Sunday, 22 May 2011

Everton - Goodison Park

6th December 2009

Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool and back in a day is probably as far as I would wish to drive to see a football match, certainly given my advancing years.  This one was an early Xmas present for Son, whose obsession with all things English Premiership-wise had grown steadily over the years.  By the time we applied for tickets, the only ones available were in the Lower Bullions Road stand. 

Entering the ground to take up our seats we discovered why.  It was like dropping back in time thirty years.  The seats were uncomfortable blue painted wooden jobs, with ornate cast iron frames not unlike those you may find around a bandstand in a public park.  And tucked under the upper tiers the view was like watching the match through a rather large letter-box.  Son, perhaps thinking all Premiership grounds were as pristeen as Old Trafford looked rather shocked, but I loved it.

Son masquerading as Everton fan, wearing his Bathgate Thistle scarf.

Welcome to the 1970s

You do not get chunky bits of character like this at Old Trafford.

The match itself was a bit of a slow-burner, but once things got going it was superb entertainment. The first-half was goalless, although never anything less than fascinating viewing.  Within two minutes of the restart, Spurs had taken the lead though Jermain DEFOE, and within the hour had doubled their lead courtesy of Michael DAWSON’s diving header.  It was hard to see any way back for Everton at this point, but the man who turned the game was 21 year-old Seamus Coleman, making only his second league appearance for Everton.  

The Spurs’ defence did not seem to have any answer to Coleman’s frequent forays down the Everton right, and from one of these Louis Saha pulled a goal back with just 12 minutes remaining.  Tension in the ground rose, and a few minutes later Saha almost equalised with an overhead kick, before Tim CAHILL headed in a leveller just four minutes from time.  And Goodison went potty.

And there was still time for another couple of twists, when Spurs were awarded an injury time penalty after a clumsy challenge by Tony Hibbert, which Defoe chose to bash straight at Everton ‘keeper Tim Howard.  Rarely, as a neutral, have I been so disappointed to hear a full-time whistle.  Son and I came away from Goodison with that all over glow you get from knowing you had witnessed something just a bit special.

A little souvenir from Merseyside arrived a few weeks after this trip in the form of a parking fine, which had been doubled to £70 as I had, apparently, ignored the initial ticket which had been placed on the windscreen.  I can only assume I was the victim of some disgruntled scouser, who thought removing the initial ticket to be a real witty jape.

Panorama of Everton's Goodison Park, Liverpool.

Everton 1-1 Chelsea - FA Cup 29/01/11

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