THE SWEET HELL OF "SUCCESS"
Mickey Blue Eyes
And so this bizarre season goes on. Win at Chelsea, lose at home to Reading, win at Newcastle. You work it out, because like everybody else sure as hell I can't. Looking at Moyesy, he can't either. No Felli and no Cahill meant reduced hope after Our pathetic midweek Cup loss. Where was the midfield inspiration to come from? Our Spanish genius has been C minus for most of the time while Jack the Lad's been injured again and is still not fully match tuned. No midfield meant no supply line to Our stuttering strike force and more pressure on the defence. If We didn't know better We'd weep with frustration through wondering which Everton would turn up. And the game was given added pique because of Vic Anichebe's midweek winning legal action against the Skunk Nolan. Few who saw that criminal assault - I don't use the term loosely - will forget it. I haven't seen a worse attack in decades of watching football, not even the infamous Mackay kicking of Jimmy Husband many years ago. Anyway, this time the right Everton showed. Still there's only one word for this season: Excruciating.
Once again We won playing mostly excellent passing football that dominated but didn't kill. No exaggeration, it could easily have been five or six instead of 2-1. Not that the Skunks had much to offer except the usual brand of midfield school yard bullying. As usual, We wouldn't believe a victory until the final whistle went. On top of that We had to endure five minutes added time with the possibility of a lumped up long ball leading to an equaliser. Please, pass me the Paracetamol.
The opening phase was familiar - majority of possession, good passing, the opposition running in circles (and committing two bad fouls in the first couple of minutes).......but mostly only up to the edge of the enemy penalty area. During this spell our best efforts came from an attack that switched from deep on our right via a Louis run and pass through an empty centre to a Mikky closing from wide left, turning inside, that ended with a fierce shot from left of the D. Their 'keeper saved well. Then Jack tried a right-side long range missile that he couldn't keep down. The result was predictable: Newcastle scored in their first attack after twenty-odd minutes. It came down our right where we had some concerns for most of the match, then it was threaded through two unmarked players before a close shot from the left was parried by Tim onto another unmarked enemy right side of the goal area and he stooped to nod it in. Fucking typical.
We then had our only really uncomfortable few minutes before equalising five or six minutes later. It was almost a copy of Mikky's earlier miss. Like that, it started on Our right of the half way line before Leon raced through a likewise deserted centre and delivered wide left to Mikky. This time he jinked outside, got closer to the goal line, turned inside the left penalty area and rolled it backwards straight into the path of an unmarked Leon by the penalty spot, who hit a soft shot through the legs of a defender. The Skunks were all over the place, useless.
Another five minutes on and We were in front. Another raid down the left got the ball to Mikky with his back to the goal near-left penalty area, and he suckered their Mohawk-haired defender into a foul. Nice to see this, since his form this season usually meant he would lose the ball. But he didn't. Bainsey took the free kick and delivered a beaut. The Skunks deployed their defence too far up and left a fatal space between them and the goal. It was the worst thing they could do against a footy craftsman like Bainsey. His left foot whizzed a perfect parabola over the first men and down across the penalty area to the far side. It was just too far out for the 'keeper to come and too close for the defenders to head it in case it shot into their own goal. It dropped perfectly at the edge of the far goal area where Jack just missed connecting but Jags didn't. 2-1, and well deserved. Only a couple of moments of scatty defending worried Us up to half time, one a close in miss.
A pleasing feature was a refusal to be physically intimidated - really the only thing the Skunks had to offer apart from their wide left man - throughout the game. The real Mikky in particular was finally showing up, full of strong running and taking and giving knocks in a way mostly missing this season. But to be fair it applied to them all. I had expected them to collapse, but they didn't. This was another one of those rays of sunshine that have scattered the clouds every now and then this season.
The second half was mostly one way traffic toward the Skunks goal. Mikky made another brilliant run-and-step-over down the left before laying it straight onto Louis' head but he headed over. In another raid on the right he laid it on for a sharp turn and acute angle shot by Becks that the 'keeper kept out but knew little about. Then he made a cross field run that took him left to right into the penalty area wide right before pulling it across into Louis' path......but it was a midge's fart too far in front of him. However, it was still only a goal lead and fragile, teetering on the edge of an equaliser that appeared to come when the enemy headed one in, disallowed because of a foul you could have seen from Woolton. Then another Mikky-led attack down the left ended up at Louis' feet centre edge of the penalty area and he hooked in an instinctive left foot shot that took a coat of paint off the outside of the post. Still the chances came and went, unconverted. A long ball up the centre to Louis, a head on to Vic on the left, a closing run, a cross to the far side, and Seamus hit it against their 'keeper when he should have scored.
All in all, full revenge for an early season wretched defeat at home to the same opposition. Maybe we will go on a good run in and get higher up the table, maybe we won't. After all, the next match is at home to Birmingham and they're in the bottom three. Sounds like a recipe for something or other. You tell me.