Monday, January 24

Who's the ****** in the black?

Everton 2 West Ham 2

Middle-class football fan exposed. We’re watching Madam Butterfly at the King’s Head in Upper Street, Islington. It’s Her Indoors’ idea, but the Landlord bitter is excellent and the singing in such a confined space is almost as good as the Bobby Moore Stand.

During the interval comes the astonishing news that West Ham are 1-0 up through Specs (who is no longer just floating like a butterfly). As Madam Butterfly (in this version a ladyboy from Bangkok) waits for Captain Pinkerton to return, my phone vibrates with several messages, but it’s not possible to get it out and read them lest I’m ejected or worse harangued from the stage in front of the chattering classes. But judging by the number of texts we’re either 5-0 up or 4-1 down.

When Madam Butterfly shoots herself I decide we’ve probably blown it.

Back in the bar I discover that we’ve achieved a 2-2 draw, which is normally a really good result at Goodison. Only Freddie Piquionne’s been sent off for celebrating a goal and Everton equalised in stoppage time. The texts add to the sense of doom: “Robbed… Now that IS the worst referee ever!” writes Matt, while Nigel comments, “So frustrating – and predictable”.

Match off the Day proves we’ve played really well. Noble shoots over when he should have hit the target early on and Tomkins makes a great saving tackle from Beckford. We take the lead after a great ball from Noble finds Boa Morte behind the Everton defence. Boa pulls the ball back for Specs who fires first-time into the net. A goal that’s taken with some aplomb, as they say, and Specs’ first ever league goal.

Specs also nearly grabs another, firing just wide of the angle. Strewth. He really could be developing into a good midfielder.

Early in the second half the rejuvenated Spector crosses for Piquionne to head against the post and along the line and Boa has a goal correctly ruled out for offside.

As Everton press, Piq half-heads the ball out and Bilyaletdinov equalises for Everton with a fine volley from the edge of the box.

Even at 1-1 we press forward. Specs and Parker platy a great series of one-twos only for Parker to be denied a chance by Distin.

After a Hammers’ corner on 86 minutes Bridge curls in a fine ball from the right and Piquionne powers home a header. He runs to the away fans, embracing the supporters as he's scored what looks like being the winner. Only ref Peter Walton, a distant cousin of Inspector Blakey from On The Buses, decides to give him a second yellow card for celebrating in the crowd. So much for discretion. Adebayor got the same for running the length of the pitch to taunt Arsenal fans and nearly start a riot. “That is ridiculous!” says the BBC commentator, correctly.

Down to ten men, we hold out until stoppage time, when avant garde film director Fellaini roils Upson and Spector to shoot past Green. Sod it. A win would have taken us up to third from bottom, now we’re still bottom on goal difference.

We really need to win games like this, but it’s an encouraging performance. We’re a point closer to Wolves. Wigan and WBA and have two winnable games against Blackpool and Birmingham coming up. And Captain Pinkerton will return one day. All we need to do is avoid Jobsworth referees and as Avram says “go to a funeral” when we score.

1 comment:

Pete May said...

DC Comments by email:

Yep, the ref yesterday was a pain. But rules is rules - even stupid
rules - and Our Most Lethal Marksman should've known.