Team: Kenny, Orr, Derry, Hall, Gabbidon, Connolly, Taarabt, Faurlin, Buzsaky, Agyemang (Bothroyd), Smith (Ephraim)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Gorkss, Perone, Vaagan Moen, Andrade
A great day, the starting line-up looked a little bizarre at first, but then word started to go round about the virus. We had the rub of the green occasionally, but the team played with a great deal of confidence and, when Tommy Smith did score after 30 minutes, it came after a spell of about 5 minutes of very good play from the R’s. The 1,500 or so Rangers fans went mental. The support was absolutely terrific. With just a little more adventurousness we could have made it 2-0 as Everton by no means had the bulk of the play. As the game wore on, it really did look like Rangers were going to do it as, on the relatively few occasions Everton did get through, Paddy Kenny was on top form in goal.
The perfect end to a week that started horribly v Bolton then improved enormously on Thursday with the return of Amit Bhatia and the arrival of Tony Fernandes (two decent guys who seem to get what the club is all about, unlike their predecessors) and to top it off with a very fine away win at one of the old stagers of the Premier Division, magnificent.
Great win ! I thought Shaun Derry was absolutely superb and my MOM. He was closing down on every attacking opportunity Everton had. On the other hand, maybe it’s because he’s a defensive player and has a lot of involvement, but I have to say that I felt nervous every time Gabbidon was anywhere close to the ball. Paddy Kenny was also outstanding.
David Moyes was not being alarmist with the prediction that a summer of sending millions to Barclays Bank and spending nothing on his squad will result in a season of hard labour for Everton. Queen’s Park Rangers launched the Tony Fernandes era with a merited victory. Everton, on this evidence, are not only broke off the pitch. Fernandes is the fourth wealthy investor attracted to the West London club in the past four years, while Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has unearthed only hoaxers and, as a leaked transcript revealed in embarrassing detail this week, must reduce an overdraft capped at ¬£25m.
The result is raising anger among the Goodison Park faithful, stagnation at the club and, as illustrated against Neil Warnock’s depleted, but disciplined side, a team that is as bereft of ideas and penetration in the final third as its manager is of funds. Not that Fernandes, Warnock or the delirious travelling hordes could have cared less as they tasted a first Premier League victory since April 1996, courtesy of Tommy Smith’s measured first-half finish.
“We’ve had a traumatic 48 hours, not only with the takeover, but with a stomach virus that went through the squad on Friday,” said an ecstatic Warnock. “Adel Taarabt had it, Matthew Connolly, DJ Campbell collapsed with it in training and then Jay Bothroyd got it this morning. I am delighted for Tony. He deserves this, though I’d primed him about all our problems beforehand in case we got battered.”
The takeover and the victory represented a new beginning for a Rangers side trounced 4-0 by Bolton on their return to the Premier League following a 15-year absence last weekend. Moyes had hoped for the same, even revisiting his pre-season training notes from 2004-05, when Everton finished fourth, in an attempt to remedy the false starts that have hindered the club in recent years. Yet they emerged tortoise-like again.
It would be remiss to pin the blame for Everton’s poor start on financial constraints. The hosts offered nothing in attack and operated for 10 minutes without a recognised striker on the pitch when Moyes replaced the woeful Jermaine Beckford with Marouane Fellaini, a tactical move that improved the side, but drew derision from the Gwladys Street Stand. It should be noted however, that Kenwright’s visage appeared on the giant television screens as the substitution took place.
The paucity of Everton’s display was highlighted by the fact that 17-year-old Ross Barkley was unrivalled as the team’s stand-out performer on his Premier League debut. The teenager, a right-footed central midfielder of stature, vision, strength and skill, began on the left, moved to the centre and finished on the right as Moyes sought to utilise his energy and willingness to shoot on sight. He was left to carry the fight alone.
“I’ve told the players I am disappointed with all of them, but not Ross,” the Everton manager said. “We hope he’s got a fantastic future ahead of him, like one or two players to emerge through the ranks here.”
Everton had their moments. Leighton Baines hit the bar with a trademark free-kick and Tim Cahill headed wide from two yards out, but Rangers had the precision when it counted and the authority in central defence to absorb their opponent’s limited response. Alejandro Faurlin seized on a loose ball from Phil Jagielka, he found Akos Buzsaky, who slipped the ball inside for the unmarked Smith to finish low into the far corner.
Andy Hunter – the Guardian
Amazing game and the move for the goal was utter class. I have to say that the big plus was the hard work of Orr and Connolly and a huge plus was seeing Faurlin and Derry take hold of the midfield with Akos also finding his feet. The papers will talk about Everton and what they’ve got wrong and whether the lack of money has seen the club go backwards ? But I have to say that I don’t give a rats arse, to me, what mattered was that our club at last got so much needed movement in the Boardroom which seemed to give the players a lift.
The other thing that stood out was seeing Rangers fans so happy and as one, the singing was outstanding. We owned the ground as they say. It is days like this that are so special and makes you so proud of the Hoops, a wee bit more than always.
We were superb. Everyone on that pitch gave their all, so proud of the boys. They played some really nice football too.
It is said that a week is a long time in politics. Certainly the same can be said about football. On a day when few expected to get a result, we managed all 3 points and we managed it in style, something that MOTD failed to show. Neil Warnock had no choice but to field a side who on paper, didn’t look too clever, but each and every one of them were a credit to the game. We rode our luck at times, but we never lost our heads or reverted to ale house. We kept our shape, kept up a phenomenal work rate and played some superb stuff on the ground. Our passing and movement were second to none against what must be said, a poor Everton side. The fans sung their hearts out for the 90+ minutes, it was deafening at times.
It’s still early days, and a very long way to go, but with everything starting to fall into place, the only way is up. Note: Finney bought a pint in Wetherspoons at 1.52pm, what a week this has been !
We met up with Andrew Benwell in the Thomas Frost, a Wetherspoons pub on the Walton Road. Also in there were Dai Hoop, Brian Kirk and Jersey Hoop. The away end was about 10 minutes walk away and the word was that the Rangers side was depleted because of a virus going around.
However, the team spirit and work rate was fantastic. Shaun Derry ran around like an 18-year-old. Taking into account recent events, it really felt like a dark cloud had been lifted and the Rangers fans were as one again. Even Tony Fernandes’s name was chanted a few times.
That said, I heard the terrible news just before kick-off that Trevor Kingham had passed away. I knew him since the 60’s when he lived in Northolt. As many will know, Trevor did so much for R’s fans, so many memories. God Bless him, he will never be forgotten.
(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission)