Everton claimed back-to-back wins and clean sheets with another massive result at home to Huddersfield Town today. The 2-0 win came with Gylfi Sigurdsson opening the scoring immediately after halftime and Dominic Calvert-Lewin putting the game to bed 15 minutes from time.
For Sam Allardyce ’s first game in charge, he decided to name an unchanged side as he looked to build momentum from Wednesdays morale boosting win over West Ham. I think all Evertonians were looking forward to seeing what impact he could have on tightening up our dangerously fragile defence. We were looking better at the back but it was going forward that was the issue in the first half as neither side really threatened to open the scoring.
Tom Ince delivered the only real scare of the half for the Blues as he played a dangerous low cross towards Belgian striker Laurent Depoitre however Jordan Pickford was quick to snuff out the danger and smother the ball. Everton’s best chance came from the unlikely source of Cuco Martina who fizzed one at Jonas Lossl’s goal but the Danish keeper managed to parry it clear.
The only Huddersfield player with any real creative qualities was Aaron Mooy, as he looked for avenues from which to launch attacks all afternoon. Other than his vision and the pace of Ince the visitors offered little and it was obvious that if they wanted anything out of the game they would have to make the most of any set piece or defensive slip up.
After the slow burner that was the 1st period both sides needed a kick up the backside at the break and Everton obviously received one as they began the 2nd half with more intent and were quickly celebrating the opening goal.
Aaron Lennon cut in from the right looking for options and found DCL on the edge of the box. The Young Lion brilliantly flicked the ball through for Sigurdsson who had smartly read the intentions of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and fired a first time effort into the bottom corner, wonderful goal. It was encouraging to see players taking risks and looking for the ball again after the last few months of one dimensional and predictable football and players hiding on the pitch.
The Blues were looking good up top with Sigurdsson finally seeming to have broken out of his shell as he knitted plays together with some lovely passes and touches. He combined well with the equally classy Wayne Rooney and it was clear to see if they had the right frontman they could form a formidable partnership.
With just over 15 minutes to go Rooney was involved as the Toffees made it two. Idrissa Gueye made a fabulous interception inside our own half which landed at Rooney’s feet, he advanced forward, surveyed the scene and sent a inch perfect ball through for DCL who took his time and dispatched a left footed effort past Lossl, via a deflection, to give the Blues some breathing space. A goal and an assist for the young striker as he continues to fight tirelessly up top for the Blues. Huddersfield had offered little all afternoon and they failed to mount any real fight back in the closing stages as Everton held on to give Big Sam the perfect start in the Goodison Park hot seat.
It was so relieving watching how comfortably we dealt with Huddersfield today. Just a few weeks back its a game where you could confidently have predicted a defeat pre-game however after the spirit-lifting result on Wednesday and a new manager for the players to impress, they have stepped up big time and finally start putting the effort in that is required. It’s hard to still not feel a bit angry with the playing staff as we knew all along the quality they possessed but it was there poor attitudes that were letting the fans down. Lets hope such abject performances are well behind us now as we move forward.
Thursday’s dead rubber away in Cyprus will act as a minor annoyance to the new gaffer as his focus will now be fully on next Sunday’s Merseyside Derby, a positive result in that game coupled with today’s success and Big Sam will find his popularity rising meteorically.