The last home game of the season is always special, but it takes on a whole new meaning when saying goodbye to a club captain and a manager who has devoted 11 years of his life to the club. Kevin Mirallas got things started early, and finished it up in the second half with a fortuitous bounce to help Everton seal a
5-0 2-0 win.
If Moyes was feeling emotional at the beginning he did well to hide it. The only acknowledgement before the game was a quick wave to the fans before the match got underway, and Everton was off to a fantastic start. It was the type of start Evertonians normally dream about with players pressuring the ball and retaining the ball like those Arsenal sides that actually won trophies. It all culminated in a beautiful series of passes to give Kevin Mirallas a goal from the top of the box. As the commentators said, anyone who tries to claim Everton only plays negative football needs to watch that goal, it had the best of everything.
Normally Everton has a tendency to back off after gaining the lead, but that didn't happen this time around. No doubt inspired by this week's events, the squad continued to press for another goal and without a fantastic performance from the West Ham defense and goalie, it should have been 3 or 4-0 before break.
There are moments in football that tend to stick with a fan for the rest of their life. Normally they are memories of fantastic goals or saves that help ensure a trophy. In the second half though the fans at Goodison Park helped show why Everton is such a special club. With the team in the ascendancy, the fans broke out into song, but this time it was different. It was that special roar that Goodison can produce on only the biggest of occassions, and it was the Evertonian way of saying thanks. From David Moyes to Tim Cahill and every song inbetween, the fans sang them all.
It was hard to hear from all the noise, but Kevin Mirallas managed to punctuate it with his second goal of the game that took a deflection and sailed into the upper corner of the net. Goodison reached a new level when he scored, and from then on the game was never really in doubt.
Moyes only acknowledgement to the end of his tenure during the game was the introduction of Tony Hibbert late on. The defender is the last remaining player from the first team when Moyes joined the club in 2002, and his appearance was an appropriate way to close out the afternoon.
Tim Howard was called into action a few times during the match, and he did extremely well to make some fantastic saves. Two in particular were difficult, but Howard was more than up to the job and earned his 5th clean sheet in the past 6 matches.
Victor Anichebe also had another great game. He really should have scored a goal or two, but his hold up play and physicality were fantastic. Anichebe has really done well this year, and has far surpassed the expectations of most fans. Going forward it will be interesting to see how he improves under a new manager.
Of course the big moment everyone was waiting for was the lap of honor to thank the fans for their support. As the players emerged from the tunnel after the match they flanked both sides to thank some very special members of the team. First was captain Phil Neville who is leaving the club at the end of the season. We have been critical of Fizzer this season, but it is a shame he was unable to play today, and we wish him the best going forward.
It was then that the cameras cut to a look down the tunnel. There they caught Moyes with his head bowed and trying to control the vast array of emotions that were sweeping through him. The next time he appears at Goodison it will come with a red tie on a a roster of players that far exceeds Evertons, but on this day he was treated to the reception he deserved. It was one last time to say thank you, and both fans and manager did it superbly.