Saturday, September 09, 2006

Such a perfect day!

It doesn't really get much better than this...Saturday morning with a cup of tea in bed, then out to buy the papers and, seeing as it's derby day, enjoy a nice fry-up at The Metro just by Hunts Cross Station before heading to the game.

Early kick-offs are always weird, I think the excitment of being at our first game of the season covered up our nerves but even so Goodison on Derby Day is always special. A few unsavoury chants of Murderers from the Lower Glwadys but apart from that everything seemed to be happy-happy. Most Evertonians I'd spoke to predicted a win, I couldn't bring myself to be optimistic. Too many guttings in the past by that lot.

We started like a bullet from a gun, the first ten minutes saw loads of Everton pressure. Johnson was getting on the end of everything and should have scored but for a superb tackle from Carragher. Then liverpool woke up and toke control of the game for a 20 minute spell. All of a sudden, from nothing the ball squirted out into an oddly deserted liverpool penalty area and three blue shirts were bearing down on the ball. Cahill strokes it into the!?!?! 1-0!
We didn't really impose ourselves after that but neither did they really. Our G-14 opponents have a Champions League game this week so they'd started with Fowler and Crouch up-front. We were giving the big galoot too much respect. Tall he may be but he's not good in the air, once he's got it down to feet he's fairly decent. Fowler looked a spent force...not even a whimper from him. Bellamy wasn't even on the bench. Gerrard looked to be having a bad game, Alonso seemed happy to foul. Sissoko was, for me, their best player. The game huffed and puffed and then all of a sudden Johnson was bearing down on their really was that simple. Goodison went mental. The first goal had been a bit of a shock, this one heralded party-time. No you know my feelings on that Middlesboro song, it also double as Andy Johnson's song too...I had awful visions of the tannoy belting out the Pigbag song in order to help us celebrate. I needn't have worried. It was true, true joy : "Duh d'duh d'duh duh Andy Johnson!" We went into the break 2-0 up......and then the nerves kicked in. I doubt I'd have been nervous at 0-0 but having the victory in the palm of our hands against those sneaky, whily, jammy redshite is pretty precarious.

The second half was nervous too...Poll seemed to be getting more and more eccentric as the game went on including some truly unfathomable descisions againt both sides, Time ticked down...closer and closer. The Gwladys tempted fate by singing "top of the league" and "EASY!"...Benitez was doing a few odd, odd things. At 2-0 down he took off his striker (albeit the ineffectual Fowler) for a defender and Sissoko and Crouch (Their most dangerous players) off too. Moments after they'd made their 3rd substitution we broke and Riise made a cynical foul to stop the process he injured himself and so got stretchered off leaving 10 men. Even so they should have scored, Hibbert blocked a Kuyt cross with what looked like an arm, Gerrard should have was pretty heart-stopping...butthen just before the end a shot was lashed in Reina made a right balls up and Johnson headed it into the net. "Duh d'duh d'duh duh Andy Johnson!" The rednoses who, unusually, had not really bothered supporting their team all afternoon left in droves. Goodison was bouncing. As has been said before on here, there are few happier places than a singing, bouncing Glwadys Street as we all shuffle home. Mine and Anne's first game after our wedding!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's Evertonians looking at the league table to see us top of the league.

We needed beer. Off to Waterloo...Our mate Mary Summers dropped us off at Blundellsands...'loo were 6-10 down at half time. Everyone seemed pretty chipper "Duh d'duh d'duh duh Andy Johnson!". The second half saw a performance from 'loo that rivalled the toffee's in terms of class, guts and skill.....Playing another professional outfit, Cornish Pirates (who'd finished ahead of last week's conquerors Plymouth), we took the game to them and ran outh deserved victors 19-16. My throat, by this point was destroyed. What a truly great, great day.

We headed off to town ("Duh d'duh d'duh duh Andy Johnson!"), had a greek meal, saw The DeLorean from Back To The Future (I shit you not) then headed home ("Duh d'duh d'duh duh Andy Johnson!" plus one bluenose who was convinced me & Anne should go home and concieve a child called Andy) for MotD and LNotP (Last night of the Proms).

