Us supporters are quick enough to criticise what happens in the boardroom, the Manager's dugout and on the pitch but, on occasion, I think a few need to climb down from the peak of Mount Hypocrite and take a long hard look at themselves. Don't get me wrong, Tuesday night's game against Reading was a shambles from start to finish, with David Moyes forced to change the starting XI shortly before kick off time, due to Jermaine Beckford's lack of travel preparation.
I can usually tell what sort of match I'm about to see, within a minute of walking through the turnstiles at Goodison Park, it was almost instantly apparent to me that this was going to be a long and torrid evening, the atmosphere was poor (the teams "performance" was equal to that). Due to the hectic scheduling in the modern game, we were already aware of what was awaiting us on the other side of the next 90 minutes, it seems players and fans alike already had one foot in the next round and showed no respect to Reading, dismissing it as a mere formality. I thought The Royals were well organised and worthy of their victory, they gave us no time on the ball at all, the void in midfield left by Fellaini's absence was telling, and whilst Osman tried his dogged best there is no comparison between the two in that position. Afterwards many questioned how a team that beat the reigning champions of England and the FA Cup, can lose to a side mingling with the Championships midriff. My gripe with this particular area of discontent would be, we didn't beat Chelsea in it's purest form, we won a lottery, over the 120 minutes Chelsea threw the proverbial Kitchen sink at us, but for a determined wall of a man in Tim Howard we could have lost it 3 or 4 nil, easily.
So alas, our opportunities of salvaging our season dwindle down to the feint hope of nuzzling ourselves amongst those vying for 5th, 6th or 7th, with their fingers tightly crossed for 2 of Arsenal, Man U or Man City making up the FA Cup Final, potentially freeing up a further brace of places for English teams in the 2011\12 Europa League. There are 10 games remaining with 6 of those at home, as I write this we currently lie in 10th place, 4 points away from 6th with a game in hand. As the Premier League reaches the stage where it starts to bow its head toward the finishing line, Everton need to grab what they can until 17.45 on 22nd May.
An away win against Newcastle was a great place to start, the statistics could barely divide the teams after 90 minutes, but those are exactly the matches Everton need to win. This season has been mainly about missed opportunities so far, it will be a massive confidence boost to the depleted side as they approach three home games in a row. It's our responsibility as supporters to do our utmost to lift the team and keep the momentum going all the way through to May, the players have a duty but so do we.
Last week I appeared on the Followtonians Podcast, to talk about my views on the season so far, if you would like to listen to what I had to say or any of their back catalogue, please follow the link: http://followtonians.com/episodes.html
Thanks again for reading.
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