Date: 12 November 2022
So we beat Everton 7-1 on aggregate in a single week. Surely O’Neil has now done enough to land the permanent role of head coach?
The first choice team (containing no surprises) lined up in an old-fashioned ‘flat’ 4-4-2 and, in contrast to recent games, stuck rigidly to it. Very, very late in the game, Billing was replaced by Pearson – leaving Solanke alone up front and Lerma dropping into defence – but the game was won by then. All previous substitutions (Christie taking over from Tavernier, Anthony from Billing, and Billing from Moore) had preserved the 4-4-2 system.
Our first goal came when a Solanke shot was palmed away by Pickford only to fall kindly for Tavernier on Bournemouth’s right. 1-0. Later in the first half several players including Tavernier had a shot – and Tavernier would go down as ‘assist’ – but Moore scored somewhat controversially with an Everton player being on the floor at the time. 2-0, half time.
The third goal came when Jaidon Anthony had only just come onto the pitch but he ‘won’ a free kick in that he was fouled by an Everton player. Cook took the free kick but by now Anthony had taken up a central position unmarked, and headed the ball home for 3-0. This resulted in an immediate reaction from Everton fans who now left the stadium in droves. (Even though many were presumably on supporters’ coaches so they wouldn’t get very far!)
We briefly thought we’d scored a fourth when Solanke ‘s shot hit the back of the net; but he was clearly offside. Anyway, there's no need to be greedy!
There were ugly scenes in the away end at the final whistle; with referee, linesmen, police, stewards, Everton players and Lampard all involved and at least one shirt being thrown onto the pitch in protest. I just hope it’s their manager and not ours who loses his job after this game. This was just the result we needed going into the lengthy international break.
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:
Smith, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura;
Tavernier, Cook, Lerma, Billing;