Well, the Evertonian in me truly wants this to be it. The moment we get our season back.
Is this the moment we get our season back? Where we find the finances to add the necessary defensive quality – in the now open transfer market – so desperately needed to allow us to Men In Black our first half of the season?
I truly want Roberto to do well and I can’t support calls for his head so soon after the journey he took us on last season. But I’m not stupid enough to see that something has gone badly wrong this season.
Once again we were painfully not at our best here, and with the recent press release regarding the fitness situation at the club also shedding more light than Times Square on a long-held fan view this season; that the players have just not been fit enough, dark clouds remain over Goodison Park.
Basically it is hard to get excited. Hard not to still feel anxious and nervous about our prospects this season after another display with more questions than answers. However, a display that ended with the rarest of things, a last-minute Gwladys Street equalizer from our man of the match Romelu Lukaku, brought some sort of relief.
It stopped a wretched run of defeats over a depressing Christmas and in a season desperately short on hope such as this – a lot to do with Martinez and his ridiculous stubbornness that shows no sign of abating – you really can’t blame fans for grabbing onto Lukaku’s 91st minute equalizer like some form of lifeline.
We have to remind ourselves that we have just drawn at home to West Ham in the cup, albeit West Ham are vastly improved, it’s indicative of how far we have dropped that we now see the result as a potential springboard for our season. Martinez and most definitely the players have to take responsibility for this.
A crowd of just 22,236 says what the fans think about the current state of affairs with a turnout harking back to the truly dark days of Mike Walker.
It simply has not been good enough Everton, and with the post match interview particularly from our captain giving it the slapped arse look, I think the team is fully aware of this.
Watching Phil Jagielka look like he’s been told to face the corner in school in the post match interview was not comfortable viewimg.
I am trying to be balanced and hopefully things do happen for a reason, but with the knives out for Martinez and his players, Lukaku controlled the ball in the six yard area and fired home to give the Evertonians some badly needed relief and earn a replay at Upton Park.
It’s clear to me now how the answers to some of our problems lay outside of the club. At the very least we urgently need a new goalkeeper and a new centre back to rescue a desperately poor start to the season.
So, Kenwright, now is not the time to pull the blinds down.
Everton 1 West Ham 1: Romelu Lukaku rescued Everton with a late equaliser
Our defence so ravaged by confidence, it is a now a given we will concede in every game, is proving counter productive in helping the side. We simply can’t build on quicksand and it’s a problem that has disabled us all season.
We will not improve without new defensive reinforcements, that much is clear.
Phil Jagielka, in his finest Frank Spencer mode, is not going to calm anyone’s nerves while Robles and Distin are not the solution for us now or in the future.
West Ham played with confidence here, who doesn’t against us, and with Stewart Downing excellent in the middle and orchestrating everything good about the Hammers, the visitors held possession for long periods.
Downing went close with a stinging right footed drive that Robles was alert to, tipping over inbetween an endless bounty of corners for West Ham on a night when Record Breakers would have registered an interest.
Amalfitano and Jarvis also narrowly missed Downing’s left-wing cross as the Hammers looked to push Everton back. What was pleasing despite 1001 massive worries about this Everton side was that we resembled something of the 2013-14 Everton. We were creating chances, despite West Ham dominating possession.
It’s easy to suggest all we need to do is play the ball quicker, and we look so much better when taking one or two touches as opposed to 4 or 5 before playing it sideways or back, there were occasions in the first half, not periods I’ll grant you, that felt as if the old Everton was coming back.
Lukaku, who showed genuine quality and desire, went close with an effort just wide of Adrian’s far post and also saw a powerful run and shot fumbled by the goalkeeper and away for a corner with Mirallas closing in.
Naismith, who again was far too quiet for me, saw a drilled effort comfortably fly wide after good work from Oviedo and Barkley before the blues passed up a great chance shortly after.
Gareth Barry, initially doing well to intercept, pressed forward but typical of his whole demeanor this season, he was lethargic and played a desperately poor pass to Mirallas who was crying out for a ball to hit on the run. The pass meant he had to stop, wait half and hour and then shoot with the Hammers defence closing him out.
Allowing Winston Reid to comfortably deflect the Belgian’s shot harmlessly into the arms of Adrian. Like Rocky after the Drago fight.
