The story goes that there is no shame in going out of a competition on penalties. Even to a team who hadn’t won a single game in the competition since 2011, and there is some truth in that. Although being shot in the foot by one of your own during said tie certainly sours the taste a little.
Let’s get this out of the way first. The only negative was the impudent sending off of Aiden ‘all the talent in the World’ McGeady.
Now I have been one of the most fervent defenders of what McGeady offers on the pitch over say Mirallas, and that is his willingness to track back and help his fullback.
— COYB (@COYB) January 12, 2015
And even last night he started very bright with defensive awareness and attacking flair.
McGeady looking threatening
— COYB (@COYB) January 13, 2015
Then he went and got sent off. Everton were trailing 1-0 at that point and the game looked to be all but over. This despite the Blues playing their part in what was a very entertaining and open game.
In truth though the sending off did change the game. It galvanised the Blues and almost from that point (well it was a bit later when Mirallas and Ovideo replaced Besic and the poor Barkley) the Blues were the dominant force in the game.
West Ham had chances in the game, of course they did they had an extra man, but any time they came forward they were met with either excellent defending (Jags was superb) or World class goalkeeping.
Mirallas was the main protagonist in the attacking fervour that the Blues displayed during a scintillating second half and both halves of extra time. First scoring from a wonderful free kick to cancel out Enner Valencia’s earlier strike and forcing extra time. Then ducking and weaving through the West Ham defence inside the box to square for Romelu Lukaku to mis-hit home.
In all fairness Big Rom should have scored earlier when it seemed easier to miss. He missed the ball completely but managed to make up for that minutes later.
The Blues led 2-1 heading towards 120 minutes and looked good value for their lead, the Carlton Cole came on.
Nailed on isn't it? Cole will score the equaliser
— Ivorian Prince (@Deulofeu19) January 13, 2015
Score the equaliser he did. Just 100 seconds after coming on, and with his first touch. 2-2. Penalties.
The way the game had gone with Joel Robles awesome and Adrian not so much you just knew how the shootout was going to go.
From the first nine penalties eight had been scored. Adrian had saved from a weak Naismith effort. Up stepped Downing to score the winner. No, a save from Robles sent us in to sudden death. Eighteen penalties had passed and all of our players had taken theirs apart from Robles (because someone was missing!). The goalkeeper stepped up and looked nervous but smashed the ball as hard as he could. It almost broke the bar. Miss.
If there was an air of inevitability before the shootout it was written in stone when Adrian waved away the last West Ham outfield player to take the penalty himself.
He took his gloves off and put the ball to the side of Robles’s goal that he hadn’t dived to through the whole shootout. West Ham won the game.
Everton Were The Real Winners
I woke this morning feeling weird. Yes we had gone out of the cup but the passion shown by 99% of the team last night, paired with some great football left me feeling positive about the whole situation. Yes we are now without a win in 12, but more importantly we are unbeaten in 3.
Next we host West Brom under the lights at Goodison before heading to Palace. Win the next two games, and we have it in us now, convincingly and the wheels are well and truly back on the Martinez road show.
And maybe, just maybe, we can shut up our noisy neighbours in what is likely to be a fervent, foaming at the mouth Goodison under the lights on a Saturday evening.
Come On You Blues!