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Stay Close - Everton Away Report


blandy
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A later, more rushed, report than normal, from the game at Everton today, due to a pleasant post match spell in the pub.

For us North-West based Villans a trip to Everton is always one to savour. Handy, fine City, good beer, often a good game and, er, rain.

Today was no different, though the short trip was made all the better for meeting up with old fiend Risso, over from his rocky outcrop in the Irish sea, and particularly because of a meet up with all round top man Tsvet from Bulgaria, plus Yordi a UK based Bulgarian Villa fan and a couple of others over for the weekend, one an Evertonian. Multinational game this premiership football. It was an absolute pleasure, fellas. Thanks.

Following the pre match preparations in a notable City centre boozer we took a cab to the ground, and got out into the pouring rain. Memories of Chris Sutton's winner last year, and Merse's spectacular a few years before, also in the rain, sprang to mind.

As the game kicked off there was a tremendous atmosphere in the ground, both sets of fans bellowing out their songs. Everton for the first 10 minutes were pushing and probing more assertively, but gradually Villa got complete control of the half. Plenty of possession, the Everton crowd quietened, the only thing lacking was much in the way of goalmouth action, or shots.

And then Ashley Young hit a belting free-kick over the wall past the keeper and onto the post....and back out. A brilliant effort and a goal would have been well deserved for Villa.

So at half time both managers would have been pleased and disappointed - MO'N because Villa had controlled the game, but not scored, and Everton because they had held on, but not played so well.

The second half saw things change - Everton were much more involved, pressing and closing and tackling, and their passing improved too. Villa put under pressure coped well, but with less possession, things weren't so assured.

I guess after about an hour or so, Everton scored. A good hit from the right, by Neville, was covered by Scott in goal, but it hit Martin Laursen on the side and the deflection, though not massive, took it into the net.

For a good while, that looked like it would be the only goal, the forwards weren't really on top for either side, but then joy for the Villans with maybe 10 minutes left, when a corner on the far side, taken by GB, reached Gabby who just knocked it nicely into the net on the bounce. The goal had followed on from some close shaves here we could have scored from freekicks and corners - Laursen, Carew and Zat, I think (though the view from the third row of the lower tier was not good) having half chances.

It was now end to end, subs Patrick Berger and Marlon on for Zat and Freddie Bouma (both tactical as we tried to get something from the game) were trying to create and finish in a very attacking, formation.

But then Everton scored again, a cross from their right, curled in from fairly deep saw Yobo volley in from a yard or two, after getting the wrong side of Nigel Reo Coker, nominally marking him, but actually from my awful view playing him onside and being in the wrong place. Still, makeshift measures carry that risk, as you go for it.

So with maybe 5 minutes to go we were behind again. It didn't seem fair on the balance of play, and Villa were having none of it. Nice play involving Stan and GB led to GB just passing a lovely little cross for Big John to nod in from 6 yards. Bedlam once again in the sold out away section.

Both teams tried to score again, but time was up. A draw fair result for both sides I felt. Good game, good atmosphere for much of it. Proper competitive meaningful football between 2 teams of different styles, but both with spirit by the bucket load.

Villa, to me, looked more classy on the day, and more confident, but Everton were determined and played well themselves for spells. Neither side is quite top 4 material at the moment, but both clubs and both teams could and perhaps should be, given time, patience and money.

some quick marks

Scott 7 - did well on a slippery surface, unlucky with both goals - nothing he could do

Olly - 7 - 2 games left, now for our bearded wonder. We'll miss him.

Freddie - 6. Sound.

Martin Laursen - 8. Magnificent

Zat - 7 - very assured.

NRC - 6 - hard working and mobile, passed well, too.

GB - 7 - made 2 goals, but played at time too far forwards in the second half, I felt, and we lost a bit of midfield control as a result. (That's probably rubbish, mind as it was impossible to se the patterns of play from so low down).

Stan - 7 - good passing and composed.

Ashley Young - 7 - a real threat again, in the free role. Very unlucky not to score.

Big John - 7 again. Not quite unplayabale today, but pretty good all the same.

Gabby 6 - scored, but maybe also not at his best.

Everton's defenders impressed me, too - Lescott and Jagielka were both excellent.

The ref was average, I felt.

That's all. 2 to go, and we're still close.

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Bah. Me and my rushed efforts. Just seen MoTD, and it was Gabby not Zat, that I thought had the chance, and Paddy Berger, not Stan who was involved in our 2nd equaliser.

Risso's still a fiend mind...a fiend at catching taxis, unlike, of course, Bickster, who despite driving the damned things for a job, seems singularly unable to cop hold of one :).

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Did Bickster take you back to the Freshfield after the game?

Look forward to seeing some of you again next season - wish I had known earlier about Dr Duncans - I had already arranged to meet guys from Wrexham and Preston.

cheers

VCTM

Nah we went back to Doctor D's in town to have a drink with the Bulgarians, though I did pop in the Freshy on my way home to watch a bit of the Madrid / Bilbao match

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North Wales Villa

You get around m8 but you never mentioned the splendid hostelry you met us in ????

Less of the text speak Jamie (?)

Nowt wrong with the Glebe - at least you could get served - and then throw it over someone !!!

Went to the Spellow after and met some of the Evertonians from work.

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