Naismith then went close with a drive right across the face of goal when he’d have been better served dragging it back into the six yard box. A period of phoney war like tactics ensued with nothing much happening until, with half time approaching, Mirallas showed his quality with a wicked ball into the box that just evaded the late arriving Coleman.
The half time whistle arrived with the general feeling that, and this is a true reflection of how poor we have been, this was a much better showing from the blues despite the regular unanswered questions persisting. It’s a constant source of frustration and annoyance how unconvincing we remain.
The second half began with the blues looking to impress upon West Ham and five minutes after the restart we almost fashioned a delightful opener with Mirallas seizing upon Naismith’s flick on, to hit a first time lob narrowly over the bar with the Adrian exposed.
It was West Ham’s turn to respond and Jenkinson’s shot after an impressive burst forward was turned away by Robles for West Ham’s 391st corner.
It was one too many for a defence with more fragility than Mr Burns.
James Collins met Amalfitano’s centre with the freedom of Goodison Park thanks to Sylvain Distin taking an unscheduled day off to put the Hammers in front with a powerful header past Robles. And a gloomy Goodison atmosphere had soon turned vitriolic.
Everton 1 West Ham 1: James Collins was allowed the freedom of Goodison to give the Hammers the lead
It’s no fun watching us like this and fans who say the negative ones enjoy it when we concede or lose are talking absolute rubbish. For any Evertonian situations like these hurt plain and simple with no enjoyment to be found anywhere.
Lukaku had a goal disallowed with a great header into the bottom corner but the referee ruled it out for a push from the Belgian onto what looked like an already crouched Cresswell.
The decision was in keeping with another awful display from the official in the middle. We don’t need your own rampant private agenda on top of the worries we have. Anthony Taylor was abysmal and at one point seemed to take pleasure in giving decisions against us.
Eto’o came on for the blues with half an hour remaining but to virtually no effect. I am amazed Roberto didn’t use Kone, who has looked twice the threat of Eto’o in recent weeks.
The play was once again far too narrow as a result of the substitution with yet again three number tens on the pitch.
This has now become truly irritating from Martinez. He must see it doesn’t work? That the frustrating habit of repeating this tactic is not mending the fractured relationship between supporters and manager?
His stubbornness is giving the impression he’s not learning from his own mistakes and some humility is needed from time to time as we look to get our season back on track.
In a separate issue, Gareth Barry has to be on some kind of deal where if he is fit, he plays.
His constant inclusion in the first team is becoming ridiculous given his form and makes a mockery out of Martinez ‘resting’ of Luke Garbutt, 12 years Barry’s junior. When the struggling midfielder has featured in the last 11 games over a hectic period.
The game drifted in what looked a sea of depression towards a seemingly inevitable FA Cup exit. But with anger setting in Everton rallied with Barkley going close with a fierce near post drive tipped over by Adrian. McGeady came on to add some width and the blues continued to press and were rewarded in the 91st minute.
Oviedo, taking advantage of a mix up in the West Ham defence, found space in the six yard box and his cross found Lukaku who controlled instantly before firing into the bottom right hand corner past the despairing Adrian to rescue Everton.
An honoruable mention for Lukaku here who looked every inch a 28m pound player. With great touch, awareness and link up play, he attacked with menace and pace, looking to hurt West Ham at every opportunity.
Great Stuff, keep going Big Rom! This was much more like it and his goal well and truly deserved for his own personal performance.
Unsatisfying relief the overwhelming emotion as the final whistle went to ensure a replay at Upton Park next Tuesday. We’ve had a huge fall from fifth placed grace and it’s now baby steps were taking to get back to those levels.
As said before, I don’t think were achieving anything if we fail to add to the squad in January. A month so often pencilled in for Kenwright and the boards hibernation period.
Everton 1 West Ham 1: Blues captain Phil Jagielka
We need defensive additions and a winger in the Deulofeu mould, or Deulofeu himself, but who knows? I’m not filled with optimism that the board will provide anything this month but there’s a first time for everything.
So onto ..oh yes the champions. Our true character and quality will have to come out in droves at Goodison next Saturday against the über talented Manc’s.
Only then will we be able to gauge just how significant Lukaku’s late equalizer was. For now, there should certainly be no talk of turning corners. It’s frankly an unacceptable feeling that at least we haven’t been beat.
My confidence is clearly not matching Roberto’s but it is something of a start.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. let’s hope we’ve got our walking boots on.