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If I see a worse referee at Upton Park this season, we’ll be in real trouble. Mr Lee Mason gives his profession a bad name. He had an absolute stinker today. The only thing he got right was our penalty, but that was so blatant he couldn’t really have done anything else. He gave corners when they were goal kicks and vice versa. He gave fouls when they weren’t and didn’t when they were. And he lost us the game. From my vantage point Mark Noble’s tackle on Ross Barklay was a brilliantly timed one. It wasn’t a foul, and it certainly wasn’t a yellow card. Sadly Sun Goals haven’t shown the incident, only the goal, so I will have to wait for MOTD to see if I am right. *UPDATE: OK, having seen MOTD, I admit it, I was wrong!
The first half was scrappy. Everton had a lot of the possession for the first ten minutes but we gradually made our mark and began to slot some passes together. There was no lumping it forward and defensively we were very sound. Everton played a lot of pretty stuff around the penalty area but I don’t remember them really having a shot in the first half. Morrison took his goal well, and even though it got a deflection which wrongfooted Tim Howard, it was well deserved. Ravel Morrison improved with every minute of the game. In the second half he felt confident enough to do some Joe Cole-esque flicks. To accommodate Morrison in his favourite position Mo Diame played out on the right and did really well. I thought Mark Noble had a great game. At times he orchestrated the midfield like a conductor. He won the ball tenaciously and drove forward at every opportunity. It was just a pity that his midfield partner Kevin Nolan contributed very little to the game. His balls forward were invariably hit too hard.
Defensively we were magnificent. The scoreline will never reflect that, but Reid and Collins were outstanding. And I thought Joey O’Brien was brilliant, back in his customary position of right back. The timing of his tackle on an Everton player when he was through on goal was superlative and is probably the incident I shall remember most from this game. Razvan Rat didn’t do badly in his first premier league game, although I thought the pace got to him at times. I felt he hadn’t really got much of an understanding with Matt Jarvis, but did better when Vaz Te switched wings.
And as for Maiga… well, the best that can be said is that he had a shot. Admittedly it flew over the crossbar, but at least he tried. Maybe I just can’t see what he does, but my Everton supporting friend thought he did well in the first half. Well, he would, wouldn’t he? Mladen Petric didn’t set the pitch on fire, but he did play a major part in winning the penalty, so that’s more than Maiga has achieved in five games.
Jussi Jaaskelainen has now conceded three consecutive goals from free kicks outside the area. Simply not good enough. He was man of the match last week, but those statistics will give cause for concern. However, would any goalkeeper have saved any of those free kicks? I’m not sure.
I think we just have the chalk this one down. For most of the game we played well. We played some good football. The sending off changed everything. Onwards.
Afterthought: What did we all think of the new stadium announcer? I thought he did OK initially, but no one could hear the half-times because he wasn’t close enough to the microphone, and he mispronounced Petric’s name, which was pretty poor. He kept saying Petrick.
Vaz Te 6