It doesn't get any better.

In the interests of balance I'll post the match minute by minute breakdown from the Official Liverpool Website (note the snidey Everton's 'Champions League Final' dig ) :

11:27 GMT : Penalties being taken
11:48 GMT : Match Starts
1 min : Liverpool kick-off in Everton's 'Champions League Final' attacking the Park End
1 min : Fowler has an early pop at goal with a low shot from 20-yards out that Howard stops with a diving save to his left
4 mins : Carsley gets behind the Liverpool defence and plays a dangerous ball across the face of goal but Reina is quick off his line to gather
7 mins : Carragher almost gets caught out by Johnson but recovers magnificently to make a fine block tackle
8 mins : Neville tries his luck with an effort from the edge of the box but his shot fails to find its way through a crowded penalty box
14 mins : Crouch gets on the end of a Gerrard corner from the right but directs the ball just past the post
15 mins : Garcia forces Howard into a low diving save at his near post with a well-struck left-footed drive
18 mins : Naysmith almost heads into his own net following a Garcia centre from the left
23 mins : Aurelio drags a disappointing long-range effort way wide of the Everton gaol
24 mins : GOAL! Tim Cahill: finds himself unmarked in the Reds penalty area and converts with a close-range finish
29 mins : From a wide position on the left Gerrard drills a powerful shot into the side-netting
31 mins : Garcia's curling effort his expertly saved by the fingertips of Howard and Gerrard narrowly slides the rebound behind
33 mins : Gerrard goes close again with a neat side-footed effort from the edge of the box that flies just past the upright
34 mins : Booking: Joseph Yobo: for a foul on Gerrard
35 mins : Aurelio curls a free-kick over the Everton wall but narrowly wide of the goal
36 mins : GOAL! Andy Johnson: fires coolly past Reina after getting beyond Hyypia and Carragher
44 mins : The fourth official indicates that there will be two minutes of added time
12:35 GMT : Half Time Reached
12:51 GMT : Second Half Begins
47 mins : Gerrard heads clear from a corner as Everton apply some early 2nd half pressure
48 mins : An unmarked Fowler heads tamely into the hands of Howard
50 mins : Substitution: Dirk Kuyt for Peter Crouch:
54 mins : Alonso blazes woefully over after good work down the left by Kuyt
59 mins : Finnan fires narrowly wide as Liverpool step up the pressure
61 mins : Substitution: John Arne Riise for Robbie Fowler:
63 mins : Gerrard fires an effort across the face of the Everton goal that misses the far post by a matter of inches
67 mins : Johnson almost makes it 3-0 with a glancing header from close-range
68 mins : Kuyt's impressive control and shot is well saved by Howard
72 mins : Gerrard hits the post and from the rebound Liverpool are denied what looked a legitimate penalty appeal after the ball hits Hibbert on the hand
73 mins : Booking: Momo Sissoko:
75 mins : Substitution: Jermaine Pennant for Momo Sissoko:
78 mins : Booking: John Arne Riise: for a foul on Arteta
78 mins : Riise comes off worse in the collision and is stretchered off with another ankle injury, leaving Liverpool with just ten men
79 mins : As time begins to run out for the Reds to get something out of this game Garcia goes close with a angled strike from the left edge of the box
81 mins : Substitution: James Beattie for Leon Osman:
83 mins : Naysmith shoots over as Everton threaten to add a third goal
87 mins : Kuyt heads over at the far post from an Alonso cross
88 mins : Substitution: Nuno Valente for Mikael Arteta:
88 mins : The fourth official indicates that five minutes off added time will be played
89 mins : Booking: Sami Hyypia: for a foul on Cahill
90 mins : GOAL! Andy Johnson: heads in from close-range following a mistake by Reina
13:42 GMT : Match Over

My answer to that :

and I do love this :

Here the beeb report just to round it off : Beeb report

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