Everton FC 1 – 4 West Bromwich Albion : Match Report
A bitter chill on the banks of the Mersey left Blues fans needing a win to warm the cockles after their midweek hard-luck story at Sunderland.
But Everton were booed off by what little remained of the Goodison Park crowd who saw their team on the end of a 4-1 drubbing at the hands off West Brom.
Goals from Brunt, Tchoyi, Mulumbu and what is fast becoming an obligatory Paul Scharner strike, with the player now having bagged a third of his 15 Premier League goals against Everton, were enough to seal a comfortable victory over the Blues, who also had Mikel Arteta sent off for a petulant stamp on Gonzalo Jara.
David Moyes branded his team’s performance ‘terrible’ after witnessing a horrorshow at both ends of the pitch. Two first half goals, conceded from set pieces were followed by a string of incredible misses by struggling summer signing, Jermaine Beckford.
The Blues’ boss went into the game with a shaken up starting eleven which saw Yakubu and Anichebe return and Tony Hibbert also recalled in place of the missing Phil Neville.
But the Everton engine failed to get going at all despite being allowed to play for the first 15 minutes.
And a murmuring of frustration at the Blues wasteful play became uproar when West Brom seized their first chance of the game with both hands.
Paul Scharner was allowed a free run at Chris Brunt’s 16th minute corner and the centre half didn’t pass up his chance to extend what is an incredible scoring record at Goodison. Four of his five strikes against the Blues have been on Merseyside, making the Austrian a most unwelcome visitor.
Everton tried to force the issue after their rude awakening to the Baggies’ goalmouth threat and Scharner’s fortunes could have taken a turn for the worse in the in 22nd minute when he tripped Yakubu.
The striker looked certain to latch onto a Steven Pienaar through ball directed towards Scot Carson’s goal and though referee Lee Mason adjudged the trip worthy of a free-kick, he waved away any suggestions that the Nigerian would have been in a position to score were he not impeded.
Everton wasted that free-kick with Leighton Baines striking over and into the Park End stand, and just three minutes later he was to be given a lesson in left foot dead ball striking by the Baggies’ Chris Brunt.
The Belfast man struck a powerful curling effort which sailed into Tim Howard’s top left hand corner putting West Brom two goals to the good and giving Everton a mountain to climb.
David Moyes had made a pre match plea in his programme notes for better defensive concentration, and for someone other than Tim Cahill to pitch in with goals.
His team managed to deny him both of those wishes when, in the 41st minute, Cahill, as he has done so many times before, put Everton back in the game.
He used Phil Jagielka’s back as a hiding place before springing out unmarked to nod a Leighton Baines’ corner over Graham Dorrens on the goal line and into the top corner, making it 2-1 at half time.
The Aussies goal couldn’t mask what had been a poor half by Everton’s standards and after failing to get an equaliser 10 minutes into the second, Moyes made his changes.
Louis Saha and Jermaine Beckford entered the contest and it was the former Leeds man who got straight into the action.
Finding space in the channel Beckford was picked out expertly by Steven Pienaar. Through one on one, the chance to banish those 93rd minute demons from the Stadium of Light beckoned, but first a strong hand by Scott Carson and then an off-the-line clearance by Jara saw the chance gone and with it Beckford’s confidence.
The game flared up into an ugly passage of play shortly after that miss as fiery spell of full blooded tackles on the hour mark culminated in a 22 man and a straight red card for Mikel Arteta.
At the start of a frantic series of incidents Leighton Baines appeared to be poleaxed by the Gonzalo Jara who led in the air with his elbow. Arteta reacted angrily to Lee Mason’s refusal to halt play, first dispossessing Chris Brunt with a heavy tackle, and then stamping on Jara who had slid in on the Spaniard.
Mason sounded his whistle and consulted his linesman who was in a good position to see Arteta’s petulant kick. His fate sealed, the midfielder followed Marouane Fellaini as the second player in three weeks to be dismissed for a rash reaction.
Everton were up against it from then on, but despite their numerical disadvantage they continued to create chances; Jermaine Beckford may well wish that they hadn’t.
The striker squandered a catalogue of openings as the game drew to it’s conclusion, a one on one which was struck tamely at Carson, followed by a volley which was blazed horribly into the stands from just six yards out.
Despite being under heavy fire the Baggies were clinical on the break, and it was their ability to take chances compared with Everton’s wasteful striking, which ultimately separated the sides.
West Brom substitute Somen Tchoyi picked up possession on the left hand side and took advantage of Everton’s out of position to move in-field. Unchallenged by a blue shirt, the Cameroonian struck a looping shot past Tim Howard, sealing the points.
As Everton pressed further, the West Midlands side continued to strike on the break, and the Toffees misery was complete when a neat one-two in their box between Mulumbu and Morrison let the Baggies midfield battler in for a fourth.
The Congolese player celebrated with the euphoric travelling supporters, but he may wish he had shown a little more self control as the yellow for his celebration was followed by another for a poor tackle on Beckford just a minute later.
Possibly West Brom’s man of the match, Mulumbu’s day was brought to an abrupt halt which will once more bring the spotlight FIFA’s heavy-handed anti celebration rules.
The fact that the Evertonians displeasure was lacking in volume at the final whistle was purley because of the masses that had left as the Toffees crumbled in the second half.
Life isn’t likely to get any easier for the Everton who will now miss Mikel Arteta for three games which include away ties at Chelsea and Manchester City.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Hibbert, Arteta, Pienaar, Heitinga (Beckford, 55), Cahill, Anichebe (Rodwell 61), Yakubu (Saha, 55)
Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Beckford, Coleman, Rodwell, Baxter
West Bromwich Albion (4-5-1): Carson, Tamas, Sharner, Jara, Cech, Mulumbu, Morrison, Brunt (Barnes 90), Thomas (Tchoyi, 65), Dorrans (Reid, 73), Odemwingie
Subs: Myhill, Tchoyi, Ibanez, Barnes, Reid, Shorey, Fortune
Goals: Scharner, 15, Brunt, 25, Cahill, 41, Tchoyi, 76, Mulumbu, 87
Yellow: Brunt, 30, Dorrans, 71, Beckford, 83,
Red Arteta, 62, Mulumbu, 88
Ref: Lee Mason