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Everton 5 Blackpool 3 - Match Review

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If anyone ever asks why I support Everton,or love football in general, I will probably just show them a DVD of this game.....


Many of my teacher friends still tell me the myth that windy weather makes their kids go a bit hyper and over-excitable is true (anyone who has any evidence then please enlighten me).

And if so then the same should be said of rainy weather and Premier League footballers.

Much of the coutnry was drenched on Saturday afternoon, and the rain sent the players crazy, with goals raining in all over the place.

Goodison Park was no exception, in one of the most entertaining gamesI have ever had the pleasure to witness.

A healthy crowd gathered at Goodison for this game, with Blackpool playing their part filling their full allocation. For the Toffees, whether it was the first game since a welcome January pay-packet, a desire to cheer on the team in their moment of need, or the hope that they would see a game that, given Blackpool's attacking tactics, would almost certainly see goals.

And boy did we see them.

Everton began with a desire, confidence and purpose not seen too often this season. With Jack Rodwell working well in a advanced role, Billy linking up with Baines on the left and Saha looking fitter and sharper than we have seen for months.

In truth the game followed a similar pattern to many of our home games, with Everton dominating possession but fialing to turn that into clear cut chances - three free kicks all hit straight at the wall is testament to that.

We did though take the lead after 20 minutes following good work down the left by Rodwell and Bilyaletdinov, who found Saha six yards out.

It is just our luck then that Blackpool would equalise out of nothing from a miss-hit near-post corner. To complete the frustration and sense of injustice referee Kevin Friend made one of the worst decisions of the season. Yes Seamus Coleman was held back but there was a gap of about one, maybe two seconds, between the foul and him laying it off for Saha to score.

All the ref needed to do was wait that length of time and allow the goal. He later apologised and as a young ref will no doubt take it as a lesson learned, but given the way our season has gone I feared the worst at half-time.

That was until two minutes after the re-start when Baines - deservedly back in the England squad after his ridiculous last minute World Cup snub - crossed for Saha to bury.

Our dominance continued as Rodwell found himself in the penalty area, but stabbed wide with his left foot from six yards out.

It was at this point the game took a turn for the bizarre. It was pure entertainment as both sides floundered defensively, resulting in a torrent of goals.

I thought it was going to be another hard luck story as Blackpool - who, credit to them, never abandoned their attacking principals - hit two in three minutes to send the visiting fans crazy and us Toffees in despair.

I truly hope they stay up as it would be nice to see positive football rewarded unlike some of the defensive dross we see too much of at the foot of the table. But seven defeats in eight in ominous and if they defend like they did at times on Saturday they will only go one way.

Anyway, back to the game and "Not again!" Was the cry from the terraces in a season of perpetual disappointment for dispirited Toffees fans.

But there was a determination about Everton not to turn this game into a soggy, sob story. After Blackpool's two minute burst the game fell back into it's usual pattern, i.e. us attacking, and when Ian Evatt pulled out a magical goal-line clearance from Rodwell' schip, you did wonder whether it was going to be our day.

But the day just seemed different, the supporters kept backing their team instead of barracking them (perhaps encouraged by the fact that we looked like scoring every time we went forward) and the players responded with a three-goal blitz to seal the game.

Louis Saha will rightly take the plaudits for his four goals - the Frenchman is vital to our success and if we can keep him fit and scoring he is as good as anyone in the country.

But special mention has to got to Jermaine Beckford. Widely pilloried from everyone outside of the club for his apprent poor finishing the former Leeds man arguably scored the goal of the gme with a sublime first-time volley from Baines' chip forward. Anyone who has played football will tell you what a difficult skill it is to hit it first time when the ball is coming over your shoulder like that. Six goals in 23 apperances - just eight as starts - suddenly doesn't look as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

The game served as a reminder of why I love Everton. Everything was there that we love about the club - including some poor defending (Heitinga was culpable a few times) to leave us on the edge of our seats.

It also reminded me that after all the talk of income streams, take-overs, debts and mortages it is what happens on the pitch that matters and when we have our best players out on the field and it clicks like it did on Saturday, we have a side as good as anybody's.