face of it all, especially the captain who must have made two or three vital challenges as blues fans reached for the Immodium.
Full time arrived with mass relief all around. Nothing like the Everton of last season but this was significant, still more questions than answers but barring a remarkable collapse we will be in the Premier League next season.
Lessons have to be learned so this horrible of seasons is not repeated. I’m not turning this into a board rant, I do enough of that on twitter, but for me now more than ever, we need a lot of changes in the club and I’m afraid we won’t ever get to where we want to be with this board
They have got to start thinking about Everton FC. Tell us the direction our club is going. Deathly silences in extreme moments of concern this season is not the answer.
The squad needs a massive swill of water to the face in the summer with the deadwood moved on and players brought in who we can build our promising youth spine of Stones, Barkley and Lukaku around.
The board simply can’t go on doing nothing forever. They’ve done it for 15 years, and as a fan base we need to be demanding more from the people who run our club.
Roberto has also got me so confused. I’ve wanted him out but a wish deep down to see the guy return to his magic of last season is still there.
What will be will be I guess. Let’s hope we can now end the season as strongly as possible and begin to erase the memory of this season as early as possible. Signing Aaron Lennon and convincing an MLS side that Tim Howard’s still got something to offer, would be my first move.
I didn’t want this to be a rant, I’ve done enough of that lately. I’m in a state of confusion to be honest about what’s happening to our club. Is Roberto a genius playing the long game or has he lost the plot? I have no idea. What I do know is that we needed all three points yesterday and we got them.
It was a crucial victory as we move into an international break where hopefully the players and the managers can have some time to regroup and plan to end this season winning as many of the 24 points now on offer. A positive end could give us the spark for better things next season.
It’s weird this feeling; still in a state of shock from Kiev and massive relief over yesterday. They are not the best emotions to be mixing together. As stated in previous write-ups, supporting Everton is anything but easy.
“The desire and application gives me more satisfaction than any other victory, now we have to make sure this performance is an incredible platform for the rest of the season, we need to climb the table as high as we can.” Roberto Martinez.
It does feel like damage limitation time at Everton, let’s hope were smiling and taping Match of the Day for the remainder of the season.
Frankly, it’s the very least we deserve.